Officially On The Hook: Selectmen Approve Bonding For New 7-12 School

Photo: The latest from Perkins + Will architects, facing Clay Pit Pond.

There was the debate, the vote by residents, the approval of Town Meeting. And on Monday, Jan. 7, the Belmont Board of Selectmen made it official in a five-minute signing: the town’s taxpayers are now on the hook to pay for the new 7-12 school building set to open five years down the road.

And the final dollar amount that’s on Belmont’s bill was calculated by Town Accountant Floyd Carman at (drum roll, please) $212,764,911. 

That number is the difference of the total project cost set by the architect Perkins + Will and general contractor Skanska at $295,159,189, subtracting $1,750,000 approved by Town Meeting last year for preliminary design and $80,644,278 in a state grant approved by the town’s partner, the Massachusetts School Building Authority, on Aug. 29, 2018. 

If for whatever reason, the project expenses overrun the projected cost, the selectmen will be required to seek the additional funds from Town Meeting, a prospect Carman believes would not be an enjoyable one. 

Carman told the selectmen the town is set to make its first borrowing of $100 million in March which taxpayers will see in February 2020. The second borrowing for $85 million will take place in March 2021 with its impact felt in February 2021. The final short-term borrowing of $27 million will be in March 2021. The borrowing will hike taxes on a $1 million home by $1,800 in February 2022.

Town Election ’17: Carman Seeking Re-Election as Treasurer

Photo: Floyd Carman.

Belmont Town Teasurer and long-time resident Floyd Carman told the Belmontonian this week he will be running to retain his post as the town’s manager of its financial assets and liabilities and tax collector.

Now in his 12th year in the post, Carman is known for his ahearance to conservative financial principles which he says is one reason the town has maintained the gold standard Triple A rating from Moody’s, the bond credit rating firm, for most of a decade. 

Carman was first elected treasurer in 2005, winning a close race over Danelia Boccia. He has run unopposed since.

Born in Cambridge, Carman spent four decades with John Hancock, reaching the position of vice president before retiring in August 2005. The Brighton Street resident matriculated at Bentley College and received his MBA in Finance from Western New England College.

Belmont Takes Advantage of Low Rates to Bond $29 Million

While the low-interest rate environment promoted by the Federal Reserve over the past five years has dampened residents appetite for bonds, the same condition has been a boom for municipalities with good credit ratings when selling their debt on the open market.

Using its top-ranked “triple A” credit rating, Belmont’s Treasurer and Tax Collector Floyd Carman was able to receive eight bids for nearly $29 million in municipal bonds that will include financing construction and upgrades to the Belmont Light substation that will be located on Flanders Road.

The winning bid for Belmont’s bonds came from Morgan Stanley offering an average interest rate of 2.951 percent, Carman told the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, April 22.

“That is a good deal for the town,” said Carman, noting the low rates will result in a significant savings to taxpayers which will be felt on Belmont’s fiscal bottom line.

The bond will pay for:

• $26,100,000: Belmont Light substation construction.

• $482,000: Water main replacement.

• $30,000: A school department vehicle.

• $890,000: a ladder truck for the Fire Department.

• $500,000: a new fire engine.

• 960,000: Harris Field replacement.