By Bill Short
The Millington Board of Mayor and Aldermen unanimously passed an ordinance on final reading this week that allows the School Board to fund a Performing Arts Center without a bond issue.
Board members took the action Monday night during their regular monthly meeting on a motion offered by Alderman Al Bell and seconded by Alderman Larry Dagen.
The ordinance was unanimously passed on first reading at the board’s special called meeting on Dec. 18, 2017.
It states that the school board had become aware of revenues that were not projected in the city’s 2018 fiscal year budget and desired to change how other items are funded.
At a special called meeting on Oct. 17, 2017, the school board accepted a low bid of $5,709,295 submitted by Fulwood Construction Co. of Olive Branch, Miss., to build the Performing Arts Center on the Millington Central High School campus.
On Nov. 13, 2017, the city board voted to postpone approval of the school board’s initial request for a $4.8 million bond issue to partially fund the project.
At a special called meeting on Dec. 13, 2017, the school board adopted a resolution to transfer some of its existing funds to finance the construction.
The resolution asked the city board to “proceed expeditiously” with approval of the fund transfer, so that both “mandatory readings” of the budget amendment ordinance could occur before expiration of the Fulwood bid.
Dr. David Roper, superintendent of Millington Municipal Schools, said during an interview after Monday night’s meeting that he planned to meet with Fulwood the next day to “sign some contract documents.” He was also hoping to schedule a groundbreaking ceremony “in the coming days.”
“We’re pleased that the board gave the final approval for the transfer of our funds,” he noted. “We’ve been making plans, hoping that this would happen. So, we’re going to be ready to move forward as quickly as possible.”
Roper estimated that construction will be completed in approximately one year.
Bruce Rasmussen, supervisor of Financial Services for the school system, said during a recent telephone interview that moving the money from one fund to another is “just kind of a paperwork thing.”
He noted that the system has approximately a $5 million balance in its General Fund. So, about $3 million of it will be moved from the General Fund to the Capital Projects Fund, which already has a balance of $2.4 million.
Rasmussen said the Shelby County government will give the school system approximately $1.1 million in Capital Projects funds before June 30.
He noted that construction of the Performing Arts Center will be partially funded before the end of the current fiscal year. And the remainder of the cost will be funded during the 2019 fiscal year, which begins on July 1.
By Bill Short