June 15, 2024

Rehoboth’s Share of Bristol/Plymouth Project Reduced

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Rehoboth taxpayers won’t be paying as much money for the town’s share of the new Bristol-Plymouth Regional Vocational Technical School.

Selectman Michael Deignan said with the admission of Freetown to the Bristol Plymouth District, “the anticipated debt schedule for Rehoboth has been revised downward. Our maximum payment is now anticipated to be under $500,000 per year.”

Last April, voters rejected a debt exclusion, which is a temporary tax increase, to pay for the town’s share of the $305 million project.
Deignan had estimated the town would have to pay between $550,000 and $600,000 annually.

According to the revised debt schedule provided by Deignan on November 3, the town will be paying a share of 4.21 percent. The town’s contribution will be $98,000 for fiscal year 2024. The amount being contributed to the building project will increase to a high of $473,000 for every fiscal year from 2029 until 2052. The town’s share will gradually decrease until 2056 when the bond on the project will be fully paid off.

The building project was approved in March 2022. Although the project was rejected in Rehoboth, there were enough votes for passage in the member communities which at the time included Berkley, Bridgewater, Dighton, Middleborough, Raynham, and Taunton.

In an August 21 letter from the state’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) to Dr. Alexander Magalhaes, the Superintendent-Director of Bristol-Plymouth Regional Technical School District, Commissioner Jeffrey Riley stated: “I am pleased to approve the amended (regional) agreement and the enlargement of the District to include the Town of Freetown. The effective date of the admission of the Town of Freetown to the district will be July 1, 2024.”

The Massachusetts School Building Authority provided authorization for a Project Funding Agreement for the Bristol-Plymouth project in September 2021. The agreement includes reimbursement of 62.25 percent of eligible project costs up to a maximum reimbursement amount of $125, 569, 759 toward construction of a modern Bristol-Plymouth school facility.

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