School Board votes to name gym after Coach Dave Winters

By Larry Coonrod
For Lebanon Local

The Lebanon School Board on Thursday, Feb. 13, agreed to rename a high school gym facility after long-time coach Dave Winters and moved forward a construction excise tax that could net the district $200,000 a year.
In a unanimous decision, the board voted 5-0 to rename the old basketball court at Lebanon High School after Winters. The Lebanon Booster Club proposed the honor last December. Students, former students, teachers and citizens have encouraged the board to approve the proposal.
Board Chair Tom Oliver said he was receiving texts and emails right up the start of Thursday’s meeting.
I haven’t heard anyone say we shouldn’t do it,” he said.
Winters taught at Lebanon High School starting in 1975 until his retirement in 2014. During his career he coached multiple generations of basketball players and has remained involved in Lebanon athletics since retiring.
Present and voting were Oliver, Richard Borden, Mike Martin and Tammy Schilling.

Construction Excise Tax
After considerable discussion board members gave Business Director William Lewis III a green light to negotiate intergovernmental agreements with the City of Lebanon and Linn County to collect an excise tax on new construction.
The state legislature, with Senate Bill 1036 in 2007, gave school districts the authority to levy a one-time tax on on new construction. Originally set at $1 a square foot for residential construction and 50 cents for non residential facilities with a $25,000 cap, that limit is now a max of $1.35, 65 cents and $33,700 retrospectively.
The law exempts some structures, such as private schools, churches, public buildings and low-income housing from the tax.
The law specifies that money raised by the tax be spent only on facilities improvements. Williams told the board that a conservative estimate would be an additional $200,000 a year, if implemented.
Many Willamette Valley school districts adopted the tax early on. The Lebanon school board considered the option in 2008, during the height of the Great Recession, but ultimately decided against it.
Builders would pay the construction tax as part of local permitting fees to the county or city, depending on where the property is located. Much like system development charges, the tax is intended to let new developments pay for the extra burden they place on local infrastructure, in this case schools.
“It’s one of the few taxes we can approve and start ourselves,” Williams told the board.
Williams emphasized that cash flow from the tax is not spread out evenly over the year, but rises and falls with the amount of building activity.
“When I analyzed the (construction) permit activity, you can go months when there is nothing and then all of a sudden there is a huge amount of permits issued in one month,” he said.
The law allows a tax on remodeling if it increases the square-footage footprint of an existing structure. Board members were not keen on adopting that in a Lebanon tax.
“If it’s an existing facility, they have been paying property tax. They have been paying tax into the community for however long they have been there, Oliver said. “That’s an important distinction.”
He pointed out that district has identified $42.5 million of needed building improvements. In past years the district usually transferred about $300,000 into a facility maintenance fund. Because of budget constraints, no money has gone into the maintenance fund for the current school year.
“The reality is we do have significant needs in a number of facilities,” Oliver said. “Our newest building is pushing 20-years-old and the oldest buildings are 70 plus.”
Schilling cast the lone no vote in giving Williams permission to move forward with the city and country agreements needed to implement the tax. Schilling said although the tax itself might not amount to a lot, added with other fees it makes housing less affordable for families coming into the community.
The board will vote later this year on final approval for the tax.