BY: Jack “Miles” Ventimiglia, Editor
Wednesday, May 23, 2007 4:48 PM CDT
Rising property values could mean Johnson County Community College will receive more money for operations without increasing tuition for students or the 8.872 mill levy that property owners pay.
The board OK’d the preliminary budget based on the county’s expected 6.2 percent increase in assessed value. Trustee Jon Stewart said if the projection improves, the levy might decrease in June.
“My goal is still to see if we can reduce the mill levy and I think we can,” he said after the meeting.
Trustee Ben Hodge said he favored a $2, in-county tuition increase bringing the total to $65 per hour.
“We have not increased tuition since 2005, so there has been an actual decrease in tuition, when adjusting for inflation,” Hodge said.
Higher tuition for all students could cut the mill levy by 0.2, he said.
“It seems reasonable to me to adjust slightly the tuition so that our taxpayers don’t have an increase. I’m not going to support a budget that results in a dollar-amount tax increase beyond the estimated inflation rate,” he said.
The board rejected higher tuition.
Stewart said few community colleges can operate, as Johnson County does, with stable or lower mill levies.
“We’re very fortunate,” he said, “to live in a community with a lot of growth and economic development that increases property value.”
Stewart said he expects continued growth.
“Our trend has been in Johnson County continued increase in property values because we have attracted companies and residents to this community and that is not slowing down,” Stewart, Metcalf Bank president and chief operating officer, said.
The board approved an increase of just over $4.9 million in the operating budget May 17, which is 3.8 percent more than allocated for fiscal 2007. The board set a fiscal ’08 budget of $132,883,297 versus $127,965,925 in ’07.
The new budget adds seven full-time teaching positions and jobs in internal auditing services, human resources, audiovisual services, the Student Success Center, admissions, public safety, maintenance, custodial services and information services.
Operating costs will be limited generally to a 2 percent increase, except in areas such as insurance, which the college cannot control