Keeping the swimming pool in operation at Barton Community College is likely to require an increase in the mill levy, but it won’t be the only reason for a possible increase, college trustees said Wednesday.
Trustees and administrators have talked about budget shortfalls for months, and have sought to maintain the tax rate through budget trimming, dipping into cash reserves and raising tuition rates. On Wednesday, Chairman Mike Johnson said maintaining the pool might require another .81 mills next year, and .19 mills in subsequent years.
“Quite honestly, this depends on the price of crude oil,” Johnson said, noting lower valuations will affect the mill levy.
Trustee Mike Minton said it isn’t just the pool. “We’re also looking at a potential mill levy increase,” he said.
Johnson said that was correct. (Today’s story about the BCC swimming pool describes some budget concerns.)
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the board hasn’t purposefully raised the mill levy since 2008. “This would be a break from the self-imposed (cap),” he said. However, the reductions in state funding are expected to persist for the next two to three years or longer.
The board of trustees is scheduled to swear in new trustees on July 28. There were three positions open and the top three vote-getters won the election. Johnson and Minton were re-elected, but trustee Brett Middleton chose not to run. The third person elected was Bob Mead, but he died shortly after the April election.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the board reviewed its plans for filling the vacancy that will occur on July 28. It will publish a notice in the Great Bend Tribune on July 29. There will be a special meeting on Aug. 18 so a new trustee can be appointed and sworn in at the Aug. 25 meeting.
Brock McPherson, who received over 1,100 votes and came in fourth at the April election, said he disagrees with the plan. He said he should be appointed because he believes he is now the person with the third-highest number of votes.
Johnson said the college checked with its attorney, who also contacted the Kansas Election Office in Topeka. Barton County Clerk Donna Zimmerman was also consulted, he said.
“I think you’re going to find this is subject to the interpretation of the courts,” McPherson said.
“You were not a top three voter getter,” Johnson said. “We’re moving ahead.”