The Barton Community College Board of Trustees held a public budget hearing Tuesday, and approved the budget that was published in the Great Bend Tribune at the end of July.
The published budget request for just over $8 million in tax dollars is approximately $900,000 less than last year’s request. This is due to a drop in oil and gas valuation and the board’s desire to keep the mill levy the same, at 33.124 mills, Dean of Administration Mark Dean said.
As the published budget notes, the actual mill levy may change slightly — up or down — depending on final assessed valuations. Except for changes of that nature, the college has not increased its mill levy since 2008, Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said earlier.
The published budget also shows the college’s outstanding indebtedness as of July 1 is over $11.4 million, which includes the lease-purchase principle owed on $4.2 million construction of the new student housing building that opened in 2014. One year earlier, the outstanding indebtedness was just under $12 million, and in 2013 it was nearly $12.5 million.
“I believe we are holding the line,” Trustee Don Learned said. He was also glad to see the college was able to add 3.5 percent overall for pay increases.
“Our enrollment keeps moving upwards,” Heilman said Tuesday. “That’s our saving grace.”
The revenue from the increase in students has helped offset loses in state aid and decreases in valuation, Heilman said. Other entities and institutions have not been as fortunate.
Dean did note that Barton was tapping into its cash reserves to help cover the difference.
The public hearing portion of the meeting afforded the opportunity for public comment on the budget. However, there were no comments.
With a special meeting called for the budget hearing, the board also added personnel to the agenda. A faculty contract was approved for Melissa Stevens as instructor and coordinator of the Criminal Justice program, and Steve Morrison was hired as a campus safety officer. Both will work at the Barton County campus.
Additional reporting provided by Tribune Managing Editor Dale Hogg