Barton Community College trustees allowed 30 minutes Thursday for the public to comment on its proposed budget but, as usual, no one showed up.
At the conclusion of the budget hearing, the board approved the budget that was published in the July 24 edition of the Great Bend Tribune as a legal notice.
The budget calls for an estimated tax rate of 32.307 mills, which is exactly 0.5 mills less than last year. However, the college expects to receive more local tax money in the coming year, as each mill will bring in more money. That is because the county’s valuation has grown from $242.3 million to nearly $261 million. The actual tax rate may change slightly once the final assessed valuation is determined.
Next year’s budget includes 5 percent more money for employee salaries. At Thursday’s meeting, trustee Don Learned said he had received two e-mails from college employees, thanking the board for raising wages for the first time in three years. (Although there were no raises last year, employees were eligible for a one-one bonus.)
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said many more employees had expressed thanks.
Even though no one showed up to ask questions or talk about the proposed budget, board members didn’t have to sit idly during the 30-minute "hearing." Instead, the board conducted its monthly study session at the same time.
After the study session, the board held a special meeting where personnel matters were discussed in executive session. The meeting lasted for 30 minutes and Dr. Heilman was asked to stay in the room for the discussion. Executive sessions are closed to the public to protect the privacy of people discussed. Trustee Mike Johnson said, "We did discuss several personnel issues."