Leonard Bunselmeyer was sworn in Thursday as the newest member of the Barton Community College Board of Trustees. County Clerk Donna Zimmerman administered the oath of office for Bunselmeyer and re-elected trustees Don Learned and John Moshier at the beginning of a study session that included news about next year’s budget.
Dean of Administration Mark Dean said the administration proposes a published budget that requires $8,945,796 to be levied in local property taxes. That’s compared to $8,814,162 in 2012-13, and $8,457,514 the year before, but the mill levy would stay the same.
The estimated tax rate would be 32.713, which was the actual tax rate of 2012-13. In 2011-12, the mill levy was 32.771.
Colleges budget dollars, not mills, Dean noted. The mill levy is based on the tax rate that should bring in the amount budgeted. Increased valuations have allowed the college to request nearly half a million ($488,282) more than in 2011 without raising the mill levy.
Actually, if this budget is approved, the tax rate could end up being slightly lower if collections are higher than estimated. Dean received a letter from Zimmerman’s office that the Barton County Appraiser is waiting on decisions from the Court of Tax Appeals on a large number of exemptions on oil and gas leases. As much as $3,351,584 oil and gas value is subject to being removed, so the college followed the recommendation to consider the entire $3.35 million as unavailable in 2014. The ruling on the exemptions will be made by the fall, Dean said.
The 2014 operating budget being considered includes a pay increase for faculty and staff. Last year, full-time faculty did not receive pay raises, Dean said.
Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman said the budgets are based on 3 percent enrollment growth, although the college has been exceeding that for several years. Dean said he hopes that trend continues.
In other financial news, Dean said the college had expected expenditures to outpace revenue by $1.8 million this year. That was intended, because the college is dipping into cash reserves by taking on a number of one-time capital outlay projects. Examples are replacing the Planetarium’s original projector with modern digital equipment. (See more improvement updates in related story.) But Dean had good news Thursday, saying actual expenditures were about $850,000 more than revenue.
Trustees also heard Dean’s recommendation for next year’s athletic insurance, and heard Director of Financial Aid Myrna Perkins’ report on financial aid, and heard Associate Dean of Distance Learning Angie Sullivan’s report on online learning opportunities.