Barton Community College Trustees meeting at a glance
Here is a quick look at what the Barton Community College Trustees did Tuesday afternoon:
• Approved the fiscal year 2022 operating budget for publication.
• Heard a report from Director of Institutional Research Todd Mobray on the college’s contingency plan.
He used the presentation to demonstrate how the plan had worked in light of changes forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. That impacted all aspects of college life, including instruction, activities and athletics.
“Our contingency planning, I think, is in a good place,” he said.
• Reviewed the college’s strategic planning and mission statement.
The bottom line, Director of Institutional Research Todd Mobray said, was that students, staff and the public see the college as fulfilling its mission and see it in a positive light, but think the actual mission statement is too long and wordy.
BCC’s executive leadership team will bring a revised version of the statement to the trustees at the August study session.
• Renewed BCC President Carl Heilman’s contract for another year.
“The ship is running well,” board President Mike Johnson said. “These are challenging times. We have the leadership to move forward.”
The annual review of the contract had taken place during an executive session at the last board meeting.
• Approved closing the BCC automotive program.
It has been discussed to close the program due to declining enrollment, high costs and consistent financial loss, minimal students completing the program, and new programing opportunities.
• Approved a quote from Cypress Risk Management for general athletic coverage for a total of $43,500 and a quote from Cypress for Catastrophic coverage for a total of $5,288 for a total of $48,788. The athletic insurance becomes effective on Aug. 1 of each year.
The Barton Community College Board of Trustees Tuesday afternoon approved BCC’s 2022 operational budget and its publication. It calls for increasing revenue by $2,067,248 and expenditures by $2,539,269 over last year’s spending plan, a plan that was drastically cut due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The package keeps the mill levy at approximately the same value as last year, which in turn increases the tax request by approximately $246,362. The college ended FY21 with a carryover of $710,022, created in part by unfilled positions, federal COVID aid and anticipated state aid cuts that didn’t materialize.
Also tucked into the budget is a 7% pay increase for all full- and part-time employees, as well as a raise for adjunct personnel. This was aimed at making BCC more competitive in attracting employees.
“What we’re experiencing is certainly not a phenomenon just for us,” board President Mike Johnson said of hiring challenges. “It’s what we’re dealing with now, whether you’re government agency or a private industry.”
In presenting the budget to the trustees, Vice President of Administration Mark Dean outlined four options. All were basically the same, the only difference was the amount of the pay hikes for full- and part-time employees which ranged from 3-10%.
The four increase college expenditures from $2.5 million up to $3.4 million, depending on the percentage.
The budget includes new positions and replacement positions that weren’t filled last year. It also anticipates a decrease in tuition and fees.
In approving the 7%, the board noted it would revisit the matter at its January 2022 study session with an eye towards bumping the increase to the 10%.
Barton County’s estimated valuation increased this past year, mainly due to the recovery of oil and gas prices, Dean said. The mill levy request is based on the valuation estimate provided by the county clerk on June 10.
A mill is one dollar in taxation for $1,000 in valuation. The valuation is the total value of all property in the county.
The mill levy was 33.077 in 2019-2020 and 33.050 in 2020-2021, he said. The proposed budget maintains the rate at 33.050 mills.
This year, governing bodies are also looking at the revenue neutral rate.
This refers to Kansas Senate Bill 13, the Revenue Neutral or Truth in Taxation statute approved the Legislature late in the 2021 session. The aim was to make the state’s complex tax system more transparent.
Basically, SB 13 prohibits all taxing entities from increasing their tax collections by more than they did the year previous. This means, if an entity’s valuation goes up, the mill rate would have to go down to collect the same amount of taxes.
In addition, it establishes a requirement of notices to taxpayers and public hearing for municipalities seeking to collect property taxes exceeding their revenue-neutral rate.
So, based on the valuation estimate, next year’s mill levy would need to drop to 32.328 to collect the same amount in tax dollars as last year, $8,759,789, Dean said.
The year before that the tax levied came to $9,169,643 and next year’s proposal estimates $8,969,702.
If everything happens as predicted in the budget and all positions are filled, the college will see a decrease in its cash reserves next year, ranging from $1.34 million to $1.86 million.
A revenue neutral rate public hearing for Tuesday, Aug. 24, during the regular board meeting that starts at 4 p.m. in Room F-30, located on the lower level of the BCC Fine Arts Building on campus. This will be followed by the regular public budget hearing.