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Wed, Oct. 23

Yavapai College moves ahead with sale of construction bonds

PRESCOTT – Money matters were in the forefront Tuesday as the Yavapai College (YC) District Governing Board unanimously ordered the sale of $25 million in general obligation bonds and approved the college's $70 million preliminary budget for the coming fiscal year.

The sale, on June 10, is the second since voters approved the issuance of $69.5 million of general obligation bonds in November 2000 to support the college's countywide master plan of remodeling and expansion.

The first issuance occurred on July 31, 2001, in the amount of $25 million plus $955,000 to refinance outstanding 1991 Series C bonds.

The second issue will cover master plan spending for the coming two years. The bulk of the two issues will provide $34.3 million to finance construction of a 49,000-square-foot library and computer commons, studio arts complex, welcome center, increased parking and other renovations and upgrades on the Prescott Campus.

The sale will be through on-line bidding. Scheduled date of issue closing and transfer of funds is July 1.

The preliminary budget will include a reduction in the overall property tax rate of at least 4.8 percent, according to Terry Bowmaster, YC vice president of finance and facilities. He said the budget total of $70 million, including the plant fund and capital projects, is down 24 percent from the 2002-03 budget.

Bowmaster said the college's total property tax rate will drop from $1.9785 now to a proposed $1.8830 per $100 of assessed valuation next year. It results from an increase in assessed property values, refinancing of existing debt and issuance of the second $25 million in general obligation bonds at a much lower interest rate than officials projected. The latter could save taxpayers as much as half a million dollars, he noted.

In other action, the board approved a continued memorandum of understanding with the local Workforce Investment Board, contingent upon the county attorney's favorable review.

Joan Laurence, YC vice president of workforce and economic development, said the program's goal is to make a one-stop delivery system that will improve access to training, employment skills and job opportunities for county residents.

In its morning work session, the board heard guest perspectives on the role of community colleges. Linda Rosenthal, Arizona Association of District Governing Boards chair, spoke about community college policy governance. Also, Yavapai County Superintendent of Schools Paul Street talked about K-12 board governance at the county level.

At lunch, the board conducted a reception recognizing the Roughriders Region I Championship Basketball Team.

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