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Sat, Feb. 22

Yavapai College talking budget

PRESCOTT – People who live in Yavapai County will have the opportunity Tuesday to attend public hearings on the Yavapai County Community College District's 2004-05 budget and truth in taxation. At that time, the District Governing Board will decide whether to adopt the budget, which includes six new full-time instructional positions.

Along with those instructional positions, the proposed 2004-05 budget includes a performance incentive plan for employees at the "maximum" of their salary range ($130,000), faculty development ($3,000) and a communications position for the school's marketing department ($60,000), according to materials in the Governing Board packet for the April 2004 board meeting.

Terry Bowmaster, vice president for finance and facilities at Yavapai College, said although the state budget isn't yet final, the Senate and the House agreed to pay community colleges the full amount for growth. For Yavapai College, that amount comes out to $252,000.

That money, if the board adopts the budget, will pay for a full-time nursing faculty (CNA), full-time Cisco Academy faculty, a partnership with NAU, expansion of the Agribusiness Technology program and contract training.

Bowmaster said 43 percent of the general fund expenditures in the proposed 2004-05 budget goes toward instruction. Twenty-four percent goes to institutional support and administration, 12 percent goes to academic support, 10 percent goes to physical plant operations and maintenance, 8 percent goes to student services and 3 percent is contingency.

Seventy percent of the college's general fund revenue comes from primary property taxes. Fifteen percent comes from tuition and fees, 13 percent from state appropriations and 1 percent each from other sources and unrestricted fund balance.

"We feel very good about the budget," Bowmaster said. "It's been prioritized based on the board and institutional goals for the year."

Before the public hearing on the budget, the college will host a hearing on its intention to levy 2 percent more in property taxes than the state's truth in taxation calculation (a tax rate based on the assessed value of new construction in the county but not on the increase in assessed value of existing properties) calls for.

The state allows community colleges to levy a maximum primary property tax rate which includes full value for new construction plus a maximum 2 percent increase for the increase in property values on existing properties – in which case the college has to hold a public hearing.

While the district's primary property tax rate will actually decrease this fiscal year, property owners will pay more property taxes than they did last year because property values have increased, according to Bowmaster.

For fiscal year 2004-05, the truth in taxation rate comes out to $1.5318 per $100 assessed valuation. However, Bowmaster said, the Yavapai County Community College District proposes levying $1.5626 per $100 assessed valuation (this year, that rate is $1.5672). That includes the maximum 2 percent for increases in the value of existing properties.

The Yavapai County Community College District Governing Board will meet for a work session at 10 a.m. Tuesday in the green room in the Yavapai College Performance Hall in Prescott, 1100 E. Sheldon St.

At 1 p.m., the board and members of the administration will host public hearings on truth in taxation and the 2004-05 budget (immediately after the first hearing).

After the public hearings, the board will decide whether to adopt the budget, and will then have a regular meeting.

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