Texarkana College Board Considering Tax Increase
State cutbacks will likely make the Texarkana College budget extremely tight again.TC President James Henry Russell said generous one-time donations have helped bridge gaps in the budget over the last several years, but recent legislative decisions to reduce state funding for community colleges will now make it even tougher to balance the books. Russell also noted that TC’s major donor and notable alumnus, H. Ross Perot, will fulfill his five-year pledge in 2016.
“Once we receive our final $1 million installment from H. Ross Perot’s five-year pledge, we will struggle to make ends meet,” Russell said. “We have streamlined our systems, adjusted our tuition rates to generate more income, and asked our faculty and staff to do more with less.
Our first draft of the 2015-2016 budget still reflects a shortfall without reliance on Perot’s final gift. It will be next to impossible for TC to have a break-even budget in the future if we don’t put a plan in place for increased revenue once Mr. Perot’s pledge has been fulfilled.”
In considering other possible sources of income, Russell reported that the college recently completed a comparison study of Texas’ community college tax rate revenues. Findings from the study indicated that out of the 50 Texas community colleges, TC's tax rate is still among the lowest in the state. Russell said that in preparing the draft of the 2015-2016 budget, a slight increase in tax revenue was included, resulting in an additional $420,000 of income.
If adopted, the average home owner in Bowie County would see a slight increase in taxes of less than 70 cents per month or less than $8 annually.
Following a report made by Ronda Dozier, Dean of Workforce and Continuing Education, trustees approved a Memorandum of Understanding between TC and Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC) to enroll NTCC students in TC’s Professional Driving Academy.
“The collaboration with NTCC for the Professional Driving Academy program is a good business decision for both institutions,” Dozier said. “Each college will receive revenue from the program and the partnership will boost enrollment. Classes will continue to meet at the TC@TexAmericas Center site.”
In other business, trustees took action to approve a contract with Cenergistic, a company that delivers comprehensive energy conservation programs to help reduce consumption of energy and water. TC will purchase EnergyCap software to analyze campus-wide energy usage data. Energy cost savings is estimated to amount to more than $320,000 during the five-year contract period with Cenergistic.