The Weatherford College Board of Trustees approved a proposal to maintain the current ad valorem tax rate of 11.464 cents per $100 valuation for the 2014-15 fiscal year during their board meeting Monday afternoon. This rate includes 10.741 cents for maintenance and operation expenses and 0.723 cents for debt services.
While this is the same tax rate from the current year, due to increases in property appraisal values, the college expects to bring in about $400,000 more in tax revenue in the coming fiscal year as compared to 2013-14. This increase in revenue requires two public hearings scheduled for noon Tuesday, Aug. 19, and 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 22. The Board is expected to take a final vote on the budget and tax rate at a meeting scheduled for noon Thursday, Aug. 28. The new budget, at a current proposed amount of $54.7 million, goes into effect Sept. 1.
“At 11.464 cents, our tax rate is a full nickel below the state average for community college districts,” said Dr. Kevin Eaton, WC President. “We have one of the lowest tax rates in the state of Texas as it is.”
Frank Martin, Don Allen, Dr. Luke Haynes and Mac Smith voted for the proposed rate. Joel Watson voted against it, and Dr. Trev Dixon and Betty Jo Graber were absent from the meeting.
The public can view a detailed proposed budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year online at www.wc.edu/wc-budget.
In other business, the board voted to change the frequency of its meetings over the next fiscal year, going to six regular meetings rather than 12 in the new fiscal year. The board will meet in even-numbered months with the option of called meetings when needed. The regular meetings will be October 9 and December 11 of 2014 and February 12, April 9, June 11 and August 13 of 2015.
The board also:
- Listened to an update on the remodel of the old Allied Health Building (now the 1st Lt. Jack L Knight Building) and the Business Building. Both projects are nearing completion.
- Approved bids for food services products and supplies for 2014-15;
- Authorized an interlocal cooperative contract with Education Service Center Region 20 for participation in the PACE Cooperative Purchasing Program.
In his president’s report, Eaton:
- Presented an enrollment update: Total enrollment for the two 2014 summer sessions was 2,878 students, a slight decrease compared to 2013. Early indications for the fall of 2014 indicate similar numbers as compared to the record-setting fall of 2013, which totaled 5,717 students at all of WC’s sites.
- Recognized all of the volunteers and participants for the Peach Pedal Bike Ride in July, a Weatherford Chamber of Commerce event that supports the WC Foundation’s scholarship endowment. With a Title III matching grant, the event will add about $40,000 to WC’s scholarship funds.
- Recognized Kay Young, Dean of Workforce and Economic Development, and the Workforce and Continuing Education staff for receiving another Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texas (JET) Grant. The $336,090 grant will be used to purchase welding equipment for the WC welding program. With this grant, the department is closing in on $900,000 in JET Grant funding over the past four years.
- Presented the annual report on GED Testing.