Tyler Junior College set to have second public hearing

Published on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 22:50 - Written by Emily Guevara eguevara@tylerpaper.com

Tyler Junior College will have its second and final public hearing about its proposed tax revenue increase today.

The college is proposing to hold the line on its tax rate, but increase its revenues to address the needs of new programs, which are slated to come online this fiscal year.

The college expects to propose a budget of about $82.8 million — the exact figure is still being worked out. That would be an increase of more than $4 million from last year’s adopted budget.

The proposed tax rate is 19.99 cents per $100 valuation, the same as last year.

The owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $199.90 in property taxes, the same as last year.

The average TJC homeowner would pay about $265 in property taxes. The average home value in the TJC district this year is $132,583, up more than $3,330 from last year.

Some of this year’s budget expenses are tied to new health care programs including those for occupational therapy assistant and physical therapy assistant.

The college has hired faculty for these programs and the first cohort of occupational therapy assistant students will start this fall.

The budget proposal represents about a 5 percent increase over last year’s proposed budget.

The revenue to fund this increase will come in part through an increase in certain course-specific student user fees.

Because certain courses, such as those associated with health care and certain technical programs, require the use of more expensive technology and equipment, students pay more fees to take these classes.

In the health care courses, these fees combined with the bond funds and private donations are funding the new Rogers Nursing and Health Sciences Center. In other programs, the fees help pay for program expenses.

The state revenue is expected to be the same this year because this is the second year of the biennium, the state’s two-year funding cycle.

Enrollment is expected to reach about 10,000 students, which would be unchanged when compared to last year.

Sarah Van Cleef, TJC’s vice president of business affairs and chief financial officer, said an increase in property valuations will generate an estimated $600,000 in additional revenue.

Although no employee raises are being recommended at this time, college officials are looking at increasing the adjunct faculty salary by $200. This would take it from $1,800 to $2,000 for a three-hour course.

The public hearing is scheduled for 11 a.m. today in the White Administrative Services Center Board Room on the TJC main campus, 1400 E. Fifth St. The TJC board of trustees is scheduled to vote on the budget and tax rate on Aug. 28.