In the first public tax hearing for Tyler Junior College, no one showed up to comment.
The proposed rate is exactly 2 cents higher than the effective tax rate, which is the rate that would generate the same revenue as last year.
The proposed rate is almost 1 cent below the rollback rate — the level at which voters can demand a referendum on a tax increase.
Board President John Hills said the lack of a tax increase apart from the bond-related one is likely the reason no one addressed the board at the meeting.
“The building of the building, and selling those bonds, was already approved so there was not really an issue for anybody to discuss what the tax rate was going to be this year because it was done by the voters,” Hills said.
TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said that he believes and hopes that the reason no one spoke up is a reflection of the college’s openness and transparency with its plans in the past two years.
“We’ve had open forums and numerous meetings seeking community input,” Metke wrote in the email. “We listened to our community and we promised that we would not move forward unless the voters supported our plans through a bond election. We are keeping that promise and the only increase in the proposed tax rate would be due to the bond that was passed to build the new nursing and health sciences building.”
Higher property values should generate a $2.1 million increase in tax revenue with estimates putting that at $20.8 million for this year. That’s about 2 percent higher than last year’s tax revenue.
Chief financial officer Sarah Van Cleef said some of the additional monies will go toward the college preservation fund to help maintain facilities, with another part going toward the operating budget.
Ms. Van Cleef said the college has yet to finalize its budget proposal at this time. However, she said, they are targeting a relatively flat budget compared to this year’s, which was $74.4 million when adopted. The college is not expected to award raises this year.
Another public tax hearing will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the White Administrative Services Center Board Room on the main campus, 1400 E. Fifth St.