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Kilgore College trustees OK $54.5M budget

By Glenn Evans
Aug. 13, 2012 at 11 p.m.

KILGORE - Trustees at Kilgore College approved a $54.5 million spending plan for the coming school year Monday and proposed a tax rate to partially fund it.

Taxpayers can weigh in on the 15.4 cent tax rate during public hearings the board set for noon Aug. 24 and 6 p.m. Aug. 30. The rate, which is unchanged from this year's level, is scheduled for adoption at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10.

The $54.5 million budget includes more than $14 million that must be spent in specific areas, led by $11.6 million in student financial aid.

The remaining $40 million will fund administration, instruction, auxiliary areas such as athletics and campus food services, and maintain buildings and infrastructure.

The plan also maintains a roughly $9 million reserve balance, said Finance Director Duane McNaney.

College President Bill Holda cautioned trustees of areas that will remain unknowns when the fiscal year begins Sept. 1.

The first potential hit could occur if early enrollment numbers prove accurate. Holda said early estimates have the student body 5.8 percent smaller than this past year year, which could mean a $250,000 loss.

Holda added that its unknown whether the state will enact a mid-year cut like it did in the winter in response to massive education cuts lawmakers approved in spring 2011. That could take another $350,000 to $500,000.

Trustee C.B. "Scooter" Griffin was concerned that even though the tax rate is not changing, residents will pay more. Trustees passed a motion to note that.

Property values in the Gregg, Rusk and Smith county taxing entities that support the college have risen, so the same rate will draw more tax revenue. Values in Gregg County's member entities are up 3.17 percent, at $2.5 billion.

"How many years have we held that rate flat?" Griffin asked. McNaney said the rate fell from 16.4 cents to 15.4 cents in 2009 and has remained at that level.

"That is the lowest tax rate that this college has had over the past 15 years," McNaney added.



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