August 10, 2004
Trustees OK 04-05 budget that includes fewer tax dollars
Cowley’s Board of Trustees delivered some good news to local taxpayers Monday night at its regular monthly meeting.
The Board unanimously approved the 2004-2005 budget for the college that is seeking $235,000 fewer tax dollars than the previous year. Therefore, the projected mill levy of 17.561 is expected to be nearly identical to the 2003-2004 levy. The final mill levy won’t be set until the final valuation for Cowley County is calculated.
The college’s budget approved Monday night is based on an increase of 5,000 credit hours over last year, a state operating grant of $7,485,984, and a county valuation of $191,452,007, which is $12 million less than a year ago.
The college’s total budget for 2004-2005 is nearly $24.8 million. It is seeking $3,362,132 in tax support. Since the 1999-2000 academic year, the college’s budget has decreased to the current 17.561 mark.
In an unrelated matter, Board members discussed at length the college’s role in economic development within the county. It voted 6-0 to stop funding the Cowley County Economic Development Agency, which is being dissolved in favor of a new partnership. The cities of Arkansas City and Winfield, along with the county, have discussed a new venture for economic development in the county. Trustees discussed the college’s role and whether it should be a partner with the three other entities.
“I think it’s important that the college be involved,” Board Member Mark Paton said. “We could make a one-year commitment and then evaluate.”
“It’s kind of a new organization, and they don’t know exactly where it’s going,” Board Member Donna Avery said. “I’ve represented Strother Field at the meetings, and I feel good about the direction it’s going. I feel the college would be a good partner.”
A draft proposal by Cowley County Administrator Leroy Alsup has been discussed, but it does not include a budget and does not seek a specific dollar amount from the proposed partners. Board Member LaDonna Lanning said she worried that the college’s involvement might add more responsibilities for Cowley President Dr. Pat McAtee.
“Pat is highly in demand around the state, with the COP (Council of Presidents), with various boards and with the whole aviation in Wichita,” Lanning said. “I’d be concerned that we’d stretch him on things outside the realm as administrator of this college.”
In the end, Paton said the Board would like to see a written proposal from Alsup and the two cities.
“We’d like to see a plan of action to date, and we want them to know that we have an interest in looking at it,” Paton said.
In other matters, the Board:
1) Authorized college officials to make an offer of $52,000 on property at 412 W. Washington Ave. The motion carried 5-0, with Board Member Lee Gregg Jr. abstaining, following a 10-minute executive session.
2) Heard a construction report from Vice President of Business Services Tony Crouch. He said the renovation of the south lobby of W.S. Scott Auditorium “was going well,” and that precast concrete was going up and should be finished soon. Windows will be installed next. The lobby’s floor is being installed, and the floor of Dan Kahler Court has been resurfaced. On the Webb-Brown classroom building, footings and stem walls on the north side are in, and the contractor, Conco, Inc., has set a deadline to be “dried in” by winter. Crouch said, “This building will rival the Brown Center in terms of being a showplace on campus.” The orchestra pit lift has been installed in the Robert Brown Theatre, and the College Recreation Building is now finished. “That’s one of the most exciting things,” Crouch said. The William R. Docking Dormitory got a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting and, according to Crouch, “looks brand new.”
3) Approved a $100,000 facelift to the east entrance of Galle-Johnson Hall. More than a year ago, college administrators discussed the need to modernize the entrance as it oftentimes is the first impression of the college for prospective students. Project funds were set aside from the 2003-2004 budget, and the Board authorized a contract with Gordon & Associates of Winfield and with Conco to remodel the entrance. The project is expected to begin once Conco is nearly finished with the classroom building in late spring 2005.
4) Approved the following personnel transactions: Letters of resignation from Kim Peri, library assistant; Charlee Wilson, dorm manager/intramural assistant; and Robert Hayes, assistant cross country/track and field coach; the employment of Linda Grossman as Natural Science instructor for the northern campuses, Jamison D. Rhoads as technical director of theatre, Mark A. Richardson as ADA/Special Needs Coordinator, Errol Lowery as dorm manager/intramural director, and Michelle Knoles as Service Learning Coordinator.