New tax levy ‘may be necessary’

Talk of a new tax levy for MCCC is in its infancy stages.
Dr. Kojo Quartey, MCCC president, has mentioned in several public settings that the college may ask voters for an increase in its tax levy, which was first approved in 1981.
  Quartey said the idea is a “delicate situation,” but declining enrollment and falling property taxes are reasons it may be needed.
“I’m not saying we’re going to do it immediately, but it’s something we’re going to think about,” he said.
Bill Bacarella, Chairman of the MCCC Board of Trustees, said a levy may be necessary.
“We have a need, but we need to enunciate to the voters what we need,” he said.
  Quartey said the proportion of tuition as a percentage of general revenues has increased over the past decade, while state grants and property taxes have declined or stayed the same.
“Property taxes have declined and we are not getting any more from the state,” he said.
Tuition was 23 percent of the college’s revenues in 2003-2004, and has increased to 37.8 percent for the current year.
The annual state grant was at $3.9 million in 2002-2004, and is $4.38 million for the 2013-14 academic year; property taxes were $11.2 million in 2003-2004 and $12.1 million this year.
The flat state and property tax revenue has caused the college to raise tuition to meet expenses,which Quartey said was not a popular decision.
 Quartey said he has support of the board for the discussion of a new tax levy; if approved, it would be the first time in 32 years.
“We have to support our programs.
It’s all about enhancing and transforming this community,”he said.
“We transform and enrich lives here.”
 Quartey also said the college cannot provide quality and necessary services if no money is available.
He noted that the college is the only higher education institution in the county and the La-Z -Boy Center’s role of education and entertainment in the community.
“There’s no other place like it here,” he said.
“We need to define what the money is going to be used for,”
 Bacarella said about the upcoming steps that would be necessary before a levy is put before the voters..
 Quartey declined to discuss how much of a levy increase the college would seek. He said the decision hasn’t been made yet.
He said MCCC is a hallmark for the community.
“We are this community’s college,” he said.
“This county benefits
so much from this institution.”