While students enjoy their summer break, MCCC’s Board of Trustees is busy preparing for the upcoming school year.
The board unanimously voted to reduce the millage request from .95 to .85 mills, finalized the 2016-2017 budget, and watched over progress in the HVAC renovations.
The state approved the funding request for East and West Technology buildings, which is one project covered by the millage revenue. This allowed the board to reduce the millage request.
The East and West Technology buildings project ranked 14 out of the 16 projects that requested state funding. The college’s state legislators, Sen. Dale Zorn and Rep. Jason Sheppard, worked until it placed in the top six.
On June 29, the House Bill 5294 was signed into law, which secured $3.75 million in state funding for the East and West Technology building. Renovations include turning existing facilities into useable classrooms and laboratory spaces and create more accessible locations for critical student support services.
MCCC President Kojo Quartey explained that because the state has agreed to contribute to the funding the college is able to reduce the millage request by nearly ten percent.
If approved, the millage tax would generate an estimated $4.83 million for the college in 2016 and would cost the owner of a $100,000 home $42.50 per year.
“We have relieved our local taxpayers of that burden, so instead of costing them approximately $48 a year, now it’s going to cost them approximately $42 a year to support this institution over the next five years,” Quartey said.
According to Quartey, reducing the millage is fiscally prudent and the right thing to do. He also believes the lower cost builds a stronger case for the millage.
The only catch is the state will only hand over the money if MCCC can match it. The college expects the money generated by the millage to cover its half.
“If the millage fails, we would have to do a fundraising campaign for the money. The project would be delayed and endangered without a millage,” Quartey said.
This month, Quartey embarks on the “Township Hall Tour” to discuss MCCC’s 5-Year Maintenance and Improvement Millage request. The tour includes volunteer recruitment efforts and “Meet the Candidates” forums at each stop.
Quartey has assigned champions in every township. He said champions are hardworking individuals who work in their township to recruit volunteers and head up advertising to ensure a successful millage.
The 2016-2017 budget was approved by the board on June 30 at its regular board meeting, and the new budget year began on July 1.
Quartey said the budget does not include any major changes that will effect students negatively. The price of tuition has risen five percent, but MCCC is still far cheaper than other colleges in the area.
Quartey expects exciting improvements on campus for students. He said student services will have more money to reach out to students all over campus. For example, the LAL will have more services available for students with disabilities, and Quartey wants to create more student organizations on campus.
“A good way of retaining students is to have them involved in activities on campus,” Quartey said. “Let’s get students more involved in campus activities where they feel like they are part of a family if you will; a cohort.”
A few weeks ago, Quartey called for more advisors to volunteer to oversee new clubs. Quartey said he will be advising a few of them himself.
The HVAC construction is on schedule perhaps a little ahead, said Quartey. The walls are dug, and construction has relocated offices all over campus.
The HVAC project is a geothermal heating and cooling system that is being installed in all the original buildings on campus with some minor repairs in the La-Z-Boy Center and the Health Education building.
The project will be finished in late September if it stays on schedule.
“It’s an investment in our future. It’s a good project that’s going to benefit those who come after us for the next fifty years,” Quartey said. “It might inconvenience us, but it’s for a good cause.”
The next regular board meeting will be held in the La-Z-Boy Center on Sept. 26.