No Mill Levy Increase
From the PCC President' Desk, by Dr. Woj.
The January 17 edition of the Pratt tribune featuring an article on Mr. Newby’s petition stated the following: “The form of a protest petition against a two-mill property tax increase by Pratt Community College (PCC) has been approved and is ready to be circulated, according to Pratt County resident Fred Newby.”
This statement is either a miscommunication on the part of the reporter or a gross error on the part of Mr. Newby in his interpretation of the published legal notice to renew the two mill capital outlay fund. Raising the mill levy was never discussed or even mentioned at the Board of Trustees meeting because it was neither the intention of the Board nor the administration to seek a mill levy increase. The capital outlay mill levy has been in existence for at least twenty (20) years, and by law has to be renewed every five years. That mill levy is factored into the budgets passed by the Board during all of those years. To say that the Board is seeking a two mill increase in property taxes is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. The capital outlay fund is an obligated fund whose monies can only be used for facilities maintenance, rehabilitation or payment on bond issues for facilities. It cannot be used for any other purpose. I have received at least one call from a college patron and Pratt County resident who reported explaining to the petitioner that PCC is seeking only to renew the Capital Outlay mill levy, NOT TO INCREASE IT. The petitioner responded to him that had he known this fact, he would not have consented to carry the petition. This Board of Trustees has attempted numerous times to seek increases in state funding to help reduce the mill levy and even went as far as to file a lawsuit to correct funding inequities. I have personally lobbied heavily with the Legislature and testified numerous times on this issue. In one case the testimony was so vehement that I was told I was “excused”, i. e., asked to leave by the chair of the committee. Regardless of those efforts, there has been no relief. In spite of this situation, this Board of Trustees and this president has said there will be NO INCREASE IN THE MILL LEVY.
The estimated impact of approximately $250,000 per year is correct, but any insinuation that those funds could be used for anything other than facilities maintenance and bond service payments is not. Should those funds be discontinued, facilities maintenance and bond service would have to come at the expense of the operating funds. The ultimate result would be additional reductions in staffing – 12 positions already eliminated – and reductions in educational programs and student support services. If it is the desire of the petitioners to close the college, this action appears to be a first step in the direction.