The Garden City Community College Board of Trustees approved its budget Tuesday night for the 2015-2016 fiscal year, totaling $18,233,669.
The college’s working budget, proposed by President Herbert Swender and Vice President Dee Wigner, represents all of the college’s revenue and expenses.
This fiscal year, the college will collect just over $9.8 million, or 20.974 mills, in property taxes for its general fund and capital outlay fund.
Compared to the last school year, the college’s mill levy dropped slightly, down from 21.109 mills. A mistake by the Finney County Clerk calculating valuation resulted in a loss of about $91,700 that should have been collected last year but was not.
A majority of the college’s mill levy is for its general fund. The general fund mill levy is 19.963 mills, which is projected to raise a bit more than $9.32 million for the general fund. Capital outlay funds, used for capital improvements, land purchases and equipment tied to capital projects, make up 1.011 of the 20.974 total mills.
Board chair Jeff Crist praised the board and the administration for not increasing the burden on taxpayers.
“Many of the decisions that were made by this administration were wise ones,” Crist said. “It speaks well of the leadership of the administration and the members of this board.”
Board member Melvin Neufeld said he was impressed with the staff’s ability to “keep the budget in proper order.”
“If we didn’t have a president and the other people that work to keep things in line, we wouldn’t be in this position,” Neufeld said. “If you allow things to run on auto pilot, they automatically go to crash.”
In other business Tuesday:
• GCCC students taking at least 9 credit hours will have access to free healthcare at the college’s new University Medical Center, 816 N. Campus Drive, Suite 500.
GCCC employees and their families not eligible for free care will be able to receive healthcare at a 50 percent discount. The center will provide general medicinal care, sports medicine, dermatology, medical aesthetics, veterans care and be able to treat venous vascular disease.
“We had a lot of kids who were from out of town without cars,” Erskin said. “No way to get to any medical facilities. It started with the athletes and we decided to give it to everybody.”
• Campus Police Chief Rodney Dozier announced two new initiatives for the college’s state-sanctioned police force, meant to make everyone on campus more aware and prepared for emergencies.
Dozier hopes to install a campus-wide instant communications network, which will send out text messages, emails and phone calls to everyone in the college in the event of an emergency.
“We will be able to have a soft lockdown of our campus in five minutes,” Dozier said.
Campus police will also start training faculty, staff and students in Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evacuate (ALICE training), a civilian-level emergency response training program that anyone will be able to complete online.
Dozier also plans on creating a special team of staff, faculty and students to get advanced training and lead the campus in the event of an emergency.
• Swender outlined the college’s goals for the upcoming school year. GCCC hopes to increase online course offerings by 25 percent, grow total enrollment by 5 percent, complete a comprehensive plan for deferred maintenance and master facilities plans, develop and implement a comprehensive development education program and expand external funding resources.
“These are very aggressive goals, they may say a little lofty,” Swender said.
• After the meeting, the board dedicated the road between the Academic Building and the student residential buildings as Schwartz Drive, after board member Ron Schwartz. Swender led Schwartz, whose birthday was Tuesday, and the other board members outside near the student dormitories and pulled away a garbage bag revealing the new driveway sign.
• Swender and architect Stewart Nelson with Gibson Mancini Carmichael & Nelson also took board members on a tour of the ongoing renovations around campus.
They toured the latest student housing project, eight 2,200-square-foot units that will house 16 students each, costing a total of $2.89 million in revenue bonds.
Students living in the units will receive free laundry service out of a newly-built laundry building with a concrete roof that also acts as a tornado shelter.
They also got to see inside the Beth Tedrow Student Center, which is going through a $900,000 renovation, the new $144,000 welding facility and the Dennis Perryman Athletic Complex, which is getting $500,000 in new flooring, lighting, doors, bathrooms and a new concessions area.
The college hopes to complete the renovations during the upcoming school year.