Obviously the news that circulated earlier this week that the Higher Learning Commission had officially removed the yoke of probation from the college’s shoulders was very gratifying. No need at this point to revisit the past, but I did want to acknowledge the work of our board, our president, particularly Jim Benté, along with members of our faculty and staff for putting in the work on the narrative report. I know that we have our issues to address, and that we will do in a thorough and professional manner.
I did want to make a comment on item 4.q in the consent agenda: tax levy resolution. As I understand it, the resolution calls for a levy of $81.7 MM for the current year, which is $1 MM more than 2016, which I calculate to be an increase of 1.23 %. The CPI is quoted as 2.1 %, so this resolution leaves about $695 K in the taxpayers’ pockets. Doubtless, the accounting staff are poised to correct my mistakes in any of this math stuff. Granted, the $1 MM is substantially more than the frozen levy of last year, but that $695 K will not be collected this year and every year hereafter – in perpetuity as a former president was wont to say.
To be consistent, I acknowledge that, in the past, CODFA leadership questioned the magnitudes of the annual tax levies and the arguments then used to support them, the net result being large surpluses that brought us the giddy fund balance. Sound financial management you could argue. And we have since advocated that some part of that surplus should be used to compensate students and community members through maintaining tuition and the tax levy. And, indeed the tuition has remained constant, putting COD in the middle of the pack in that regard.
However, the days of the big surpluses are gone, and the cost curve trends ever upward. At some point it becomes sound practice to bring revenue generation up to a par with that cost curve. Who knows to what low value the CPI might fall in future years to reduce the ability to raise the levy.