Sept 17, 2015 – Agenda #5-6

Public Hearing on the FY2016 Budget

Sec Napolitano described process of developing proposed budget which has been online for a month. Includes a reduction in tax levy as well as decrease in tuition starting in spring semester. Maintain level of service.

Kirk Beckman with David Virgilio explains that the new budget more closely reflects actual spending. Surplus of over $700k for fiscal year. Main focus was on operating funds. Example is that budget includes a “vacancy” rate in staffing. In years past, there has always been a very large surplus of salary because the vacancy rate was not built in.

Public comment:

Trustee McGuire. Calls the budget process political theater. We are short $17million and not properly accounting for issues with funding from the state. Wrong time to spend our savings account. Wrong time to enhance the political careers of trustees.

Roger Kempa. Responding to rousing political speech. The era of automatic increases is over because COD has accumulated $195million surplus after those years. Screw the public on taxes and the students on tuition – those years are over.

Kirk Allen. Responding to McGuire, asks if she was at the meetings, if she had given her input during the budgeting process. Says the record should show that she did not respond. The accusations about political aspirations are getting old. Services are not being cut, obligations are being met, stop politicizing this.

Laura Reigle. I’m tired of being overtaxed. You have $200million in the bank – your proceeds from not having a balanced budget. Taxpayers and students need the relief.

Jan Shaw. We’re going to be spending out of savings, like putting a new roof on your house. Expenses for cleaning up the mess should start to come down. Describes McGuire’s tone of talking down to the community. Calls on McGuire to resign.

Adam Andrzejewski. Replies to McGuire’s theme that this is not the time. It was never the time to correct all the abuses in the past either. This is a clarion call to do more than less. This board is leading on fiscal responsibility and on the future of this state. McGuire and past board on “ash heap of history.”

John Kraft. Purpose of a budget hearing is for the public to ask questions and get answers from the public body.

Kirk Beckman is recalled to the podium and explains that the deficit McGuire referred to is not in the operating fund but in construction funds. “Apples and oranges.” Also replied about state funding. Historically this has been a risk area. Analysis of the past five years showed that much more state money than was budgeted for was actually taken in, which contributed to surplus. Also covered in the case of cost shift for pensions.

Bernstein comments that this is a much tighter budget, and that the apparent deficit is not a deficit but an “accounting artifice” in that it will not necessarily be spent in the current year.

Chair Hamilton comments that it is unprecedented to have members of the public involved in budgeting and asks for thanks to the budget committee. Asks counsel about the construction reserve, $33million. Is the college required to spend this money? Counsel: No, we do not have to spend that – it is a projection. Ham: Can we go ahead and spend that money? Counsel: There would have to be board action. Ham: we do not have a plan for a building. If there is going to be a building, there will be public discussion and discussion in front of the public.

Sec Napolitano clarifies that the next meeting will focus on approval of the budget. The budget hearing is closed by roll call vote.

After this agenda item, Item #6 closed session is called.

Chair Hamilton comments that the closed session will last about one hour (this is at 7:57pm).