JWCC trustees OK tax levy increase, approve new Brown County location

Posted: Dec. 19, 2012 11:26 pm Updated: Jan. 10, 2013 12:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The John Wood Community College Board of Trustees formally approved a slight increase in the 2012 tax levy and announced it will likely move its Brown County headquarters to a new location in the coming year.

The school's 2012 tax levy is estimated to be $4.6 million, which represents the amount of collectible property tax the school will levy on its district. The JWCC district consists of Adams, Pike, Hancock, Calhoun, Schuyler, Brown, Morgan, Scott and Cass counties.

The increase, less than one-half of one percent, means the district will collect about $126,000 more than it did a year ago.

The taxable rate for tax year 2012 is anticipated to be $0.34247.

"We have not received any money from the state this year, and have not received all of our money owed us from 2011," trustee Larry Fischer said. "But at the same time, we are being mandated to fund regulations and compliances that (we do not have money for). There's a growing level of frustration among all public bodies."

Fischer said he was "proud" the increase was such a small amount, despite all of the state-related funding problems.

"It's not only education (feeling the frustration)," board president Randy Sims said. "A lot of businesses are going through the same thing."

Ideally, the formula for funding community colleges is one-third tuition and fees, one-third property taxes and one-third state funding. But with the state's ongoing budget woes, that formula no longer is applicable. The state portion of the funding currently stands at 17.9 percent.

JWCC's new Brown County site -- pending approval by the Illinois Community College Board -- will be on the ground level of Brown County State Bank in Mount Sterling, 108 N. Capitol. The school will lease 3,600 square feet and plans to move operations there in the summer of 2013.

The new area will house three classrooms, a computer lab, offices, study lounge, storage room and public restrooms. The larger site will also provide a more centralized location near other amenities in downtown Mount Sterling.

Specific classes, training, programs and services to be offered at the new center will be determined following a series of focus groups held with area high schools, businesses and community organizations.

Dot Foods had partnered with JWCC since 1996 to provide space inside the company's training center on Buckhorn Road in Mount Sterling. That partnership should not be affected, according to JWCC President John Letts.

"We've been incredibly fortunate to utilize space in the Dot Foods facility and partner with them to provide training and education for district residents," Letts said. "As we researched possibilities for a new location, we had several meetings with area stakeholders and received overwhelming support to relocate because it will allow the college to expand educational opportunities for students of all ages."

In other business, the board announced there would be no meeting in January. The next scheduled board meeting is Feb. 20.