ACC to maintain levy



September 9, 2015 - 12:00 AM

Allen Community College trustees took another look at their 2015-16 budget after a new valuation was introduced by the county.
Enbridge Pipeline’s new line coming through Allen County bumped up countywide valuation by more than $45 million. The higher valuation gives the college an added $765,990 in general fund or capital outlay spending authority for the upcoming fiscal year.
“I see this as an opportunity to take a look at how we operate,” ACC president John Masterson said. “If we’re going to continue to grow the college and continue to make improvements it is extremely difficult. We went through a number of years we would grow a little bit and then go flat.
“We’re extremely frugal. With our facilities plan we try to make our students more successful. It gives us the opportunity to not raise mill levies or taxes and still have some additional dollars to operate with.”
Trustee Spencer Ambler pointed out ACC was the only entity in Allen County that didn’t raise its mill levy with its 2015-16 budget.
“We would be wise to take advantage of what we have now,” Ambler said.  “I would hate to lower it though and then just raise it again the next year. We’re wise to stay where we are now.”
Chairman Ken McGuffin agreed.
“We’ve updated our facilities and technology plan without any bond issue or mill levy increase,” McGuffin said. “ I agree with Spencer that we continue to keep the mill levy at the current rate. We don’t have any way to know what the state will do in the future.”
The ad valorem tax levy will stay at 18.75 mills. The trustees agreed to publish the revised budget in the newspaper for a budget hearing.
CONSTRUCTION is still ongoing at ACC’s Iola campus.
Facility updates began in late spring and a majority of updates were planned to be done by Aug. 28. Unfortunately, a defined finish date is still out of reach.
“I spoke with Architect One about the lack of progress on the construction,” vice president of finance and operations Brian Counsil told trustees Tuesday night. “The problem seems to be a lack of supervision on site.”
The appointed supervisor had originally been a painter who was promoted to the supervisory role for this project. He has since been relieved of his duties and Counsil added the general contractor has promised, twice, he will be the supervisor on site. Counsil said he has seen him on site only one day.
“What it boils down to is a bunch of little things that have a lack of supervision and there is a lack of correlation in between each trade,” Counsil said.
The chemistry and biology labs were planned to be finished by Oct. 16. While the chemistry labs are complete, biology instructors await completion of their labs and have been forced to find alternative ways to teach the lab portion of their curricula.
The contract written was without a clause to assess liquidation damages if construction did not proceed on time. Masterson said the architect had suggested to keep the damage clause out of the contract so more contractors would bid. Only two bids were received.
Counsil assured trustees he will stay on top of the progress and keep them updated.
— Trustees dismissed Jeff Nemeck from his position as farm manager at the Allen County Farm, the school’s onsite ag program.
— Trustees accepted the resignation of Seth King as administrations counselor at the Burlingame campus.
— A math center coordinator position was approved and will be advertised. The position will be similar to that of the writing center coordinator who helps with students’ writing assignments. The math tutor position is expected to be filled by January.
— The tenure review for instructors was revised to read that an instructor will have a master’s degree with a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline or subfield they teach in general education. This aligns with Kansas Board of Regents requirements.
— Credit requirements for associate degrees were evaluated and approved.
— The board purchased a new copy machine from Copy Products for $18,195. The current copier has made 7 million copies and no longer has parts to maintain it. Copy Products bid an unlimited time maintenance agreement.

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