I want to take this opportunity to update you on the monthly meeting of the Board of Trustees. The board met last night, both for purposes of setting the annual tax levy, as well as the regular agenda.
The tax rate adopted by the board will remain unchanged from last year, at 37 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for operating funds, and 8.41 cents for debt service. The good news is that the assessed valuation of the district has increased by nearly 3.5% over last year. This is an indication of the economic recovery that is occurring, and will result in positive revenue for the budget.
Now that the semester is under way, we will evaluate the three primary sources of revenue (state aid, tuition, and local taxes) and develop a recommendation concerning raises for faculty and staff. I am hopeful a recommendation can be developed by the October 2 meeting of the board.
I am pleased to report that ECC has received another federal grant, this time for the purchase of a chilled water system for our HVAC program. The board approved the purchase of the system in the amount of $47,960.31, which will be funded 100% by a grant from a USDA Rural Business Development Grant. This equipment enables us to continue with our expansion of HVAC into commercial and industrial applications. The HVAC lab in the
Business and Industry Center makes it possible for us to train students in a field that is increasingly in need of new employees. Congratulations to all involved with securing the grant for the purchase.
Dr. Tia Robinson and I spent time outlining the process involved with our upcoming visit from the Higher Learning Commission. The timeline, criteria for accreditation, and the 8-year cycle for reaffirmation were discussed with the board. As I mentioned during in-service and repeated last night, I am confident of our ability to meet the criteria for accreditation and look forward to having the team here October 16-18. We also cited the work of the HLC task force, which has been working on the evidence since this past spring.
In other action, the board reaffirmed policies concerning Conflict of Interest and Personal Financial Disclosures. These policies cover trustees as well as the president and chief financial officer. State law requires the policies to be reaffirmed every two years.
Medicare Part C insurance was approved for retirees. The college will renew with United Healthcare for the Medicare Advantage plan. There is no cost to the institution. Premiums of $10 per month, paid by retirees, are unchanged from the current plan.
In personnel items, the board approved the appointment of Joseph Hovland as culinary arts instructor, and approved the adjunct faculty for the fall semester.
I appreciate the engagement of the board in the governance of the institution. Their commitment is critical to the institution, and their leadership and direction form the foundation for our continued success.