BEATRICE – Southeast Community College is being criticized by a major farm organization in Nebraska for the school’s recent increase in their capital construction tax levy.
SCC’s Board of Governors recently approved going to the maximum two-cents allowed by law, to help begin financing part of a master facilities plan across campuses in Beatrice, Milford and Lincoln. That, after voters soundly rejected a $369 million bond issue. SCC Board President Dr. Dale Kruse says the board has given a lot of consideration over ways to improve facilities.
:40 “a waiting list”
One other option is to increase state budget support for community college facilities, which Kruse says is a discussion that’s been ongoing.
:10 “in the state”
Dr. Kruse said there’s also an issue with the overall age, of SCC facilities.
The Nebraska Farm Bureau is calling on the college to reconsider the increase in capital levy. The organization was joined by former Governor Dave Heineman, officials of the Nebraska Cattlemen, Nebraska Soybean Association, Lincoln Independent Business Association and a Lincoln City Councilman. State Senators Laura Ebke of Crete, Dan Watermeier of Syracuse, Curt Friesen of Henderson and former Senator Jerry Johnson, of Wahoo…also back reconsideration of the tax increase. SCC has undertaken the start of learning centers in communities in those senators’ districts. Kruse says he doesn’t sense a willingness by the board to scale back what’s been approved.
:17 “that was set”
The SCC Board of Governors recently approved the college’s $250 million budget, and a 9.07 cent total tax levy. That amounts to a total of about $97 on $100,000 of taxable property… up $21.80 from the past year. The SCC total tax rate is the second-lowest property tax rate of community colleges in Nebraska. Only Western Community College has a lower figure.
The tax rate increased from 7.52 cents the past year, mostly because of the nearly one-cent increase in the SCC capital levy, to 2 cents.
Property valuation in the 15-county service area of SCC increased 4.4% this year. The school saw a 4% cut in state aid.
Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, in a written statement, said the organization has “received numerous calls and complaints from taxpayers across the SCC area”.