The Victoria College board adopted a budget Monday afternoon that is $373,000 less than its previous annual budget.
Keith Blundell, vice president of administrative services at the college, told the board the decrease in the $33 million budget is linked several factors, including an $88,000 decrease in state appropriations for the next two years.
The college will also see a decrease in funds from the University of Houston-Victoria, which had shared a library and bookstore with Victoria College before building its own new facilities. That loss in revenue was $288,000, Blundell said.
The adopted budget also includes an increase of student tuition and fees, which was approved in March. The revenue from the increase in tuition and fees is $36,000.
The proposed budget also includes salary adjustments for employees, including a 1.15% step increase and cost-of-living increase of 1.38% for eligible employees. After taking into account all employees, retirements and terminations, the cost of salaries is expected to increase $443,000.
“It’s a good budget and supportive of the institution,” said vice chair Luis Guerra.
The new budget will go into effect Sept. 1.
Two members of the public also spoke during the hearing about the tax rate.
Todd Brown said he was against the potential increase of taxes from Victoria College.
The college is proposing a lower tax rate for 2019-2020, but homeowners could still see an increase in taxes if their property value increased. There was about a 6% increase in overall values in Victoria County.
Under the proposed tax rate of 22.06 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, the amount of taxes imposed on the average home would be $363.30.
The tax rate last year was 22.35 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, which imposed $345.40 on the average home.
Brown suggested the college finances be audited, to which Blundell said they receive yearly “clean” audits.
Brown told the board he thinks the tax increase, including other bonds the community is paying for, is unfair. He also told the board he would like to see the college be more organized in class registration because his stepdaughter in high school has had issues with dual-enrollment courses.
“It seems quite unfair to the people ... I would like to see a lot of changes at Victoria College,” Brown said.
Harold Mallory also spoke regarding the time of the public hearing.
Mallory told the board although he was able to attend the 4 p.m. hearing, he knows others who were not able to attend because of school and work. Mallory said a later time would give more residents the opportunity to attend.
“I would highly encourage, before any sort of tax increase gets voted on, at least there be another opportunity for other residents to come and voice their concerns at a time that is more convenient,” Mallory said.
Jennifer Yancey, the vice president of college advancement and external affairs, said the Victoria College board meetings have taken place at 4 p.m. for more than a decade.
Although the standing meeting time is at 4 p.m., the board has the ability to change meeting times, Yancey said.