Voters will decide in November whether Austin Community College will get nearly $400 million to build new facilities and renovate aging ones...Also on Monday, the board approved another item on the November ballot that would raise the maintenance and operation tax rate to 10 cents per $100 valuation on property in 2016, 11 cents in 2018 and 12 cents in 2020.
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Posted: 9:50 p.m. Monday, June 16, 2014
By Julie Chang - American-Statesman Staff
Voters will decide in November whether Austin Community College will get nearly $400 million to build new facilities and renovate aging ones.
Making good on a promise last year to bring such a proposal to voters, the board on Monday called for a bond election that would help pay for re-purposing Highland Mall buildings for college uses and building a 12th campus in Leander, among other projects.
The trustees had voted unanimously in December to work toward a bond election. Administrators, collaborating with a 25-member advisory panel of ACC and community representatives, had whittled a nearly $2 billion wish list of improvements to $475 million. The current proposal is $386 million. For a home valued at $200,000 after exemptions, the bonds would mean about a $40 per year tax increase.
“This proposal takes into account the impact on the public and allows us to ensure a pipeline of skilled workers throughout the region for the jobs of today and tomorrow, while keeping college affordable,” said board chair Jeffrey Richard in a news release.
In 2013, the board postponed holding a bond election with expectations that the turnout this year will be higher and improve the college’s chances of passing a bond election. The ballot is longer this year and will include various statewide races and Austin City Council slots.
The proposal is split into two propositions. The majority of the money would go toward the first proposition which includes the Highland Mall project and construction of new facilities, like the Leander campus and a workforce building at the Elgin campus.
The second proposition, $161 million, include renovations to the Rio Grande campus and other campuses after relocation to Highland Mall, expansion of the Round Rock campus and construction on the Hays campus for first-responder training.
ACC’s enrollment stood at 38,611 in the fall. Although that’s down from 40,159 a year earlier, officials project annual growth averaging 3 percent as the region’s population continues to increase.
Also on Monday, the board approved another item on the November ballot that would raise the maintenance and operation tax rate to 10 cents per $100 valuation on property in 2016, 11 cents in 2018 and 12 cents in 2020.
If voters approve the bond proposal and the bump in the maintenance and operation tax rate, the total tax rate will increase up to 5 cents over time. The current rate is $0.095 per $100 valuation.
ACC’s taxing district encompasses the city of Austin as well as the school districts of Austin, Leander, Hays, Elgin, Round Rock, Del Valle and Manor.
Voters will also have a chance to choose three new trustees in November.