Grayson College's board of trustees recently approved a tax rate of 18.12 cents per $100 valuation. The new rate comes in slightly lower than last year's rate of 18.13 cents. The board also approved the 2017-2018 budget, which includes allocation for a possible bachelor of science in nursing program.
Grayson College President Jeremy McMillen said the college has not received any feedback from residents regarding the tax rate and no residents were in attendance at either public hearing.
“We had no negative nor positive feedback,” McMillen said. “I am honored that our taxpayers invest in our college.”
Although the tax rate will be lower than last year's, tax revenue will increase due to increasing property values. If a home was valued the same this year as it was last year, the homeowner would pay less in taxes this year. McMillen previously explained due to economic prosperity within the county, many homeowners have seen an increase in their property's appraised value.
Assistant to the President Molly Harris added that although the college received no official feedback from the taxpayers, she is grateful for what the money allows the school to do.
“We can't operate without local taxes,” Harris said. “We can't keep the lights on without local taxes. We wouldn't be able to survive without the community's support.”
Grayson College's new budget was also approved during the meeting, and includes funds to hire the first individuals for a potential registered nurse to bachelor's of science in nursing program. This would be Grayson College's first bachelor's degree program and is designed to allow students with an associate's degree to gain additional credits towards a bachelor's degree in nursing.
“We were able to have funds for the first two positions required for a BSN program,” McMillen said. “We are hiring individuals to help us move down that road and prepare reports to move towards that historic event in this budget.”
McMillen said funds were allocated for adding additional staff for other departments as well.
“We also hired our first advanced manufacturing professor that's going into the new building,” McMillen said. “We also have a position for a viticulture professor. We were able to shift some faculty and are hiring a full time EMT professor.”
Grayson College is planning a $1.4 million building for the Texoma Regional Consortium's Advanced Manufacturing Program.
The budget includes $8,000 for a veterans hub, which is a space for veteran students to congregate and find resources. Harris said new furniture will also be purchased for a general academic space for students.
“I think it's really great that our board passed a budget that is student focused,” Harris said. “We are getting some furniture for a general academic space that will be new and modern to encourage collaboration. Some furniture will also be purchased to encourage quiet space for learning. Having the student success fund has allowed for some of that and it allows for students to be creative.”
Advances in salary were also included in the new budget. The advances allow the college to bring its offered salaries in line with the current market, McMillen said.
“We want to make sure we are the employer of choice for the area,” McMillen said. “We need to do things to take care of our staff.”