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Monday, October 9, 2017

ACC Implements Responsile Tax Policies

Alvin Community College has made it a goal to provide a quality education while also being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.

“As a government entity, the college has to constantly strike a balance between the needs of its students and our taxpayers,” President Dr. Christal M. Albrecht said. “The college has done an excellent job of properly using taxpayer funding.”

Tax rates for community colleges include two components: the Maintenance and Operations rate and the Interest and Sinking Rate.

Revenue raised through the Maintenance and Operations rate is used for day-to-day operations of the college including salaries, campus maintenance and supplies. Revenue from the Interest and Sinking rate is used to pay voter-approved debt.

The rates are calculated based upon property values in the district which are assessed annually. Because of fluctuations in those values, each year the college determines the effective tax rate, which is the rate needed to raise the same level of revenue as the previous year.

In the past 15 years, the Maintenance and Operations tax rate has been reduced from 25.5 cents per $100 of appraised value to 16.3 cents, which the Board of Regents approved in August.

“This represents a 36 percent reduction in our Maintenance and Operations tax rate,” Albrecht said. “These reductions also come at a time when our enrollment has never been higher.”

ACC posted its highest enrollment ever this fall with 5,746.

When voters approved a $19.9 million bond issue in 2005 for a new science building, the college began paying on the bond the following fiscal year. That rate has gone from 2.9 cents in 2005-06 to 1.7 cents this year.

“The I&S rate is less than half of what the college projected,” Dr. Albrecht said.

Revenue for the college comes from three sources: property tax revenue, state allocation and student tuition. The college has managed to lessen the impact on ACC taxpayers when state funding has been reduced steadily by legislators over the past decade.

“While there were many years this has created a challenge for our budget we still maintain a conservative approach when it comes to property tax revenues,” Albrecht said.

In addition to keeping tax rates low, ACC has been noted for its fiscal responsibility. This year, Fitch Ratings upgraded ACC’s bond rating to AA status due to several factors including maintaining revenue levels along with stable operations.

The higher rating means reduced interest rates on bond financing.

Year after year, the college also receives the highest marks for sound financial practices.

“These ratings and audit results signify how dedicated ACC is to being responsible and accountable to our taxpayers,” Albrecht said.

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