Blackhawk Tech Board increases taxes

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Frank Schultz
Friday, October 18, 2013

TOWN OF ROCK—The Blackhawk Technical College Board approved a $20.74 million levy, which is a 1.6 percent increase from last year.

The levy is the highest it's been since 2009-10 and the second-highest in 18 years, according to numbers supplied by the college.

The district's operational spending increased slightly this year. The big spending item is new debt the district incurred to start work on the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton, said Renae Ranguette, vice president for finance and operations.

Bids for the project will go out this month, and construction is expected to start in December, be completed by June, and the first students will walk through the doors in August, Ranguette said.

The board on Thursday approved issuing $1.5 million in bonds to finance the Milton project.

Another major impact on the budget is a loss of enrollment.

Ranguette noted the college saw a spike in enrollments when General Motors and related businesses laid off hundreds in 2008 and 2009.

Enrollment is declining, and that means less money is flowing in through federal grants and loans to students.

The state budget has capped technical college levies for operational costs over the past four years, but a change in state law this year allowed the operational levy to rise by about $116,000, based on new construction in the district, Ranguette said. 

In other budget-related actions Thursday, the board:

-- Approved a refinancing of bonds issued for the 2002 referendum building project. Ranguette said a favorable interest rate means taxpayers will save about $357,000 by the time the bonds are paid off in 2019.

-- Approved a request to remodel the former day-care area at the central campus to create a new “student success center.”

The 15,800-square-foot center will help students with remedial training, tutoring and in applying for jobs.

The cost to remodel the space is estimated to be $1.49 million. Bids should be sent out in late winter and awarded in the spring. Construction would start in May and be completed in time for the beginning of the fall semester, Ranguette said.

Last updated: 4:09 pm Friday, October 18, 2013

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