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Board of Governors approves 2022-23 budgets with lower tax levy

Board of Governors approves 2022-23 budgets with lower tax levy

NORFOLK, Neb. – The Northeast Community College Board of Governors has given unanimous approval to the institution’s 2022-23 budgets. The action followed public hearings which took place Tuesday during a special meeting of the board in Norfolk.

The board approved a general operating budget of $53,756,812 and a building improvement budget of $17,720,211 for a total tax-supported budget of $71,477,023. The general operating budget is funded from property taxes, state aid, and student tuition and fees while the building improvement budget is supported through property taxes and student fees. A portion of Northeast’s state aid allocation is to be distributed to Nebraska’s tribal colleges. 

Nebraska state statute allows 2-cents of the property tax levy to be allocated to the building improvement fund and the rest to the general operating fund, up to a maximum of 11.25 cents per $100 of property valuation. This year, the College’s total property tax levy will decrease from 9.4 cents to 9.25 cents for a total property tax requirement of $32,265,093, which is up 3% from the previous year. The owner of a home in Northeast’s 20-county service area with a taxable value of $200,000 will pay $185. 

Scott Gray, vice president of administrative services, said operational funding at Northeast has been adjusted based on several factors. 

“With the slight tuition rate increases that went into effect this year, along with a 4.67% increase in property valuations in our 20-county service area, we were able to decrease our general fund property tax levy for the second straight year,” Gray said. “We wanted to strategically set our levy so that with modest growth in tax-supported funds, we are still able to meet rising operational costs due to inflation, and make sure we are able to pay our employees market-based compensation in the increasingly competitive labor market.” 

Gray said the building improvement budget increased due, in part, to carrying over funds from the previous year to pay for upcoming projects. 

“The building improvement budget comprises of funding for continuing projects, such as the current renovations to the College’s Lifelong Learning Center and the new Benjamin Avenue Trail leading out to the Acklie College Farm, as well as facility upgrades and repairs. An upcoming project includes the purchase of a space for the Northeast Nebraska Innovation Studio in downtown Norfolk.”

Additionally, the College’s non-tax self-supporting funds budget for 2022-23 totals $32,219,008. These funds include sales and fee revenue, federal financial aid, state and federal grants, and capital campaigns. Overall, the total of all budgets (general operating, building improvement and non-tax, self-supporting funds) combined is up 3.71% from the previous year.
“I would like to commend college employees for being good stewards of our resources as we work to empower the people of our 20-county service area to meet their workforce and academic goals,” said Dr. Leah Barrett, president. “Using data to understand the student experience ensures we are allocating our dollars for mission-driven work that supports our individual learners and our entire region.”

“As members of the Board of Governors, we hold our responsibility to be good stewards of public funds in the highest regard, said Julie Robinson, Norfolk, chair of the board. “The last couple of years have been trying times for everyone. We are pleased that Northeast Community College was able to move through those times continuing to provide quality education and an unmatched commitment to student success. This year, we are again able to decrease the tax levy while continuing that commitment. I commend the administration in its efforts in finding paths forward through thoughtful planning and financing of the college.”