GRCC Board of Trustees discussed the proposed budget

GRCC Board of Trustees discussed the proposed budget

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Board of Trustees meeting held in the Board Library at GRCC on Mon., May 7, 2018. (Tatiana Diaz/The Collegiate)

The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees met Monday to discuss the first reading of the 2018-19 budget.

Lisa Freiburger, Vice President of Finance and Administration at GRCC led a powerpoint presentation of the budget where she gave an update on the 2017-18 budget, 2018-19 Preliminary General Fund Scenario and the budget’s next steps in the fiscal year.

Freiburger mentioned prior to the presentation that the property tax values proposed for the 2018-19 budget increased since the last Board of Trustees meeting from the 2 percent property tax projected.

“We do not have anything formal yet, but you will see that number in what’s presented to you is much larger than what we had talked about before,” Freiburger said. “It is coming in right now at approximately 4.8 percent increase of property value. We are also anticipating that that is going to take us to another small rollback, so that is factored in here as well.”

The change, according to Freiburger, stems from a one-time accelerated payment that was removed for the Office of Retirement Services Early Retirement Incentive Program. Freiburger explained that the change in property tax would be brought up at the next budget meeting with more concrete numbers.

“(The change) is very small, we are looking at moving from $17,788 which is where we are today to $17,722,” Freiburger said. “Based on the information that we have, and again that information isn’t final, so it is possible that we will have to repeat that bit again before we bring you a final version at the work session scheduled the for first Monday in June.”

The budget discussion continued to touch on enrollment, which continues to be at a 4 percent decline since the summer of 2017 as well as salaries and non-salary and fringes, which are on track with the proposed $500,000 budget.

During the meeting, Trustee Kathleen Bruinsma asked about position changes to the grant-funded Preschool Community Liaison position and if it had yielded any paying clients.

“That position has been previously funded through a number of local funders, local donors, that were very, and are very, involved in our early childhood preschool program in its entirety,” Freiburger said. “It was very important to us and to our funders as we opened our new facility to make sure that we pulled in the community and provided support out into our community, particularly some of our underserved neighborhoods and made sure that we were providing additional supports to them, and at this point in time we have deemed that important enough to continue, at least in the short term.”

GRCC President Bill Pink added to the importance of the Preschool Community Liaison position and the connection to the community.

“The Community Liaison a lot of that work has been, as Lisa said, really to draw better connections with the center and our community at large,” Pink said. “So this individual, I remember last year during the Grand Rapids Neighborhood Summit that is put on annually, she attended that and set up a booth there just to make sure there’s that connection to the community. It doesn’t always necessarily facilitate larger numbers because we’re bursting right now, but it does make a good connection. The meaning of it is to make that good connection.”

The next Board of Trustees meeting will be held on Mon., May 21. There will be a work session prior to the Board of Trustees meeting. The work session will be held in the Board Conference Room at 12:30 p.m. followed by the regular meeting at 4:15 p.m. in the Board Library.

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