ICC Trustees to discuss budget

Jun. 08, 2014 @ 03:05 PM

The Isothermal Community College (ICC) Board of Trustees will take action on the budget appropriation from Rutherford County Commissioners when they meet at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday.

The county appropriation has come under some scrutiny as the college is faced with nearly $10 million of capital improvements for various buildings on its campus.

Rutherford County Manager Carl Classen’s budget message — issued in May — held funding for the college flat at nearly $127,000. Classen said it was flat because the Board of Trustees had not presented its budget request.

However, after a joint meeting with commissioners and the board, Classen revised the county’s allotment to indicate a 2.06 percent increase — or approximately $40,000. He proposed holding three-quarters of that increase until maintenance issues at the college could be addressed.

Additionally, Classen proposed looking at options to bring maintenance at the college under the county’s umbrella.

The same week he made those budget alteration recommendations to the Rutherford County Commission, Classen revised his proposal which stripped out any mention of maintenance at the college.

“When they made their presentation to the board, it raised a lot of questions and I addressed those questions in my recommendations,” Classen said. “My revisions go back to the main issue in that there are significant improvement needs at the college.”

During Monday’s Commission meeting, Trustee Chairman Grady Franklin told commissioners the college has $2.5 million in immediate capital needs for roof and HVAC replacement.

“Many of our buildings are 48 years old and are still using the original HVAC units,” Franklin said. “They have just about done their due.”

Trustee Leonard Hollifield — who was part of a committee appointed to look at the college’s facilities and grounds — said the college has met its expenses by drawing down its depleted reserve fund.

“Now we are faced with a two-fold process,” Hollifield said. “We have an inadequate operating fund and buildings that will have to be closed because of safety concerns.”

ICC President Walter Dalton said the building needs are undeniable but the college is working on “innovative” ways to save money on its capital expenses and said the college would “use that [county] money wisely.”

“We are one of the strongest assets of this county and the stronger Isothermal Community College is, the stronger the county is,” Dalton said.

In other business Tuesday, Trustees will:

• take action on the budget request from Polk County;

• take action on gifts and donations;

• take action on budget revisions;

• discuss and take action on a fire training facilities capital improvement project;

• take action on letters of intent.