BRENHAM - The Blinn College Board of Trustees approved a $93.9 million budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year during its regular meeting Tuesday.
The newly-approved budget marks a 5.3 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, incorporating increased revenues associated with the College’s expanded course offerings and enrollment, general fee and housing rate increases and the 7 percent increase in health benefits for full-time employees.
The budget includes an approximately $1 million increase in auxiliary fund expenditures to assist with capital and master planning needs on the College’s Brazos County campuses. Additionally, approximately $900,000 has been budgeted for 14 new faculty and staff positions to assist the College in accommodating growth, including a controller, a chief of staff for Brazos County campuses and a director of strategic initiatives.
In February, BOKA Powell, a Dallas-based architectural design and planning firm, presented the College with projections that saw enrollment on the Brazos County campuses exceeding 15,000 by 2017 and approaching 20,000 by 2025. Blinn has experienced 31.1 percent enrollment growth since 2006, registering 18,413 students district-wide last Fall, including 12,883 on its Brazos County campuses.
“This budget positions Blinn to not only provide excellent service for students during the upcoming fiscal year, but allows us to engage in capital projects that will meet the demands of future students,” said Kelli Shomaker, senior vice president for Finance & Administrative Services/CFO.
The budget includes longevity pay and a 2 percent cost of living increase for full time faculty, and a staff salary adjustment to bring Blinn’s non-faculty salaries closer to market averages based upon a compensation study conducted by Fox Lawson & Associates last year.
In other action, the board adopted the effective tax rate of $0.0584 per $100 of property value, a decrease from last year’s $0.06 tax rate. The effective tax rate, the rate that would generate essentially the same revenue as the previous year, was set by Washington County Chief Appraiser Willy Dilworth. Blinn’s tax rate was the lowest of the state’s 50 community college districts last year, more than 10 cents below the state average of $0.1659 per $100 valuation, and Blinn officials expect the proposed tax rate to again be the lowest of the state’s 50 community college districts.
Property taxes are expected to generate $1,610,655, which represents roughly 1.7 percent of Blinn’s revenue and approximately 22.8 percent of the College’s Brenham campus facilities budget. In accordance with state law, Blinn may only apply revenues generated through the property tax toward the maintenance and operation of its Brenham campus.
A study completed earlier this year by Economic Modeling Specialists International found that Blinn makes a $345.3 million impact on the local economy each year. The study found that Washington County taxpayers receive a cumulative value of $4.30 for every dollar of public money invested in the College.
Founded in 1883, Blinn is a comprehensive community college committed to educational excellence and to individual and community enhancement. With an enrollment of 18,413 students, Blinn ranks among the nation’s leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for its affordable educational excellence.
As part of its commitment to student success, Blinn is currently implementing a Quality Enhancement Plan titled, “Destination Success: First-Year Focus,” which utilizes learning communities to support first-year college students.
Registration is currently available for the Fall semester. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.