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Local

McHenry County College approves 2014-15 budget

CRYSTAL LAKE – The McHenry County College Board of Trustees approved a $62.2 million education and operations budget Thursday that assumes a freeze in the property tax levy for a second consecutive year.

The $62.2 million budget is slightly more than the $61.1 million education and operation budget for 2013-14, mostly because of a $2 million increase in capital outlay costs. The budget does include an overall decrease in salaries and benefits, which dropped from about $43.2 million to $42.7 million.

Salaries and benefits still account for 66 percent of the overall education and operation budget.

The budget is projected to result in a decrease to the education fund reserves from $19.6 million to $18.9 million. The operations fund balance is expected to increase from $4.6 million to $5.6 million.

For the second year in a row, trustees are not planning to ask for an increase to the tax levy, according to budget estimates. Property tax revenue is expected to come in at about $27 million again, accounting for 46.8 percent of the total revenue.

Despite a tuition increase, revenue in that area is expected to drop to $15.2 million, which is lower than the initially projected $16 million and the $15.6 million from last year. That tuition revenue, along with fees, accounts for 26.3 percent of the budget.

In the only inquiry to the final draft, trustee Chris Jenner questioned the budget’s largest increase in capital outlay expenses and what caused it. Robert Tenuta, chief financial officer for the college, said it was a combination of equipment replacements, deferred maintenance and carryover from the 2013-14 budget that was not addressed.

The budget gained unanimous support despite projecting a flat levy, which some trustees were wary of last year before its eventual approval. New trustees in 2013, including Jenner, Tom Wilbeck and Molly Walsh, along with board President Ron Parrish pushed for a frozen last year, which was a change of philosophy for the board.

No official decision on the levy can be made until trustees vote separately on the measure later this year.

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