Trustees within the North Harris Montgomery Community College District voted to lower the district's tax rate by 2 percent during a special meeting last week.

The 2007-2008 tax rate is 11.44 cents per $100 valuation, saving a taxpayer who owns a $100,000 home and hasn't claimed any exemptions $2.30 compared to last year's tax rate of 11.67 cents per $100 valuation. "By our action we are reaffirming our commitment to taxpayers that we are good stewards of their dollars,"" said NHMCCD board President Randy Bates.

Board member Chris Daniel said constituents will be pleased with the small savings.
""This is one of the reasons why I ran (for a seat on the NHMCCD board), and I'm glad to be keeping my promise,"" said Daniel, who was elected in November.

Administrators, who couldn't solidify the budget until the district received the certified tax role from Harris County, did not originally anticipate a tax decrease.

During a late August board meeting, trustees approved the district's 2007-2008 budget of $233 million and tentatively announced the tax rate would remain the same. Cindy Gillium, vice chancellor of business affairs, said taxes will bring the district about $114.8 million - funding about 43 percent of the district's operating budget and 87 percent of its debt service requirements.

State grants, tuition and other funds will make up the remaining 57 percent of the operating budget, and investment earnings and pledged operating revenues will finance the rest of the district's debt obligations.

""This is the second year in a row we've been able to decrease the tax rate,"" Gillium told board members. District Chancellor Richard Carpenter said that trustees are considering asking voters to pass a bond referendum. May 2008 is the next opportunity the district will have to call an election, although no one has confirmed voters will go to the polls.

Carpenter said the district ""will have to do a better job of communicating to the electorate"" how rapid population growth and strong demand has challenged the district as it tries to educate students. ""We produce 80 percent of first responders and two-thirds of nurses in the Houston area,"" he said. ""As the population grows, we need more first responders and nurses, but we are getting to a point where we won't be able to provide (those educational services).""

Steve Lestarjette, associate vice chancellor of public affairs for Montgomery College, said the district has received more than 350 suggestions from a variety of sources, including the public, since it announced administrators are seeking to change the district's moniker. Lestarjette said after all the names are tabulated, a 24-member name review committee will whittle the list of names down to 12. The list will be reposted on the Web site in early October to allow those interested to vote on their favorite names.

During a Nov. 1 meeting, board members will select the most appropriate name for the college district.

" Posted by Tamborrel Bulox Team on
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