College board shrinks tax increase


Facing vocal backlash and a recall effort after approving an 85-cent increase in its primary tax rate, the Pinal County Community College Governing Board voted to reduce the increase at a special meeting Tuesday.

On a 3-0 vote, the board approved an increase of 39 cents instead. The primary tax rates will rise from $1.91 per $100.00 of net assessed value to $2.30.

As voted on May 19, the original rate would have increased the primary levy for Central Arizona College by more than 45 percent. CAC receives 14 percent of Pinal County tax revenues.

Board member Rick Gibson did not attend the meeting, and board member Debra Banks abstained from the vote, saying she was concerned about the impact on businesses.

CAC’s highest primary tax rate was $2.17 during the 2002-03 budget year. Its lowest was $1.38 in 2009-10.

Since 2006, CAC has seen a reduction of 80 percent in state funding and has received no capital funding since 2008. Capital funds are used for new construction and renovation of facilities.

“CAC already faces at least $43 million in deferred maintenance for its aging facilities. The College faces increased operating expenses each year,” Marketing Director Angela Askey said.

***ADVERTISEMENT***The college is evaluating the impact of the decision on its budget.

The board had a public hearing on the budget on May 19 that drew comments from 16 people. The special hearing Wednesday again drew public feedback before the vote, with nearly the same number of people opposed.

Citizens for Fair Taxation
was formed after the May 19 meeting with the primary mission of recalling four of the five board members, Gibson, Gladys Christensen, Rita Nader and Jack Yarrington because of their vote on the tax rate.