College opts to renew optional tax levy; could generate $1 million

Apr 14, 2014 By Katie Roenigk, Staff Writer

State law permits Wyoming's community colleges to collect the tax to pay for operations, and CWC has utilized it for 24 consecutive years.

The Central Wyoming College Board of Trustees is in the process of renewing its optional mill levy.

Wyoming statute allows each college to levy an optional mill to help pay for operations, CWC president Jo Anne McFarland explained in a memo to the board of trustees. Currently, she said, all seven community colleges in the state levy the optional mill, which must be renewed every two years.

The CWC board has utilized the optional mill for 24 years, McFarland said. It has brought in almost $1 million annually in the recent past, though McFarland said the mill has been subject to some "fairly drastic ups and downs" throughout history based on oil and gas prices and county tax collections, for example.

Regardless, she said the college has "come to depend upon" the optional mill levy revenue for regular college operations, one-time expenditures and local budget reserves.

"(It assists) in leveling revenue ups and downs, since optional mill revenue can be carried over from year to year," she wrote in her March memo. "Arguably, the optional one mill is the only source of funding that, by statute, is totally under the control of the local elected governing board."

She added that administrators are conservative about using the money for ongoing operating costs. Ron Granger, CWC's vice president of administrative services, described some of the expenses that come out of "fund 11," which houses the mill levy revenue.

"What we try to use (it) for is special events that come up, something unexpected we had no way to budget for, or it helps us with some of our capital campaigns," he said.

CWC's current optional mill will expire at the end of the current fiscal year --June 30 --unless it is renewed by the board.

Trustees voted unanimously to advertise their intent to levy the mill during fiscal year 2015-2016 to support operations at the college.

The advertisement will be published in April, and a public hearing and final board action will take place in May.

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