Taxes for Pima Community College will rise 2%; most tuition going up 4.4%

2013-06-13T00:00:00Z Taxes for Pima Community College will rise 2%; most tuition going up 4.4%Carol Ann Alaimo Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
June 13, 2013 12:00 am  • 

Pima County taxpayers will soon pay a little more to Pima Community College.

The school's Board of Governors voted 4-1 Wednesday to approve a 2 percent increase to PCC's primary property tax rate.

The change will add $3.7 million to the college's coffers next school year, bringing its total income from property taxes to $96.3 million.

A taxpayer with a home valued at $100,000 will pay $127.46 a year to PCC, a bit more than the current $125.

The school's new budget also incorporates a 4.4 percent increase in most tuition rates. The changes take effect in the 2013-14 budget year, which starts July 1.

Property taxes are the largest source of funding for PCC, with tuition the second-largest.

Even with the tax and tuition increases, PCC plans to spend about $15 million less next year than this year - $284 million instead of $299 million.

Most of the drop in spending is directly linked to an 11 percent drop in PCC enrollment this year. About $10 million of the decrease, for example, is due to reductions in federal aid now that the school has fewer students.

Some PCC board members mistakenly assumed the new budget is lower because college executives had taken vigorous steps to cut costs.

"I think you worked very hard to have us lower our budget by $15 million," board Chairwoman Brenda Even told PCC finance boss David Bea.

Bea didn't correct her publicly but acknowledged in an interview after the vote that most of the spending reductions were not the result of his efforts.

PCC also expects to collect about $1 million less in out-of-state tuition fees next year after the board recently voted to stop charging the higher fees to some illegal immigrant students. Bea couldn't immediately say how much of the change was attributable to the board decision.

PCC says it needs more tax and tuition money to help cover higher costs for items such as health benefits and retirement contributions and employee pay raises.

Most of PCC's workforce will get raises of 1 to 3 percent.

Board member Scott Stewart was the lone vote against raising taxes. He said it was because he's unhappy with recent board decisions to restore open enrollment at PCC and to extend tuition breaks to some immigrants.

Contact reporter Carol Ann Alaimo at calaimo@azstarnet.com or at 573-4138.

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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