CARTERVILLE — There’s a little good news for residents of John A. Logan College district. JALC Board of Trustees adopted a 2017 tax levy (to be collected in 2018) that is just slightly lower than the previous year. Unfortunately, the lower levy will not decrease tax bills much.

The tax levy for 2016, which was collected in 2017, was $0.61545 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. The 2017 tax levy is $0.61506 per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.

Brad McCormick, vice president of business services and college facilities, said the tax levy has remained basically flat since 2008, with only the past two years being more than the previous year.

He also reviewed the EAV in the district since 2008, noting that the total EAV in the college district has fallen, resulting in a loss of operating funds of $315,000 per year for the college.

“Do the math. That’s $2.1 million of local tax dollars that we don’t have today,” McCormick said.

Trustee Ray Hancock asked if that was in part due to TIF districts. McCormick said only six percent of property in the JALC district is currently in a TIF, adding that he has a joint board of review meeting to later in the week to discuss extending a TIF in Marion.

“Getting a TIF is one thing, but they extend them forever,” Hancock said.

Trustee Glenn Poshard said the issues with Cambria could set a dangerous precedent if other villages in the college district adopt similar TIFs.

JALC district currently includes 26 TIFs.

Trustee Jake Rendleman made a motion to accept the levy. It was seconded by Cheryl Graff. The levy passed unanimously.

The board also extended the contract of college President Ron House through August 2019, with the option to extend it one additional year upon. A few changes were made to the contract. House will be paid a salary of $173,587 and receive five additional sick days and five additional days of vacation for a total of 15 sick and 15 vacation days.

Trustees Mandy Little and Jake Rendleman attended a roundtable discussion on retaining students held by Illinois Community College Trustees Association meeting.

Little said several ideas were discussed to help retain students. She felt several of them could be implemented at JALC, including hosting a joint meeting with high school boards in the district, adding a library studies program, adding a drone technician program and making overnight clinical rotations available.

ICCTA also discussed the political climate in Springfield. Little reported that 32 elected officials were leaving office or running for different positions. Also, all Republican legislators who voted for the budget in opposition of the governor will face primary challenges.

The group also looked at the odds of a budget not passing for 2018 until as late as early 2019, BSN programs at community colleges and using personal email addresses for public business.

Rendleman added that Comptroller Susan Mendoza promised the trustees that community colleges, universities and social service agencies are the number one priority is the next budget.

In other business, the college:

Approved Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market’s institutional assessment billing.

Approved an Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program grant to connect east and west bicycle trails through the college campus.

Approved revisions to board policies.

And, filled several staff positions, including operational staff, non-teaching professional staff and continuing education instructors.

The next meeting of JALC board of trustees will be Jan. 23.

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Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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