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NWC budget finalized

Northwest College is facing an overall budget reduction of nearly $810,000 over last year's adjusted budget — but that's a little better than some had feared it would be.

The budget reflects a 28.4 percent decrease in local property tax income — a relief to many, since early estimates indicated the cut could be as much as 35 percent.

Estimated Park County tax revenue now stands at just over $3.7 million.

That is $1.46 million less than last year, when the college received a total of nearly $5.17 million from Park County property taxes.

The updated figure includes $2.96 million from the mandatory 4 mills required to support the college, with another $741,246 coming from an optional 1-mill assessment.

Total estimated revenue for fiscal year 2010-11, which began July 1, stands at just over $30.73 million, compared to a total revenue of $31.24 million for last year's adjusted budget.

No reductions in force are needed to meet this year's budget, according to NWC President Paul Prestwich.

This year's estimated revenue includes $4.53 million in tuition and fees, $12.87 million in state appropriations, $4.05 million in local appropriations, $3,000 from sales and service of education activities, $2.81 million in federal grants and contracts, $661,000 in state grants and contracts, $418,173 in private gifts, grants and contracts, $13,800 in endowment income and $4.73 million from auxiliary enterprises, such as housing and meals.

Added to those totals is $45,100 in in carryover, $348,634 in transfers, $16,482 in miscellaneous funding and $70,359 above last year's estimates for tuition income.

Budgeted expenses for the year just starting total nearly $30.17 million. Of that, $8.92 million is for instruction; $53,251 goes toward adult basic education, GED classes and English as a second language instruction; $297,578 is budgeted for continuing education and $117,354 for public and community service. Another $2.19 million pays for academic support, $2.38 million for student services and $4.94 million for institutional support.

Operation and maintenance expenses are budgeted at $2.26 million, and scholarships and fellowships at $4.1 million.

Auxiliary expenses, such as housing and food service, are budgeted at $4.2 million, and transfers are estimated at $325,000.

Grouped another way, a total of $12.36 million is budgeted for salaries, $4.73 million for benefits, $11.67 million for operating expenses and $674,380 for capital outlay. Another $735,382 is budgeted for transfers.

Sheldon Flom, NWC finance director, said the remaining $585,789 remains unbudgeted for use in paying unanticipated expenses.

“I know we're going to spend it, I just don't know where,” he said.

Flom said he doesn't know yet how Northwest College will fare this year in the recapture and redistribution process, in which property tax from rich college districts is redistributed to those with less property tax income.

Last year, with Park County's record valuation, Northwest College had to pay more than $1 million back to the Wyoming Community College Commission, which distributed the money to other colleges.

Flom said a budgeting priority for the college in the future will be saving money for a major maintenance fund to pay for maintenance on non-instruction buildings, such as the student center and the residence halls.

The state now will provide no money to maintain those buildings, Flom said.

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