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NWC Board approves budget

This year’s revenues look good; could change next year

Revenues for Northwest College’s operating fund for the 2012-13 fiscal year look pretty good — in fact, income in that fund is expected to increase by nearly $450,000 more than the year just ended.

It’s next year’s budget that college leaders worry about.

This year’s rise in revenues for that fund is due to a $176,481 increase in state appropriations and to an additional $342,461 the college will receive from 4 mills of Park County property tax and motor vehicle fees.

State appropriations this year total just less than $14.5 million; last year, they added up to $14.3 million.

The college’s 4 mills of property tax are expected to provide an estimated $3.61 million this year, up from $3.29 million for 2011-12. Motor vehicle fees are budgeted at $350,000, compared to $330,000 last year.

But, unless things change substantially between now and then, neither state nor local revenues will look as rosy next year.

Gov. Matt Mead has asked all Wyoming state agencies, including community colleges, to prepare for budget cuts between 4 percent and 8 percent likely to be imposed next year.

And, while Park County’s valuation is expected to remain strong because of higher oil prices earlier this year, it’s likely that other counties that also serve as college district seats won’t fare as well due to falling natural gas prices. On the surface, that would seem to be good news for Northwest College. But, under the college funding formula adopted by the Legislature a few years ago, colleges with strong local revenues must share with districts receiving less revenue proportionately.

That could be required of Northwest College next year, said Sheldon Flom, NWC finance director.

Flom warned the Northwest College Board of Trustees earlier this month that, combined, those possible revenue reductions could add up to a total budget cut of about 10 percent.

He said this year’s budget is conservative, with an aim to save money against next a possible shortfall next year.

Additional sources of estimated revenue for the operating fund for the current budget year are $4.88 million in tuition and fees ($195,000 of which will come from a $4 per credit hour fee increase); $3,000 in sales and services through educational activities; $69,250 from other sources such as gate receipts, investment income and interest on student accounts; and $13,000 in transfers for a total anticipated revenue of $23.43 million.

On the spending side, approximately $11.67 million of the operating fund revenue will go toward salaries, $5.2 million to benefits, $5.62 million to operating expenses and $425,891 to capital expenses, for a total of $22.93 million.

The college’s optional 1 mill of property tax is budgeted separately, providing an estimated $882,770 in additional revenue, plus $85,000 in motor vehicle fees and $15,000 in interest and other revenue for a total of $982,770.

Of that, $31,473 will be used for salaries, $3,046 for benefits, $570,000 in operating expenses, $171,600 for capital outlay and $135,500 for transfers for total spending of $911,722.

The college also has an auxiliary fund with revenues and expenses from residence halls, Trapper Village West, the cafeteria, the book store, the child care center, student health services, and so forth.

Revenue in that account is expected to decline this year by $85,711 to a total of $5.04 million. Of that, $1.04 million is earmarked for salaries, $528,195 for benefits, $2.62 million for operating expenses and $151,135 for capital outlay and $370,000 for mandatory transfers.

All told, the college’s operation budget predicts cash and revenue of $34.04 million — including $5.2 million in cash and $4.5 million in taxes — and $33.05 million in expenses.

Plant funds — funds associated with college facilities — are estimated at $5.2 million in cash plus $1.3 million in revenue, for a total of $5.53 million. Plant fund expenses are estimated at $1.39 million.

State support makes up 43.5 percent of the college’s total income, with local revenue contributing 14.6 percent. Institutional revenue — tuition and fees and auxiliary revenue — accounts for 28.3 percent, and other revenue makes up 13.6 percent.

The board approved the budget during a public hearing on July 2.

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