Property tax hike up to MCC's board

Decision coming June 11

KINGMAN - It's that time of year again. The Mohave Community College governing board will hold its annual meeting Friday, June 11, to discuss whether or not to raise its share of the countywide property tax by up to 2 percent.

Arizona Revised Statues allow for community colleges to increase property tax levies each year by 2 percent over the prior year's amount. For Fiscal Year 2010-2011, that 2 percent represents a total increase of $358,793 in the college's property tax revenue.

However, the increase is not an overall increase in the property tax, just the portion that goes to the college. According to MCC spokeswoman Charlotte Keller, that distinction tends to be lost on some members of the public who believe the college votes to raise their entire property tax bill by 2 percent.

"Basically, when you get your property tax bill, a portion of it goes to the college, a portion goes to K-12 education, and so on," Keller said. "What this does, it's going to increase that portion which goes to the college by 2 percent, not the overall bill."

That means for a home valued at $100,000, the full 2 percent increase would cost $1.55 for the entire year; on a $200,000 home, the cost would be $3.10 for the year.

"It's not a huge gouge," Keller said. "But tax issues are so sensitive right now, I wish there were a way to put it more concisely."

She added that the board may choose not to raise the tax, but noted that in the seven years she's worked at MCC, the board has never opted to do so. And with swelling enrollment requiring more space for students than ever before, Keller said it's unlikely the board would deny the tax increase this time, either.

"We've got an increasing population at the college; student enrollment has increased by 10 to 15 percent per semester over the past two years," she said. "We're dealing with a shortage of space, so we need the money for renovations. Some of our buildings are more than 30 years old and they were temporary buildings - we purchased mobiles in the 1970s and some of these are still there. They've well exceeded their lifespan, and we continue to do maintenance on them."

All the same, any citizens interested in speaking out on the tax increase are invited to attend a public hearing at 10 a.m. Thursday, June 10, at the Lake Havasu City campus, 1977 W. Acoma Blvd., room 502. The hearing will also be broadcast via Interactive Television at the Kingman campus, 1971 Jagerson Ave., room 502, as well as the Bullhead City and Colorado City campuses.

For more information, call (928) 757-0852 or visit www.mohave.edu.