Macomb Community College Places Facilities and Technology Bond on Ballot
Macomb Community Colllege will be asking voters to approve a proposed $56 million bond proposal in the Nov. 6 election.
Macomb Community College will ask voters in November to consider a $56 million bond proposal to update facilities, infrastructure and technology updates to facilities.
With some facilities nearing 50-years-old, college officials decided to go to the voters to consider a 10-year millage to pay for the bond which will fund improvements at the College's two campuses.
"(The bond proposal) will provide the funding to key capital projects that are necessary to preserve our ability to provide students with the 21st century skills that are going to be necessary for their livelihood and necessary for the continued growth of the community," said Dr. Jim Jacobs, president, Macomb Community College.
To make the improvements to the college without the bond, Jacobs said that Macomb would have to cut programs or substantially raise tuition rates, which would affect the mission of the college.
"This is really a proposition of continuing our present commitment," Jacobs said.
The proposed bond would levy a 10-year-millage to pay off the bonds. The millage would be .15 mill annually, or about $9 a year for a home worth $120,000.
The college is asking for the $56 million bond proposal for projects, including updating learning environments with integrated technology, increased physical accessibility to facilities and reducing operational costs through improved efficiencies.
While the college has seen growth over the past 10 years, with an increased enrollment of more than 20 percent, it has also lost almost $12 million in property tax funding along with a cut in state funding.
"In the past, we were able to make cutbacks over the last period of time. At this point, we feel we could not," Jacobs said.
Improvements will be made to the college's facilities, including the south campus, which has some of Macomb Community College's oldest buildings.
"Some of these buildings were built in 1964 and 1965. The renovations we are proposing, if we get the bond, would be the first time that these buildings have been opened up," said Jacobs.
He doesn't anticipate voter hangover from previous millages approved by voters including those for the DIA and veterans. Jacobs said voters in Macomb County want specifics when it comes where the money will be spent, justify the expenses, have a track record and have modest proposals, residents will be supportive of ballot questions.
"This $56 million ask, is an ask for a specific period of time, for a specific set of projects which would then be completed," Jacobs said. "The college has always enjoyed strong support from the voters. We think we'll get a positive reception."
During a meeting Wednesday to discuss the bond and college's impact on the county, Jacobs said that graduates of Macomb have increased earnings of approximately $17.1 million.
He added that college also has up to a $108 million impact on Macomb County.
Jacobs stated that the bond will help the college prepare students for growth areas including advanced manufacturing and automotive, health care and professional and technical services.
The proposal comes 50 years after Macomb County voters approved the creation of a college district.
During that time the college has grown to educate 50,000 students annually in traditional classes and granting associate degrees, but also by providing dual enrollment programs for high school students, retraining displaced auto workers during the recession and creating programs where students can seamlessly transition into a four-year institution.
The last time Macomb went to the voters was in 1998 for technology upgrades.