Co-Lin meets budget goals

Published 6:00 am Friday, April 4, 2003

WESSON — Revenue and spending plan revisions will allowCopiah-Lincoln Community College to maintain a balanced budget forthe new fiscal year and provide salary increases for faculty andstaff, the school’s board of trustees was told Thursday.

Following its February meeting, the board’s budget committee wasasked to look at plans for the new fiscal year that starts July 1.Dr. Steve Wells, chairman of the Budget and Finance Committee, saidthe goal was to have a balanced budget and provide compensationincreases for staff.

“We were able to meet both those criteria,” Wells said.

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Wells said earlier budget projections were based on “flat”student enrollment estimates, meaning the school did not anticipatemore students.

However, citing past trends, Wells said budget writers believeda “conservative” 3 percent enrollment increase was likely.According to a budget review, that is expected to bring in around$120,000 more in student fees next year.

The overall budget modifications, resulting in over $350,000 inadded revenue, would allow for two-step increases in salaries forfaculty and staff. That will mean about a $1,000 increase acrossthe board for teaching faculty, and similar 2.23 percentage raisesfor other staff members, said Dr. Howell Garner, Co-Linpresident.

Garner also stressed the importance of having a balancedbudget.

“That has to be our priority,” Garner said. “We are legallybound to do that.”

Roy Winkworth, a member of the budget committee, said it did notlook like the college would be able to do what it wanted to dogiven the February totals. He was pleased with the revisions thatwere made, particularly the salary increases.

“Within the framework we have, that should be something we’recomfortable with,” Winkworth said.

Garner also spoke about several budget aspects, including aninsurance premium increase that was only 7.28 percent. Insurancecosts are forecast to go from $235,137 this year to $252,250 nextyear.

“We’re fortunate to have held that in good shape,” said Garner,while expressing a concern about a $17,925 increase in workman’scompensation costs.

According to a budget sheet, Co-Lin’s budget next year is slatedto be $15.73 million. That is up from the current year’s $15.38million.

In other business Thursday, trustees accepted a $28,000 rebatefrom the building contractor to add another layer of asphalt at thenew Lincoln Hall and Lawrence Hall men’s dormitory parking lot. Adensity test showed the pavement did not quite meet requirementsbut could be corrected with another layer of asphalt.

The overlay will be done as part of several upcoming streetpaving projects at the school.

Also Thursday, Garner updated trustees on a $12 million bondbill approved this year by the state legislature. Co-Lin is slatedto receive about $700,000 of that total.

Garner said this year’s bond bill is the final year of afour-year plan. With the new revenue, the school has about $2million to the used for capital improvements, specifically the newInstructional Technology Building.

“That was the last step for that project to be paid for,” Garnersaid the new bond bill.

Along with about $1 million for capital improvement money fromsupporting counties, Co-Lin officials plan to pursue the newbuilding project this year.