HFCC taking millage request to community

Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — As the Nov. 5 general election approaches, the administration at Henry Ford Community College is gearing up to bring the community more information about the millage renewal and increase they are placing on the ballot.

At the Sept. 16 HFCC Board of Trustees meeting, HFCC Executive Director of Research Becky Chadwick told the board that the college will soon be sending out a mailing containing more information about the millage to all registered voters in the approximately 34,000 households in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights that are part of the district.

She said the college will begin by sending the mailing to registered absentee voters before sending it to non-absentee voters just before the November election.

Chadwick also stated that the college has placed more information on their website about the proposed millage for visitors to look through.

The ballot proposal calls for 4 mills, with 1 mill of that being new taxes. The other 3 mills will be two renewals that are set to expire in December 2014.

One part is a 2.5 mill levy that is renewable every 10 years and the other is a .5 mill levy that is renewable every five years. The two levies generate $10 million annually for the college.

Chadwick said the response she has received from the community regarding the millage has been positive.

“Everything is progressing well,” Chadwick said. “I think that residents understand that the millage is an investment into the community and children.”

Chadwick said she and other college administrators are planning more meetings with neighborhood associations and other community organizations before November.

The next public event that will feature discussions of the proposed millage will be at a League of Women Voters forum that will take place at 6:15 p.m. Monday in the city council chambers inside Dearborn City Hall, 13615 Michigan Ave.

Chadwick also said that the relationship between the college and the community is circular in that the college pours $75 million back into the community through students buying gas, food and other items, including rent.

HFCC President Stan Jensen said that the college has a large impact on the community both in the present and in the future, as 95 percent of its graduates stay in Michigan to live and work.

“Nobody likes taxes,” Jensen said. “But I do like clean water, safe streets and education. Those are investments we need to make as a community.”

Also approved at the meeting was the tuition increase that the administration introduced to the board at their last meeting on Aug. 19.

The increase will change the per credit hour cost from $82 to 87 for residents, $142 to 149.25 for non-residents and from $147 to 154.25 for out-of-state and international students. The changes will take effect beginning in the Winter 2014 semester.

HFCC Vice President of Financial Services John Satkowski said the tuition increases could generate $900,000 in revenue for the college while keeping them toward the bottom of the 28 community colleges in the state in per credit hour cost.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)