The East Central College Board of Trustees Monday night approved a general operating budget of $18,893,429 for fiscal year 2014.
The board voted 6-0 to approve the budget, which will go into effect at the beginning of the fiscal year July 1.
“I feel comfortable with the budget that is being presented here tonight,” ECC President Jon Bauer said. “On the revenue estimates and on the expense side I think it’s fairly conservative. I don’t feel like we’re out on a limb, but by the same token I feel like we are able to address some needs.”
The budget is up some from last year’s budget of $18,014,000, which Vice President Phil Pena said is partly due to an increase in utilities and healthcare costs.
“Utilities went up quite a bit — 9.2 percent,” he said. “We are hoping this year (any increase) will be less — in the 7 or 8 percent range.”
Pena said he also expects at least a 4 percent increase in health care costs.
“With the federal health care plan coming into place there is a lot of uncertainty,” he said.
Tuition and fees represent the largest part of the budget, accounting for about 39 percent of the school’s operating budget.
The board approved a 5.6 percent tuition increase in March, and raised fees for the first time since 2002.
“Even with the increase, our tuition and fees are still among the lowest in the state,” Bauer said.
Tax Revenue, State Aid
Pena said he has estimated the state will give about 4 percent this year, but the college has a contingency plan in place in case that number should drop.
State aid accounts for about 26 percent of East Central’s revenues.
Local revenues, which account for about 36 percent of the budget, should stay about the same as last year, Pena said.
“There are no big projects coming into the area,” he said.
The tuition raise will allow this year’s budget to include a 2 percent raise across the board for all faculty and staff.
“One of the needs is salaries,” Bauer said. “We froze payroll this current year and I’d like to do something for employees to get back on track and at least meet inflation.”
Bauer said the proposed raise will be a “bit better than inflation,” but also is realistic.
“Salary is one thing you can’t change once the budget is in place,” he said. “There are other things in the budget you can plan for then change, but with payroll expenses you really need to know where you are at going into it.”