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The CMC Board of Trustees. Courtesy photo

CMC trustees state intention to reduce mill levy to offset impacts of increased property assessments, approve new college strategic plan 
It appears that the Colorado Mountain College Board of Trustees intends to temporarily reduce the CMC mill levy to do its part to reduce the impacts on the district’s property owners. Given the shock many homeowners may be in for in the coming months as the state struggles with the rise in home prices, a ballot question intended to solve some, but not all the shock, and a subsequent lawsuit blocking the bill, this is at least a little welcome news.

The Trustees met on May 19 at Morgridge Commons in Glenwood Springs for its regularly scheduled meeting, and previewed the upcoming year’s balanced budget for the college. Their discussion included the impact of increased property assessments across CMC’s district. The trustees took what some may consider to be a bold step (others, a logical one), stating their intention to temporarily reduce CMC’s mill levy to keep revenue growth near inflation (5.7 percent) to shield local property owners from the impact of extreme spikes in valuation.

They also approved a new strategic plan for CMC.

Vice President of Fiscal Affairs Mary Boyd, gave trustees a preview of the college’s budget for the 2023-24 fiscal year. She noted that overall revenues are expected to increase by a minimum of $4.9 million due to property tax revenue, tuition and strong state appropriations. She presented a balanced budget for 2023-24 with expenses increasing less than inflation. The budget includes a five percent cost of living adjustment for all full and part-time faculty and staff. The board will officially approve the proposed budget in June.

Considering CMC’s stable financial position and the dramatic increases in property valuations across the district, trustees voiced their intent to lower the college’s mill levy in December 2023 so that overall increases in revenue from property taxes do not exceed inflation.

“We recognize that many property owners are significantly impacted by increased property valuations due to extreme inflationary spikes over the past several years,” said CMC Board of Trustees President Peg Portscheller. “Fortunately, CMC is in a very healthy position financially and operationally and has the flexibility to adjust its mill levy downward temporarily to soften the blow while ensuring that the college’s budget is sustainable.”

Trustees also reviewed and approved the college’s new Mountain Futures: 2023-2030 strategic plan. The plan has been in development for more than a year and involved conversations and input from nearly 1,000 community members, students, faculty and staff. The new plan will be posted online in June.

The board also conducted its regular annual review of CMC President and CEO Carrie Besnette Hauser, unanimously approving a performance bonus and setting her goals for 2023-24, which serves as the college’s work plan for the upcoming year.

Additionally, trustees approved two real estate contracts for transitional employee housing in the Roaring Fork Valley.
Items in the consent agenda included trustees accepting the college’s third quarter 2022-23 financials, a contract for the purchase of appliances for the multi-site affordable student housing project, and a trustee election resolution.