First, let us thank you – the Washtenaw County taxpayers – for your generous support of WCC in the March 10 election. Your overwhelming approval of our second millage request will generate more than $60M in property tax revenues in 2020 alone. As property values continue to rise, your generous support will grow, at least through 2030. That will give us lots of opportunities to
misspend spend use your education dollars for some really cool stuff. (Like a hotel.)
We’ll do a lot of exciting things with your $60M this year. During the pandemic, we’ve had to make do with just 10 Vice Presidents. As the economy improves, however, we hope to add a few more executive positions to the payroll. (With Board approval, of course.)
We can’t stress enough how grateful we are for continued investment in Washtenaw Community College by the Washtenaw County taxpayers. It’s hard to believe, but over the past 55 years, you’ve built quite a campus here. In fact, according to our latest Capital Outlay Plan (approved just today by the Board of Trustees), our campus buildings (1.2M sq feet of space) have a replacement value of over $350M!
Education must be really important to Washtenaw County taxpayers, because that’s a lot of money to sink into buildings. It’s a shame that we’re not able to use them to their fullest potential during the pandemic.
Speaking of the pandemic, enrollment is down, so we’ve had to make a few budget cuts. While your $60M annual tax appropriation is incredibly generous, we’re only able to allocate $300,000 (0.005%) of that to campus maintenance this year.
About the maintenance budget
Ann Arbor’s a rich community, so fortunately (for us) many of you live in houses that are worth more than that! (That $60M comes from somewhere!) Seriously though, we figured that since the students aren’t in the buildings (much), we could cut the maintenance budget by 60% from last year. The good news is that we had to cut the Executive Management budget for FY2021 by only 5.25%. (That’s more than a Dean, but thankfully, less than a Vice President.)
In other good news, we were able to issue a contract to have the brick facing on the Morris Lawrence Building repaired. Since they are no longer falling off the building along the East Entrance, we’ll be taking the netting down. We also fixed the heaving cement there, so you can now look straight ahead when you enter the building! Seriously! Try it!
Actually the campus is still closed, so don’t come just for that, but the next time you can come to campus… well, you know what we mean.
Anyway, just wanted to give you a little update on how well we’re taking care of your $350M investment.
Thanks again for your generous support! (The Board of Trustees say “Hi!”)
The Washtenaw Community College Administration
One quarter of one percent
We now have a community college Administration that has allocated one-half of one percent of the $60M local tax appropriation to keep 1.2M square feet of building space in good repair. That’s $0.25 per square foot – about 11% of the industry standard, and it’s one quarter of one percent of the entire WCC budget. That is so far below what is needed to minimally maintain a commercial space, it’s laughable. To put this in perspective, the average household income in Washtenaw County is $71,680. An annual household maintenance budget of one-quarter of one percent of that would be $180.
Practically speaking, the WCC Administration has abandoned the buildings on campus.
Think about that.
Those buildings are worth $350 million dollars, and the best this Administration can spend on their care is a quarter per square foot? Worse, they’ve done this with the approval of the Board of Trustees.
The Trustees voted to cut the already ridiculously low Maintenance budget by 60% this year, while preserving the Executive Management budget almost entirely.
Washtenaw County taxpayers need better Trustees.
Photo Credit: Matthias , via Flickr