The Colorado Mountain College (CMC) Board of Trustees met Dec. 12-13 in Glenwood Springs. Among the topics of discussion was a request from the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board to conduct a study regarding the feasibility of Moffat County’s annexation into the CMC district. After completion of this feasibility study, CMC will decide whether to put the annexation to vote.
Only the communities of Salida and Poncha Springs have successfully joined the Colorado Mountain College district in recent years. In order for Moffat County to be approved for annexation, the majority of electors in both the CMC district and the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District will have to vote in favor, a process which may take several years.
Matt Gianneschi, CMC’s chief operating officer and chief of staff, sat down with The Sopris Sun to discuss the possibility.
“CMC’s mission at the end of the day is to provide education and training to our local communities to provide graduates in the workforce here … We’ve trained firefighters, police officers, teachers and nurses. The way we view the college’s role in our communities is: we’re a part of making the communities work. We can create and train the people that make our communities safe and healthy and provide the services that are hard to provide in rural communities in many cases. We take that mission very seriously,” he stated.
Gianneschi continued by saying that CMC is always looking for ways to continue to benefit those who live and work in the area. This is accomplished by asking questions related to how decisions are made around CMC’s budget and assets, including how possibly annexing a new community into the district would be of benefit.
According to Gianneschi, at this point, it is uncertain how the potential addition of Moffat County in the district will affect its taxpayers.
“[The taxes] could go up or go down or stay the same,” he explained. “I would say they don’t impact the taxpayer, but it does potentially impact the college itself. Because as we see populations change, such as a lot of growth in a particular area, we may need to invest in resources to support the students in that particular community. The taxpayers aren’t going to feel things differently right away, but they may depending on which communities are in the region,” he said.
He continued explaining that, from an operations perspective, the effects on taxpayers are not something the district can predict. He cited the feasibility study of Salida when it entered the district, including information regarding projected forecasts of population changes.
The trustees also voted to adjust the college’s mill levy by roughly 1.8% to maintain tax revenue that would have been lost due to changes in statewide property tax assessment rates enacted by recent legislation relating to Senate Bill 21-293, which will take effect later this year. The bill reduces statewide property tax assessment for residential, renewable energy, agricultural properties and neutralization. The vote was placed to make up the difference while maintaining stable revenue for CMC.
Announced in January, the Board of Trustees also voted unanimously to raise in-district tuition $5 per credit hour from $95 to $100. In-state rates will increase $5 per credit hour, from $195 to $200 while the non-resident rates will increase $30 per credit hour from $480 to $510. “These rates will go in effect beginning with the fall 2023 semester,” explained a press release. Food service rates at residence halls in Leadville, Spring Valley and Steamboat Springs will also increase by $200 per semester due to increased food costs.
More updates regarding the potential annexation of Moffat County into the CMC district will be available at a later date as the feasibility study runs its course. Until then, all the agendas and minutes of Board of Trustees meetings are available and open to the public on the CMC website. For any updates or more information regarding this process, visit www.coloradomtn.edu