MALONE — Some Franklin County legislators balked Thursday at increased funding for North Country Community College since they don’t know what the 2015 county budget will bring.
Legislator Barbara Rice (D-Saranac Lake) said the fiscal cycle for the college and a decision from the County Legislature on NCCC’s request for a 4-percent increase comes at a bad time.
“North Country is near and dear to my heart, but we haven’t had any discussions on our budget and where it’s heading this year,” she said.
Rice said the time frame is important, considering the county has been labeled fiscally stressed.
College President Dr. Steven Tyrell noted it has been five years since NCCC has asked its sponsoring counties for an increase.
Franklin and Essex counties are each being asked to give $1,190,000 for operating expenses and $50,000 for its capital-improvement fund, which is an overall budget increase of $50,000 from the current spending plan.
The overall budget, $14,304,000, is down about 1.4 percent and includes a $200 tuition increase to $4,250 a year.
Legislators had no public comments during the hearing they held Thursday in Malone and are not expected to vote until their July 17 meeting.
The Essex County Board of Supervisors is likely to vote on the NCCC budget on Monday, July 7.
MARKETING FOR STUDENTS
A big expense in the plan is a $125,000 increase in marketing outreach, which was questioned by Legislator Paul Maroun (R-Tupper Lake).
Tyrell said that in order to target and attract more non-traditional students, such as older people in the community or potential students from Vermont, Canada and other upstate counties, the college must spend money to reach them.
Social media works to reach recent high-school graduates, but marketing to older people must be done in different ways.
He said the money would be a yearly request to keep the recruiting momentum going and that the investment will eventually pay off in tax revenue because better-educated people will make better salaries than those who are not.
Tyrell said he understands the county’s tight budget, which is why the college waited five years to ask for more.
“Our budget is tight,” said Legislator Donald Dabiew (D-Bombay). “It’s a bad time. You really help the county, but we don’t have the jobs as it is, and that’s where the money comes from.”
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