TEXAS CITY

If at first you don’t succeed, try a second time.

Voters Saturday appeared set to pass Proposition A, a measure bearing striking resemblance to one that first appeared in 2020, with 2,060 votes for and 1,833 against, according to complete but unofficial returns.

Through Proposition A, taxpayers in the College of the Mainland’s district OK'd refinancing a loan to save more than $4 million over the lifetime of the debt, said Diane Burkett, executive director of marketing and public affairs for the college.

The college plans to refinance the remaining debt on some maintenance tax notes issued in 2017 to make repairs to the campus. Those repairs included replacing underground water pipes and replacing the roof of the school’s fine arts building.

College leaders could find interest rates as low as 1 percent if they refinance, Burkett said. Taxpayers currently are paying about 4.2 percent interest.

A debt of about $14 million from the loan of $20 million remains against the college’s maintenance and operations budget. With voter approval, the college will be able to move that to the debt service part of its tax rate.

Refinancing at a rate of 1 percent will save taxpayers a little more than $4.3 million, officials said.

Proposition A is different from one voters shot down in November in that college leaders no longer plan to spend the $250,000 they would save each year through refinancing on academic operations, Burkett said. Instead, they plan to return the money to taxpayers through a cut in the maintenance and operations tax rate.

“Based on projected numbers, if the refinancing measure is approved, the new tax rate would be an estimated $0.287747 per $100 valuation versus $0.290364 per $100 valuation if the measure does not pass,” according to the college.

The college’s jurisdiction encompasses the Dickinson, Hitchcock, Santa Fe and Texas City school districts.

Matt deGrood: 409-683-5230; matt.degrood@galvnews.com

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(13) comments

Jose' Boix

COM's Prop. A: Looks like the second time was the charm! Great work, and one that we all should benefit from! Our community and our students are the winners of your work - Dr. Nichols, Staff and Board - as a team returning the lost trust and confidence in our gem of an academic institution! And Thanks to the voters!

Gary Scoggin

👍

Keith Gray

Proposition A

The issuance of $13,950,000 bonds for the purpose of refunding College of the Mainland maintenance tax notes, Series 2017 and levying and imposition of taxes sufficient to pay the principal of and interest on the bonds and the costs of any credit agreements. This is a property tax increase. Required state for all school district bond propositions pursuant to Section 45.033, Texas Education Code

For: 2,060, 52.92%

Against: 1,833, 47.08

I still can't find in any of the GDN articles/opinions where this was told to be a tax increase. In fact they said they were giving some back by lowering a very small amount... in fact with the CAD hammering everyone, it will actually be a large increase (Christmas in May) for COM. So why didn't the WHOLE truth come out. Trust... well this is how it is destroyed.

Gary Scoggin

The whole truth DID come out and was explained in any number of places. It had to be labeled as a tax increase because, under the rules, the Attorney General said so. In actuality, it results in less expenditures by COM due to savings in interest costs. The savings will be applied towards revenues, I.e., tax collections.

The CAD has nothing to do with setting tax rates and COM has nothing to do with setting valuations.

Keith Gray

The whole truth DID come out and was explained in any number of places. It had to be labeled as a tax increase because, under the rules, the Attorney General said so.

And that wasn't shared... hence the whole truth. I bet you $1000 that my tax bill from the COM will be higher on my next tax bill than last. Put as much lipstick on this pig, I'm paying more taxes to COM...

Gary Scoggin

Keith... if you didn’t know that I suppose it’s on you. A lot of people certainly did.

I’d be willing to take your bet if not for the fact that Mr Ponce has set the precedent around here for not paying off on bets he loses.

Carlos Ponce

Gary Scoggin [thumbdown]

Keith Gray

Actually Gary, to build trust... it's on you. You write like such a shady politician... here is an example. "The whole truth DID come out and was explained in any number of places. It had to be labeled as a tax increase because, under the rules, the Attorney General said so." You don't have the decency to give a few areas where it did come out? You are on the COM Foundation Board of Directors, and to say "because the AG said so." I read your business profile... in what world would you ever say, "because they said so. Want to build trust? Provide the whole truth, go out and meet the people who you want their money so bad. BTW, what kind of revenues are coming out of the League City campus, where you don't have tax payers? And don't ever refer to me as pompous again.

Keith Gray

Gary the pompous was NOT you. It was some poster named Ted... my apologies. But as far as the bet, you KNOW I will be paying more.

Gary Scoggin

I don't know if you'll be paying more or not. I don't know how the valuation inceases will balance against maintaining the effective tax rate versus the effect of this bond change. I don't know it yet for my house much less yours. It is my understanding that rescheduling this portion of the debt will accrue ofverall savings which will allow the overall tax rate to be lowered.

I am on the COM Foundation Board of Directors which is much different than being on the COM Board of Trustees. The Foundation is in the business of raising money for scholarships and augmenting the mission of the College. It is a separate legal entity from the College although it is closely aligned and supported by COM. But we have nothing to do with things like tax rates, the college budget or just about anything operationally related. Our job is to try to get grants and private donations to benefit the college, principally the students. I'm proud of serving on this board as we make a big impact. Like the Open Doors Promise Program which enables graduating seniors in the COM taxing district to attend COM at no cost.

The bottom line here: I had nothing to do with the recent bond election except support it and vote for it. And I'm damn happy it passed.

As far as giving you a few example where it was explained.... I must have really upset you if you consider it a matter of "decency." Apoogies for that. But my lack of an explanation was a matter of time, not decency. I would have liked to gone back and pulled the sources from which I knew this. But I've got other things which are more pressing. Like earning a living, which, if you looked at my business profile, you should know keeps me plenty busy.

Gary Scoggin

By the way, it's my understanding that out of taxing district students, like many at the League City campus, pay higher tuition. As a result, the League City campus actually makes money.

Gary Scoggin

Also, my "attorney general said so" comment was based on the way state laws say how measures such as this must be worded on a ballot." It wasn't meant to be flippant. I should have said, "because the law dictates that this lanaguage must appear."

Keith Gray

Gary I suspect we will never agree on this subject, but I hope one day; I can own my own home (another form of taxing instead of property taxes), all this free stuff is paid by you and I, and that citizens will rise up and demand school districts and tax funded colleges be trimmed of all the dripping fat it contains. Take care

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