Jackson Community College officials discuss bond proposal
9:01
Brian Wheeler: 
Good morning. We are in our Jackson office with Jackson Community College President Dan Phelan and Cindy Allen, vice president for administration. We look forward to hearing your questions about their bond proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:01 Brian Wheeler
9:03
[Comment From Leanne SmithLeanne Smith: ] 
Welcome Dan and Cindy. Let's start this off with you explaining this proposal and what specifically this money will be used for.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:03 Leanne Smith
9:05
Brian Wheeler: 
Cindy and Dan are typing. Already, we have a couple of reader questions that we will be sure to get to shortly. We plan to be chatting until 10 a.m.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:05 Brian Wheeler
9:06
[Comment From Leanne SmithLeanne Smith: ] 
It would also be helpful to explain what this money cannot be used for.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:06 Leanne Smith
9:08
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Jackson Community College proposes an opportunity for the citizens of Jackson County to assist JCC in providing a 50% on State provided funds to rennovate Walker Hall on the College's Central Campus. As outlined on a mailer distributed to all households a few weeks ago, the project will update the facility which was built in 1971, to provide for improved heating and cooling systems, roofing systems, new elevators, Americans with Disabilty (ADA) compliance, updated classrooms for students with current technology, and expand spaces for students in our Foundation Studies Department.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:08 Dan Phelan
9:08
[Comment From Leanne SmithLeanne Smith: ] 
Why do you believe that the renovation of Walker Hall is important to the college?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:08 Leanne Smith
9:08
[Comment From Cindy AllenCindy Allen: ] 
The money cannot be used for operations, salaries any on-going operations of the college
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:08 Cindy Allen
9:10
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Walker Hall is the last of the College's instructional buildings that is in need of repair, upgrading, and addressing any defferred maintenance issues. Completing this facility completes the campus updating for all of our facilties.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:10 Dan Phelan
9:10
[Comment From HenryHenry: ] 
The headlines about "use it or lose it" are catchy but are they true?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:10 Henry
9:12
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
The DTMB in Lansing, in combination with the State Legislature has approved these funds for the College's use only for the Walker Hall rennovation. The College has three years to undertake the project or the funds are reverted back to the State for use by other organizations.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:12 Dan Phelan
9:13
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
DTMB is the Department of Technology, Management, and Budget and is located in Lansing, next to the Capital. This is the body responsible for the information gathering related to our project, presentation to the Legislature, and coordination of building designs on the project.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:13 Dan Phelan
9:14
[Comment From Leanne SmithLeanne Smith: ] 
How long have you been working to receive the state capital outlay money for this project?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:14 Leanne Smith
9:18
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
I began work on requesting these funds over three years ago. It is quite a lengthy undertaking. The project must be first defined clearly, then you must work with legislators and DTMB to get placed on the authorization bill for consideration, then you must present to the House and the Senate Committees for consideration. If approved by those two bodies, it then moves to the Joint Capital Outlay Committee (JOCS) for consideration. If it passes there, it must be considered by the full House and the Full Senate. If it is approved by both Chambers, it is sent to the Governor for consideration. After this, a budget project authorization bill must be advanced to approve the funding. Then, the real work of building design comes and must be approved by DTMB. This is a highly competitive process. Our local delegation has been extremely helpful to JCC in the process.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:18 Dan Phelan
9:19
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
I do not understand how this is not not an operating millage when items requested would have been covered under normal operating expenses or expansion? I would considert everything covered as normal expenses that is part of running a business.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:19 Guest
9:20
[Comment From Cindy AllenCindy Allen: ] 
Again, 50% of the money comes to the community from the State, bringing a huge economic push for this community. If JCC cannot secure funds to match the state portion, another community college, university or college is the State, would be happy to have their project funded.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:20 Cindy Allen
9:21
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
We structured this request of our voters as a 10-year limited bond, versus an on-going millage request of voters. We seek only to generate revenues to provide the dollar for dollar match to rennovate the building, not provide for its on-going operations.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:21 Dan Phelan
9:21
[Comment From HenryHenry: ] 
Will this project, if funded, reauire that JCC use local contractors? If not, what is JCC's committment to uising local contractors?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:21 Henry
9:24
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
The Board of Trustees and the College Administration are committed to using local talent for the project. However, this is a state-funded project. Consequently, the College is required to pay "prevailing wage" and, by law, must accept the lowest bid for the contracts and subcontracts. That said, the majority of our contracts, in previous contstruction projects, have come from the Jackson County and south central Michigan area.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:24 Dan Phelan
9:24
[Comment From Leanne SmithLeanne Smith: ] 
This question is from a reader: "Is the state offering to provide 50% of the required funds? What is the incremental cost to a typical Jackson County household?"
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:24 Leanne Smith
9:27
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Yes, the State requires a 50% match provided by the College (by the way, this is a lesser match than required of the State Universities, which is a 25% match). A Jackson home valued at $100,000 would see an increase of $1.30 a month, for ten years.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:27 Dan Phelan
9:27
[Comment From DouglasDouglas: ] 
Can you explain the economic value this project would bring to the community such as, jobs created during the project?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:27 Douglas
9:28
[Comment From JustinJustin: ] 
What is the economic impact to Jackson County? How many people could be put to work?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:28 Justin
9:28
[Comment From Cindy AllenCindy Allen: ] 
For reference, that same homeowner with a home valued at $100,000 is currently supporting the college at $4.50/month to support the operatonis at JCC
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:28 Cindy Allen
9:29
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Given that the project would cost $19.5 million, and using a standard economic multiplier of 7 (commonly used), the regional impact would approximate $137 million for the region.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:29 Dan Phelan
9:29
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
Is it true that JCC has to ask for a bond because they are so far in debt that they cannot borrow anymore monies to fund their future plans?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:29 guest
9:31
Brian Wheeler: 
Everyone, thanks for the questions and for sticking with us while answers are being typed in. We hope to get to every question we receive, so feel free to ask more.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:31 Brian Wheeler
9:32
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
This is not true. The College has additional debt limit that could be used for the match of this project. However, it is the decision of the Board of Trustees and the Administration that we not undertake any more debt, as our debt load is pretty high. Furthermore, we don't believe that any further debt costs should be passed on to students. We selected the use of a bond-approach so as to clearly limit the timespan for support from our constituency.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:32 Dan Phelan
9:32
[Comment From JCC supporterJCC supporter: ] 
How frustrating is it for college officials to know that it's been forever since the public has approved a JCC millage?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:32 JCC supporter
9:34
Brian Wheeler: 
How long has it been since voters approved a millage for JCC?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:34 Brian Wheeler
9:37
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
The area voters provide $1.33 mills on the second vote, in 1964, for the creation of what is now, Jackson Community College. Since that time, the College has sought additional support from voters 14 times...all have failed. JCC holds the State record among community colleges for the most millage defeats, the highest tuition and fees, and the lowest local property tax support from its voters. My hope remains that the Jackson County Citizens will support the good work of JCC and, by extension, this community, through an affirmative bond vote on Novemver 6th.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:37 Dan Phelan
9:37
[Comment From jcc alum and tax payerjcc alum and tax payer: ] 
if this proposal passes will it allow tax payers who are also alum of JCC be able to use service that the college offers, such as tutoring services?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:37 jcc alum and tax payer
9:41
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Anyone who would choose to take classes from JCC, once the facility is completed, could make use of the services in Walker Hall. We do offer some limited, free courses, for Seniors, at no cost. I encourage you to contact our Student Services Office to find out which courses might interest you.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:41 Dan Phelan
9:41
[Comment From Leanne SmithLeanne Smith: ] 
Are you still getting 1.33 mills?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:41 Leanne Smith
9:42
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
No, we are not. Due to the Headly Amendment, our College has seen a continuing reduction in its millage from 1.33 mills to 1.13 currently. If it falls below 1.0 mills, the College begins to loose in State Aid support.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:42 Dan Phelan
9:42
[Comment From guestguest: ] 
How does JCC plan to provide support for the building if the bond goes through?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:42 guest
9:43
[Comment From Cindy AllenCindy Allen: ] 
JCC does have a new Career Placement office at JCC with a certified coach who can assist students and alumni with resume writing, job search skills, interview techniques and also acts as an employer liaison alighing talented JCC students and alumni with employers and job!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:43 Cindy Allen
9:44
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
The operational costs would be borne by the annual budget of the College. Some of those revenues would be generated by cost savings associated with using new, highly efficient heating, cooling, and lighting systems.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:44 Dan Phelan
9:44
[Comment From jcc alum and tax payerjcc alum and tax payer: ] 
I am interested in tutoring services because I am taking a online BSN program and need only tutoring service. I also contacted student service and informed them I am a long term tax payer and three time degree holder from JCC and was told I could not use the tutoring service. Due to this you can count this tax payer as a no vote
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:44 jcc alum and tax payer
9:47
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Our tutoring services are provided for our current students. That said, if you walk in seeking help, we will help you. That said, you may be interested to note that JCC is currently being considered by the State Legislature for approval of a BSN program to be offered on our Central Campus...that decision should come by the end of the year...you may wish to let your wishes be known with our State Legislature.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:47 Dan Phelan
9:47
[Comment From JCC StudentJCC Student: ] 
As a current JCC student who will graduate this year, this plan really excites me for future JCC students. I have had many classes in BW hall. How quickly would this be complete and which classes primarily would be held in this building?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:47 JCC Student
9:49
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Assuming that the bond request is supported, we will undertake work with our architects. From there we will need approval of our construction documents from DTMB. Once approved there, we would need to let bids, and then award them. Based upon past experience, I anticipate that construction could begin as soon as two years from now, with completion about 18 months later.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:49 Dan Phelan
9:50
[Comment From JCC supporterJCC supporter: ] 
If the millage rate is so low, why not ask voters for another operating millage rather than a bond to renovate a building, if losing state support is a concern? Seems to me if voters approve this, they are not likely to support an operating millage if one is requested.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:50 JCC supporter
9:53
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
As noted previously, we have asked voters 14 times for local operating millage support. We selected a 10-year bond so as to be clear about purpose, and limit the amount of time that the College recieves the support. From our prespective, we would not be good public stewards if we did not seize the opportunity to capture this State funding to provide for local jobs and much needed infrastructure and instructional improvements for our students...thus, the question and the bond-structure.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:53 Dan Phelan
9:54
[Comment From BertBert: ] 
I'm not a Jackson native, so I find it interesting that the community continues to fund school district millages, and the end product is 70% of graduates unable to do college level work. Yet, the community will not support the College which picks up the slack from the high schools and also provides life sustaining skill sets which keep people off public assistance, and out of jail, but yet the community will not support the college? Help me understand this...
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:54 Bert
9:56
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
It is a conundrum to be sure. You should know that our current rate of studnets needing developmental educational assistance has now risen to over 80% JCC is committed to do this work and assist our community in the process. We all learned long ago that a better educated populus is good for our democracy, our community, and our quality of life.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:56 Dan Phelan
9:57
[Comment From JimJim: ] 
How are the make ready costs for this project going to be paid for? It is not abnormal for make ready costs (moves, storage, temporary offices, temporary infrastructure, etc.) to be approximately $100k for a job of this size. According to state funded guidelines these costs cannot be charged the 50/50 project. Given that the bond only pays 50% and the state pays 50% then the make ready costs will be 100% from reserves or the general fund. Is this budgeted?
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:57 Jim
9:58
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
If the state is willing to provide nearly $10M to support this project, and the local voters are willing to do the same, the College will provide for the "make ready" costs of the project.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:58 Dan Phelan
9:59
[Comment From GuestGuest: ] 
Just want to say, I'll support JCC by voting yes on November 6! Our community needs the resources that JCC offers, and I believe that facilities improvement can be a way to recruit students locally, out of state and even internationally. Why would students want to attend classes in a dated, run-down building? This is a no brainer for me.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:59 Guest
9:59
[Comment From JCC ROCKS!!!JCC ROCKS!!!: ] 
I am saddened that the community does not seem to care about supporting its youth and fear that if things do not improve roughly 1000 more individuals will be unemployed and looking for jobs…
Wednesday October 24, 2012 9:59 JCC ROCKS!!!
10:00
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Thank you for your support of Jackson Community College and,most importantly, of our students.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 10:00 Dan Phelan
10:01
[Comment From Dan PhelanDan Phelan: ] 
Jackson Community College is here to support the needs of our community as well as business and industry by providing quality trained students for employement, for students who seek to transfer to a baccalaureate-granting institution, and to enhance the quality of life for all citizens.
Wednesday October 24, 2012 10:01 Dan Phelan
10:03
Brian Wheeler: 
Thank you, Dan and Cindy, for your time. And thank you to everyone who followed along and/or asked questions. Leanne Smith will have a story with more information on the proposal. Feel free to email her at lsmith12@mlive.com with any questions. Have a great day!
Wednesday October 24, 2012 10:03 Brian Wheeler
 
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