News

Does Montgomery County’s Sinclair property tax drive away investment?

Ever wonder why The Greene is just outside Montgomery County in Greene County? Could it be because Steiner + Associates didn’t want to pay millions in taxes each year to support Sinclair Community College when they could still reach the same market.

Now, Steiner is making an even bigger investment in Warren County. Warren County has a Sinclair campus, but they don’t pay any property tax to support it.

Once retailers at the approximately $350 million Liberty Center development open the doors next month, projections call for the complex to draw more than 10 million people a year to shop and dine, according to the director of the Butler County Visitors Bureau

Source: Liberty Center to impact local crime, property value

You know how they always tell you the tax levy will only cost $147 a year for the owner of a $100,000 house? Well, for a $350 million dollar project, that’s half a million plus each year in additional property tax. If Sinclair Community College wants to provide services to residents of Butler County, it’s time they paid their fair share as well. Note- the Warren County Campus is close to the Butler line.

Remember, the Ohio Supreme Court already found Ohio’s formula for funding schools unconstitutional back in 1997, and our legislature hasn’t done anything to fix it. With increasing numbers of high school students earning Sinclair credits, we’ve got an even more screwed up system, which is unfairly burdening the property owners of Montgomery County, while Preble, Greene and Warren don’t pay a thing.

Vote NO on issue 13 and keep Sinclair Fair.

Sinclair’s financial audit

SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Dayton, Ohio
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS PDF
June 30, 2014 and 2013
Prime quotes:

“The Courseview Campus Center in Mason, Ohio, now in its eighth year of operation, has nearly tripled its enrollment since its launch. As Warren County is a legislatively designated service area of Sinclair, the College continues to prudently plan and implement cost-effective educational opportunities for this growing and underserved market as evidenced by the opening in August 2013 of a second building on the campus that more than doubles its instructional capacity and greatly expands the variety of courses and programs that are and can be offered there.”

And while you or I have to borrow money at much higher rates to pay our mortgages- Sinclair is debt free.

“Pay as you go: Save money upfront and place in allocated reserves for later use in major capital expenditures, thereby avoiding debt (as opposed to borrowing now and paying later).”

With historically low interest rates, most companies are taking on debt, to lock in the savings.

We welcome your analysis of their financial position in the comments.

Sinclair levy will ask voters for new money in November

While Montgomery County tax payers have passed every Sinclair levy since 1966, the money was to provide a community college in Montgomery County. For the last 8 years, Sinclair has operated a campus in Warren County- Ohio’s fastest growing county, without a tax, and also in Preble county, without levying a tax. All we ask is that Sinclair either stay in Montgomery County, or tax other counties for use of our assets.

From the Dayton Daily News:

Sinclair Community College’s Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to take a new levy before Montgomery County voters in November — a move the college says will help it improve technology and training for growing career fields.

According to the Montgomery County Auditor’s office, the new 1 mill levy would cost an owner of a $100,000 home $35 per year. That’s in addition to the $98 those homeowners already pay for Sinclair’s 3.2 mill levy, which passed in 2008.

Sinclair pulls in slightly more than $27 million each year from property taxes. But if the new levy were to pass, the auditor’s office says the college would receive an additional $8.5 million per year.Aside from levy funding, the college will rely mostly on state appropriations and tuition to cover 2016 expenses totaling $121.4 million.

The 7-0 decision came one day prior to the county’s filing deadline.

The college plans to use some of the money to build a new health center, which would house its 37 health science programs and be equipped with the “latest” simulation labs and clinics. The health center would be built on a parking lot between 4th and 5th streets, and attached to the Sifferlin Center.

New funds also would be used to upgrade information technology and advanced manufacturing programs, and increase job placement programs.In addition, college officials say the levy would help keep costs down for local students. Montgomery County students pay $99.03 per credit hour, while students from other Ohio counties pay an additional $50 per credit hour.

“The Dayton region is changing rapidly, in advanced in manufacturing, health care and IT. We are working to make changes to adjust and align with the needs of the local economy,” said Sinclair president Steven Johnson.

The new levy would run for eight years. In 2017 or 2018 the college will move to renew its 2008 levy, and after that — if the new levy passes — the college would have a levy on the ballot every five years.

The college says having two levies could keep the institution’s finances secure, in case one were to fail. That’s not an uncommon levy strategy.

“One of things that we would like to do is not have all of our eggs in one basket, and have balanced levies and spread the risk,” Johnson said.

Apart from spreading risk, the levy would replace lost and stagnant revenue sources. As a result of the recent economic downturn, county property values dropped and Sinclair received lower-than-expected levy funds.

The college says it has watched its per-student, inflation-adjusted state appropriations decrease, dropping around 40 percent since 2000. In 2016, the college is expected to receive $700,000 less from property taxes than it did in the most recent fiscal year.

The college’s revenue is projected to fall by $3 million to $124.2 million from fiscal year 2015 to 2016. Its 2016 expenses are expected to drop by $4.2 million, to $121.4 million.

Sinclair passed its first levy in 1966, and has passed each renewal since.

College officials say, per state law, the funds would only be used at Sinclair’s Montgomery County campus.

“This levy is about keeping our foot on the accelerator as a region and as a local economy,” said Rob Connelly, chair of Sinclair’s Board of Trustees, in an email to this newspaper. “Sinclair is a vital resource and driver for our region and has grown along with this community for the last 128 years.“This levy will allow us to continue to move forward and deliver outstanding quality.”

Source: Sinclair levy will ask voters for new money in November | www.mydaytondailynews.com

The fact is, Montgomery County has the second highest tax burden in the State of Ohio. It’s time for Sinclair to look to other funding sources, either taxes in other counties, or to operate like every other institution and float bonds, especially during our times of historically low interest rates.

Sinclair tuition to go up $100 a year for full-time Ohio students

While taxpayers have been squeezed due to a down economy, Sinclair, which is heavily subsidized by taxpayers, raised tuition in Mar of 2014 to make up for falling tax revenue. Of course, shutting down operations in Warren and Preble counties- who don’t pay ANY tax, wasn’t on the table.

Nor was taking on debt to finance long term investment. Sinclair continues to operate debt free- without a mortgage of any sort, yet keeps expanding it’s footprint and expenses while the taxpayers bear the burden. Included in these extraneous rising costs is Sinclair providing non-degree courses to help train corporate staff for companies that receive tax breaks.

Full-time Sinclair Community College students will pay about $100 more per year starting during the summer semester, according to college officials.

On Tuesday, the Sinclair Board of Trustees approved increasing the tuition rates by $100 for in-state students. Out-of-state and international students will pay an increase of 2.9 percent or $240.

The increase breaks down to $3.33 per credit hour for Montgomery County residents, who will now pay $99.03 per credit hour. Other Ohio residents also will pay an additional $3.33 per credit hour increasing the amount to $146.28, according to information from the board.

“This is one of the most challenging issues we have to deal with,” said Trustee Robert Connelly. “We take it really seriously when adding any more burden to our students.”

Even with the proposed increase, Sinclair’s tuition for Montgomery County residents is the lowest in the state, according to information from the college.

Out-of-state and international students will pay an additional $8 per credit hour or $282.40 per credit hour.

The increases are necessary, according to the college, because of decreases in state and property tax levy funding. An additional reduction in levy funds of $1.5 million to $2 million is expected next year as a result of the county’s property revaluation process and it’s unclear how much state funding the school will receive.

“Our model is under stress,” Connelly said.

The increase is expected to generate about $1.5 million in annual revenue, according to information from the college. Even with that additional money, the college will be required to continue to look at “cost restraint, efficiencies and planned and judicious use of reserve funds,” the information said.

As part of the discussion, Sinclair President Steven Johnson spoke about the number of students who receive financial aid to help offset costs.

Of 33,867 students enrolled in the 2012-2013 academic year, 16,593 received some form of financial aid. Approximately $86 million in financial aid is distributed to Sinclair students each year.

Clark State will take tuition recommendations to its board in May, according to Clark State spokesperson Jennifer Dietsch.

Staff writer Meagan Pant contributed to this report.

Source: Sinclair tuition to go up $100 a year for full-time Ohio students | www.mydaytondailynews.com

The citizens of Montgomery County have never said no to a Sinclair tax levy. It’s time that Sinclair consider refocusing to Montgomery County or taxing Warren and Preble Counties.

Sinclair to open “corporate college” for defense industry in Beavercreek

Sinclair Community College is paid for by the residents of Montgomery County. However, they seem to feel a need to provide their benefits to other counties- with a campus in Warren County and classrooms in Preble County- and then a center in Beavercreek, in Greene County.

Sinclair Community College will open a new center in Beavercreek to work directly with employers in the defense industry to train their workers with the skills they need.

Sinclair announced Friday it plans to lease about 7,500 square feet on Pentagon Boulevard for its first “corporate college.” The center, which still requires approval from Sinclair’s Board of Trustees, will target the defense industry and affiliated industries — the fastest growing group of employers in the region, said Deborah Norris, vice president for Sinclair’s Workforce Development and Corporate Services.

The corporate college will address the needs employers say they have by offering custom training that is not for college credit and not tied to the semester calendar, Norris said.

“Everything we do is geared toward employers and incumbent workers,” Norris said.

“What we do for business, we make them better. Just like what the rest of the college does for students, they make a difference in their lives,” Norris said. “Companies aren’t going to move into our area and they’re not going to stay if they don’t have the workforce that they need.

”Workforce is the “No. 1 most critical element that any business is talking about today,” said Jeff Hoagland, president and CEO of the Dayton Developmental Coalition.

“Anything we can do as region to supply them what they need to grow jobs here and bring jobs here is important to everyone,” he said.

The center will be located near Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio’s largest single site employer with a workforce of about 29,000.

Creation of the corporate college will be funded through the Sinclair’s Workforce Development department and will not use money from the Montgomery County property tax levy. The goal is to open the center around Jan. 1.

The center will be “critical” for contractors, because employees are often required to pass tests to hold certain certifications, said Deborah Gross, executive director of the Dayton Area Defense Contractors Association. For instance, the corporate college will offer a boot camp to prepare workers for the Project Management Profession Certification Exam, a credential required for employees when a defense contractor bids on a project, Norris said.

One employer in the area also characterized the need for workforce training in Beavercreek as “great.”

“As a growing small business owner, I am very excited about the possibility of additional workforce development training being offered nearby,” Dave Judson, president and CEO of JJR Solutions, said in an e-mail. “We would love to see and will support new custom training options for our technical and non-technical employees closer to our location in Greene County.

”The center will likely be located at 3800 Pentagon Blvd., although Sinclair has not yet signed a lease. The college will move about nine full-time staff from the Miami Valley Research Park in Dayton and will also locate its director of unmanned aerial systems there.

It is the same building Franklin University opened a location in last year and near Clark State Community College’s Greene County campus.

Sinclair said the corporate college could be the first of others to come that would target other industries. The college will also continue to offer workforce development services out of its main campus in downtown Dayton.

Source: Sinclair to open “corporate college” for defense industry in… | www.mydaytondailynews.com

Considering both Clark State and Franklin University are already there, why are Montgomery County tax payers supporting this expansion and distracting Sinclair staff with operations outside of Montgomery County?

Greene County doesn’t have to pay a property tax to Sinclair Community College. They also don’t have to pay a half percent sales tax to support RTA- yet still get service to the Mall at Fairfield Commons and to Wright State University.

It’s time to be fair.

Sinclair buys more acres to expand its Mason campus

Montgomery County taxpayers suffer under the 2nd highest tax burden in the State of Ohio- yet, Sinclair Community College President Steven Johnson thinks “It’s our goal to make it easier for everyone to get an education no matter where they are in the region”

Yet the only people he is willing to ask for a property tax are Montgomery County taxpayers who have been building Sinclair since 1966 by never turning down a Sinclair levy. Yet, the Sinclair foundation has been spending millions investing in a Warren County Campus aimed at serving as many as 10,000 Warren County students, without asking Warren County voters for a thin nickle.

The Sinclair Community College Foundation has purchased another 3.4 acres of land for the Courseview Campus Center, completing an expansion that will eventually allow the site to serve 10,000 students.

The $500,000 purchase is a part of the $7 million spent by the foundation and the college to expand the Mason campus. The acquisition brings the campus to about 75 acres. Sinclair purchased the land, which is located within the campus along Interstate 71 near Kings Island, from Seeideas Inc., a consulting business based in Mason, according the Warren County Auditor’s Office website.

The Sinclair Community College Foundation has purchased another 3.4 acres of land for the Courseview Campus Center, completing an expansion that Sinclair Community College President Steve Johnson said school (sic) will lease the land from the foundation as part of its long-term goal for Warren County. Sinclair has a Vision 2035 to serve more students with more academic programs at the campus, which opened in 2007.

“It’s our goal to make it easier for everyone to get an education no matter where they are in the region,” Johnson said.

Currently, Courseview enrolls between 1,000 and 1,400 students in a term. The college anticipates serving 2,500 students and employing an additional 24 people when renovations are complete in fall 2013 on the former Stress Engineering Building, which was purchased by the foundation in August. The building was bought along with 33 acres of land for $4.5 million, according to Sinclair.

The college plans to add a community meeting room, five laboratories and seven classrooms and complete minor renovations to its existing building on the campus on Courseview Drive.

“Students in this community, their families and employers will benefit for the foreseeable future and beyond as a result of the investments we have made and the training and education we will continue to provide,” Sinclair Community College Board of Trustees Chair Barney Wright said in a news release.

No Montgomery County levy dollars are being used to expand Courseview, according to Sinclair.

Source: Sinclair buys more acres to expand its Mason campus | www.mydaytondailynews.com

Of course the line “No Montgomery County levy dollars are being used” is always stated. Yet, the money, is still tax dollars coming to our administration, and taking their time and effort away from making Sinclair the best that it can be for Montgomery County residents.

It’s time to keep Sinclair fair and ask voters in Warren, Preble and Greene counties to pay their share of our incredible community college.