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GRCC Considers $100 Million Ballot Question for Repairs, Upgrades
[December 05, 2011]

GRCC Considers $100 Million Ballot Question for Repairs, Upgrades

Dec 05, 2011 (WXMI-TV - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- From leaky roofs to outdated technology, Grand Rapids Community College is in need of repairs and updating. The question is: How will they pay for it? Monday the board met to consider asking taxpayers for $100 million over the next 20 years.

GRCC President, Steven Ender, says that these renovations are needed in order to bring buildings at the college into the 21st century of learning and teaching. He says the college is looking to make renovations instead of building new; something that can be done at half the cost.

Ender says he has a message for those who oppose the request and say GRCC only wants the funds for unneeded extras. "If new carpets and paint is glitz and glamour, that would be the extent of the glitz and glamour," Ender said. "We are talking about modernizing some very aged facilities." Facilities like the computer labs in the main building that require fans and air conditioning units to keep the room cool enough for the computers to run as well as the music center that lacks proper acoustics. The board seemed to be in agreement, these are all renovations that need to be completed. However the timing of the request for the $100 million dollars is problematic for some.

"My question is this is whether Kent County can absorb incremental or ongoing tax and fee increases, not just for our millage here, but from all levels of government before our economic environment reaches a tipping point?" GRCC Board Member, Richard Stewart said.

"We certainly realize what's going on with the economy," Ender said. "We have attempted to be very modest with this request keeping the millage ask at about .37 mills for a house valued at $150,000 dollars, it would be about $22 dollars in additional taxes a year." The board will have at least two more meetings regarding the request. President Ender says he wants to get the word out to the public and give people time to express their concerns to him. The board will discuss the request at a meeting January. They will decide then whether or not the $100 million question will be on the ballot in May.

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