Cooke County Citizens for Better & Efficient Government

NCTC - 15 reasons to vote NO on NCTC $14.8 Million Bond

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 NCTC is calling a third Bond Election for $14.8 Million in New Debt, Tuesday, November 5th, 2013
 
NCTC has more than $25 Million in the BANK including more than $10 Million in Reserve.  Why do they think the taxpayers need to give them a handout for the full $14.8 Million cost through a tax bond?  Why don't they use their own money first?  Have you ever had a wealthy millionaire ask to borrow $2,500 from you?  If you did, would you give it to them if you knew they wouldn't pay it back?  NCTC doesn't want to borrow your money, they want to spend it.  
 
Some have tried to tell me the money is restricted or can't be spent.  Having been a board member for six years, I know the truth.  Take a look at their financial statements.  Only $1.95 Million is restricted by law or contract.  The remaining $23+ Million can be spent on just about anything as long as four board members vote for it.  The Board "Designated Reserves" are regularly spent on facilities projects.  That is where the money comes from for building projects unless they borrow money to do them. They've never used a property tax bond to build facilities on the other four campuses.  Why do they need to do it here?
 
Since late 2011, the NCTC Board and Administration have spent $3 Million out of "restricted reserves" to convert shop classrooms to storage and admin space, demolish a building they could have repaired for $300,000 but didn't want to, and additional repairs to the money pit they call the First State Bank Performing Arts Center.  That brings the total spent on the PAC to about $8 Million.  That could have built a very nice nursing facility.  Why was the PAC a higher priority than nursing?  Why was $2 Million to convert classrooms to Admin and Storage space more important than Nursing??  NCTC spent more than $20 Million on facility improvements in the past ten years.  Nursing facilities have been a priority for many years.  Why didn't they spend the money on Nursing rather than lower priority projects and other campuses?  More to come as ads come out later this week...
 
While this bond is better focused on education and trimmed down to half the previous bond elections, we have to wonder why Cooke County Taxpayers are being asked to pay 100% of the cost of the Health Sciences Center for almost $12 Million @ $257+/SF.  There are lower cost alternatives available.  Does any reasonable person think they can't build a nice two story building for $150/SF.  Are they building a Taj Mahal?  We believe out-of-district students who get the benefit of the new facilities should help pay for them through increased tuition and fees.  Why should Cooke County residents subsidize out-of-county students, most of which come from Denton County which has an average family income about 50% higher than families in Cooke County?  Contrary to a recent letter by a bank executive, if the college was willing to settle for a Health Sciences building @ $150/SF, tuition would only need to go up about $1,200 per Out-of-County student to cover their portion of the cost, not the $4,950 the banker suggested.  Not sure who is doing his math for him.  Even if they spent all they wanted and spread it across the 321 total students they already have, they'd be looking at an increase of $2,560 per student, not the $4,950 in his letter.
 
Texas already has the second highest per capita debt of any state.  Add that to the federal debt per person of more than $50,000 and all that debt is adding up.  We believe NCTC has better ways to pay for this than a large tax bond and should look at lower cost alternatives and spending their own money first.. 
 
We could support a smaller bond in the neighborhood of $3-4 Million if it was for Vocational and Health Science facilities primarily used by Cooke County students, if there were no other funds available to pay for it.  If the facilities covered by a bond are used significantly by students who come from outside the county, then we submit the Cooke County Taxpayer share should be no more than the percentage of students we have using those facilities.  We are not opposed to out-of-county students using Gainesville facilities, we just believe they should contribute their fair share of the cost.
 
 
NCTC decided Cooke County Voters were misled and needed a second bond election six months later to make the "right" decision for $30.7 Million in New Debt, Tuesday, November 8th, 2011.  This failed similarly to the first one in May 2011 for $32.5 Million.
 

Please make an informed vote!

15 Reasons to vote NO on the NCTC Bond: (under revision)


  1. It will raise NCTC Property Taxes 60% for the life of the bonded debt, likely 25 years.  Current NCTC projections are the tax rate would go from 6.68 to 10.63 cents on a 25 year bond. This would cost the owner of a $100,000 house just short of $1,000 over the life of the bond.
  2. After the last election failed, the NCTC Board and Administration decided to spend about $2 Million converting shop classrooms to Administrative Space and Storage rather than spend it on improving Health Science Facilities.  In fact at one time, those classrooms had been targeted to be converted to nursing classrooms.  If the bond was all about making things better for the students, why didn't they spend that money on improving student classrooms and labs vs. making nicer offices for the Administration?  Actions Speak Louder than Words.
  3. NCTC taxes on Senior Homesteads are not frozen as NCTC has previously claimed.  NCTC bond supporters and employees made numerous phone calls to seniors in 2011 telling them it wouldn't cost them anything to vote for the bond.  That is untrue.  NCTC has since quietly updated their documentation fine print to reflect this but neither NCTC nor the newspapers that support them have put this out to the public in any noticeable way. Dr. Hadlock and NCTC complained that misleading information put out by the bond opponents resulted in it being voted down.  If they are so concerned about misleading information,why don't they and their friends in the newspapers make every effort to inform Seniors they were given incorrect information and most of their taxes will go up??
  4. Only Cooke County taxpayers will pay for the bond.  The eight out of nine students/families that attend NCTC and live outside Cooke County are not obligated to pay one dime towards the bond.  Just over one out of three, (809 out of 2256 or 36%), of students attending the Gainesville campus are from Cooke County according to NCTC Spring 2011 enrollment documents on their web site.  See link to NCTC's Spring 2011 Enrollment data below.
  5. The average debt incurred per Cooke County student attending the Gainesville Campus will be about $16,000.  With interest and fees that will approach $30,000 over the life of the bond, half the cost of a good starter house.
  6. Cooke County taxpayers already subsidize Out of County students to the tune of $1,000,000+ a year on the Gainesville campus.  With annual NCTC Property Taxes going to about $3,000,000 a year for Cooke County Taxpayers, that subsidy will be approaching $2,000,000 a year.
  7. NCTC has been suggesting Nursing accreditation is at risk if the bond passes.  There appears to be no documentation supporting this.  You know we asked for it.  NCTC Nursing is accredited through the Fall of 2015.  The letter NCTC received confirming this has some suggested action items, none of which had anything to do with upgrading facilities, or equipment for that matter. - Update, NCTC staff apparently called the Accreditation people back and pointed out that the facility didn't meet their guidelines so they recently got a letter stating there was a problem with facilities that could cause a problem with accreditation after we pointed out there was not an issue on this in the last accreditation visit.  Has NCTC staff put Nursing Accreditation in jeopardy in an attempt to sell this bond again?  You be the judge.
  8. The cost of the buildings is exorbitant.  Lower cost alternatives should be looked at.  Does any reasonable business person think they couldn't build a very nice Nursing/Health Sciences two story building for $150/SF?
  9. We agree NCTC needs to improve their health science capabilities and facilities.  However; we don’t need to spend $11.585 million at a cost of  $257 a square foot to get what is needed.  The buildings could have been repaired for a couple million dollars, (before they demolished it), and we can add new capabilities for a couple million more, using reserves or a revenue bond.
  10. NCTC should consider raising the health sciences tuition for Out-of-County students and consider classes on nights and weekends to make better use of the facilities we have.  Higher tuition would allow Out-of-County students to make a meaningful contribution to the improved facilities and minimize the chance of local students being shut out by students outside Cooke County whose families contribute no taxes to NCTC.  This shouldn't have to exceed $1200/student year, less if they decide to spread it across more than nursing students.
  11. The last Grayson County College Bond passed by a single vote.  Don’t forget to vote and let someone else decide to raise your taxes 60%.
  12. NCTC already did a groundbreaking in 2004 for a new Agriculture building and Arena.  It was a big tent affair with barbecue and celebration.  Nine years later and they still haven't built it and it is not in this bond.  Until they decided they wanted to pass a bond, they wouldn't even put it on the agenda as requested by Board Member Steve Gaylord. At a board meeting after the first bond failed, it was suggested they keep this in to get support from the agriculture community but possibly not build it or build it and use it for something else.  NCTC is under no legal obligation to build this and the plan they included for the bond has no Arena.
  13. After the Gainesville ISD bond was twice rejected, GISD stripped out the most questionable features and put up another bond proposal saying they wouldn't build the sports complex. After it passed, they used reserves to build it and recently raised the M&O tax rate to pay back the money they took out of reserves.  Many of the same people who pushed that bond are supporting the NCTC bond.  Why shouldn't we expect NCTC to raise M&O taxes after the bond to make up for what they took out of the second bond?  It would be very easy to do and the voters could do nothing to stop them other than vote them out after it is done, much like we did with the board which built the Performing Arts Center.
  14. I was recently told that this facilities upgrade was in the works before I joined the NCTC Board in 2004.  If that is the case, why wasn't the $6 million spent of the Performing Arts Center applied to Nursing & Health Sciences?  They could have gotten a very nice Health Sciences Facility for $6 million then and there would not have been the public outcry.
  15. The State of Texas has concluded that NCTC Taxpayer Resources were used to sell the the previous bond in violation of Texas Election Law.  Dr. Hadlock paid a fine of $500 to settle the Ethics Commission complaint but to the best of our knowledge, never reimbursed the college for the $5,000 - $8,000 in attorney's fees expended in his defense.  We have heard this may still be happening in various degrees.
It all comes down to what NCTC's priorities are which do not seem to include Nursing on the Gainesville Campus except when there is a bond issue.  It seems Health Sciences and the students are only a priority when there is a bond issue.  It seems to be the last priority when spending NCTCs reserves which currently exceed $10 Million as of Sept 30, 2013.

Click here to see 2013 NCTC Polling Locations

Please get out and vote Tuesday, November 5, 2013!

Click here to see NCTC's Spring 2011 enrollment data.

Click here to see NCTC's Fall 2013 Enrollment data



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Pol. Ad paid for by www.cookecitizens.org, Steve Gaylord, Treasurer