Moffat County College board members ‘draw line in the sand’ over financial reports, art program | CraigDailyPress.com

Moffat County College board members ‘draw line in the sand’ over financial reports, art program

The Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board discusses property and planning during a Monday meeting.

CRAIG — The pace of progress may be increasing at the local community college after the local district board made clear its expectations for improved financial reporting, speedier strategic planning, reinstatement of the art program and decisions about property during a meeting Monday.

For years, some members of the board have asked college administration for comprehensive financial reports to understand how tax dollars collected by the Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District relates to the larger college budget.

"I am unhappy with the budget report. Without a programmatic profit and loss, I cannot fulfill my duty of care. I will be voting not to approve the financials," said Andy Daniels.

Later in the meeting, Daniels was appointed to the position of board treasurer after a surprise resignation by former Treasurer Lois Wymore.

"I get that I have authority over only our part (of the budget), but without the programmatic view and big picture … the financials are useless to me. So I'm just going to vote 'no' until we get those," Daniels said.

When the vote was called to approve the January treasurer's report, only two members — board President Mike Anson and board member Terry Carwile — voted to approve. Daniels, Wymore and board member Zach Allen voted against, so the January financial report remains unapproved.

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The board also discussed the fate of the art program.

"I see that there are zero art classes scheduled in the fall. That means we have a dark wing, an underutilized asset. What's the plan?" Daniels asked.

Associate Vice President of Instruction Jeff Grubbs explained that his request for a funding for a full-time art faculty member was refused. He added he is working to hire adjunct faculty but said the task is proving difficult, due to Higher Learning Commission requirements mandating the school hire an instructor with a master of fine arts degree.

"Guidelines do allow for professional experience and exceptional notoriety," Wymore said. "We lost seven to nine FTEs because someone didn't do their research about how important art is here. You said you would bring it back Ron (Granger, CNCC president). I'd like to see a plan on exactly how you are going to bring it back."

The college has seen declining enrollment numbers for the past three semesters. Board members want a plan for growth and want the plan finished sooner rather than later.

"Start acting at the speed of business, not the speed of academia," Daniels said. He also urged the college to "draw a line in the sand" when setting deadlines.

As expected, following an executive session, the college district board made decisions about the lease of Trapper Fitness Center and to transfer property to the hospital.

These decisions included the following.

• To send notice to the tenants of Trapper Fitness Center that their lease, which terminates Dec. 31, will not be renewed. The board is awaiting further information before deciding what's next for the property.

• To allocate $5,900 and an hourly fee of $225 for an appraisal of the property leased to the fitness center.

• To allow Memorial Regional Health to remove dirt from college property to help level the site for the new medical office building. MRH will pay all costs to replace topsoil and re-vegetate and return drainage to current status. Carwile, who is also a member of the MRH board and MRH CEO Daniels did not vote.

• To transfer about 11 acres of college district board-owned land to MRH to allow for future growth. The measure passed two votes to one, with Carwile and Daniels abstaining. Anson voted against the transfer.

"That property is owned by the college, I felt that the college should get some type of payment for that, and we are taking 35 percent of the acreage on Lot 5. That lot doesn't have the value it did before the decision was made," Anson said.

The board also took action on the following items.

• Approved the minutes of the Jan. 31 regular meeting,

• Reallocated $15,000 for an on-campus housing feasibility study into a new consulting services line item and added an additional $2,400 to that line item.

• Allocated $11,500 to pay Aileron consulting $9,500, plus expenses, to "find out what the community thinks of the college and where we need to take it," Daniels said in the motion.

The board also heard the following reports.

• A report regarding conversations underway with private companies interested in building on-campus student housing. Board members expect Granger to bring numbers to their April meeting.

• A progress report about the CNCC website from Marketing Director Brian MacKenzie, who expects to begin beta testing in March.

• A report from Vice President of the Craig Campus Janell Oberlander about the use of the Bell Tower building. Oberlander recommended no change, as she said the high-use building is a vital component to operations and that it isn’t feasible to shift all Bell Tower programs to the main campus.

The board will consider revisions to its bylaws at its next meeting.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.