Weatherford Democrat

June 11, 2008

Board sends plan to voters


Phil Riddle

editor@weatherforddemocrat.com

After falling short in last year's bond election, Weatherford College trustees have regrouped and cut back on the amount sought and are going to try again.

A unanimous vote by the college board Wednesday places the $96.25 million package in the hands of voters again this year.

The $125 million original proposal lost in November 2007 by fewer than 500 votes. Since then, trustees have made refinements in last year's plan and reduced the price about 10 percent, based on current prices.

According to WC President Joe Birmingham, the cost to the average homeowner in the county will be comparable to the 2007 plan.

"The impact on the average homeowner should be very similar to the proposal last year."

With the average cost of $113,000 for a home in Parker County, trustees figure at a rate of slightly above three cents per $100 valuation, the bond package will cost about $2.50 per month.

"We think that's a manageable amount," Birmingham said.

Board President Lin Bearden said with the panel's frugal spending history, taxpayers should feel confident in the new plan.

"In effect, f this bond is approved this will take us back to the 2001 tax rate," Bearden said. "We have been very judicious in spending. I'm confident the people of Parker County will decide this is the best investment they can make." Bearden said.

Birmingham said revised plan focuses on three primary points: Renovation and construction to facilities on a 40-year-old campus with aging infrastructure, ensuring sufficient space for current staff, faculty and students, and the expansion of programs.

"In our allied health program, just last year, we turned away 339 qualified students because we had no space to take them," Birmingham said. "This project has multiple purposes."

The bond proposal will be on the Nov. 4 ballot.