Dear Editor: On Aug. 7, the Curry County Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 in favor of further inquiry regarding the Southwestern Oregon Community College Tax District’s financial circumstances, as pertains to the Curry campus.
The main reason behind this vote is that Curry County citizens pay $2.13 million in taxes to the college district. The expenses for Curry’s programs have been cut back to only $850,000 this year.
That is, approximately $1.3 million of Curry County’s taxpayers’ tax revenue was taken from Curry County for use at the Coos County campus, or for expenses otherwise not specified by the college tax district.
Curry taxpayers’ portion is 38.8% of the total tax base for the college district.
The previous year, the amount was $1 million taken from Curry tax revenues to be used other than in Curry County.
Similar numbers go back years. We get taxed, and Coos Campus grows. There isn’t even a budget for marketing the Curry campus.
But hold on, that is not the only money SWOCC takes from Curry County citizens and Curry campus’s programs. The SWOCC Foundation also solicits donations from Curry County.
We need to know how much of those donations are designated for use in Curry County (and if those donors’ wishes and designations were honored), Or if those donations were undesignated or unrestricted and taken into the college district and not for the benefit of Curry County.
Additionally, other local special districts are filling in the gaps in services because the college administration cut those services, such as G.E.D. testing.
That means the college district “partners” with the special districts, then passes off the special districts’ work and programs as if they were in the SWOCC budget still.
The problem is, special districts in Curry County are now picking up the tab using their own resources, not the college’s resources, to do the work the college once did. Is that “double dipping” into Curry County taxpayers’ pockets?
Please visit Brookings Oregon Nextdoor’s Facebook page for 10 newsfeed posts (including pictures of the Coos campus, for comparison). If there was any interest in fiscal parity between the two campuses, Curry would have at least one-third of what the Coos campus has in terms of facilities, programs and services.
Curry County taxpayers need to know and to speak up!