Thousands Of Signatures Could Force TJC Tax Rollback Election - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Thousands Of Signatures Could Force TJC Tax Rollback Election

A local college's attempts at expansion could be stopped by thousands of sheets of paper. Thursday a group opposing TJC's four cent tax increase presented the board of trustees with a signed petition. It calls for a rollback election. 8,647 valid signatures were needed to force the rollback election. The group presented the board with 16,306. The delivery of the signatures ended a 3 month crusade led by Dr. Don Haygood and his son, Dr. Ken Haygood.

"Speakers say that Tyler Junior College hasn't raised their rates for 11 years and they need money," said Dr. Don Haygood. "That's really very misleading because your appraisal rates have gone up at least 5.5 percent every year."

TJC's President Dr. Bill Crowe said the college serves the public.

"If our public that we serve wants a rollback election that's certainly their perogative," said Dr. Crowe.

Appraisal officials said if the tax rollback passes, it would result in three actions. The 2004 tax rate would be lowered.  Since the election would be held after the January 31st tax deadline, every taxpayer who has paid their 2004 TJC tax would get a refund. The tax ceiling for seniors 65 and older would be lowered and frozen at the lower rate. That's something some TJC faculty hope does not happen. They pleaded for the tax increase.

"If the tax increase does not go through our students and we will be harmed by this," said Amy Glenn a TJC professor.

"It's critical to the future of our college," said Dr. Crowe. "I mean we are fine today we're going to be fine tomorrow, we're going to be fine for the next year or two but I'm worried more about the next 10 or 15 years."

Those opposing the increase argued differently.

"If someone walked up and gave me an additional 49 million dollars that would help me to expand my home and things, yes-- but do I need it? No," said Dr. Don Haygood. "So I would say there is no urgent immediate need."

In order to force the rollback every petition signature must be from a registered Smith or Van Zandt county voter in TJC's district. TJC auditors have 20 days to validate the signatures and call for the rollback election. The election could be held on February 5th.

Maya Golden reporting,

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