TJC President Reacts To Rollback - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

2/6/05-East Texas

TJC President Reacts To Rollback

Residents living in the Tyler Junior College district who have already paid their taxes, are due a refund.  That's after voters overwhelmingly approved a tax rollback in a special election held Saturday.

With more than 11,000 votes cast 87% of voters said they did not want to keep the current tax rate.  The rollback means a loss of more than $3 million a year in tax revenue for TJC.  With that money earmarked for future growth at the college the question remains, where does the school go from here?

KLTV 7's Chris Gibson sat down with TJC President Bill Crowe Sunday to find out.

As early vote totals were posted at the Smith County Courthouse Saturday night, the outcome of a first of it's kind rollback election became clear.  Residents living in the Tyler Junior College district do not want higher taxes.

"I think our community has spoken very clearly about this issue that 4 cents is too much and you're going to have to go back and do something different," said Crowe.

As President of TJC it was Crowe's job to convince voters a tax hike was necessary.  His pitch, a long term plan for the college centered around facility improvements deemed necessary for future growth.

"I think our board was fairly courageous in developing a plan that would work, obviously the community disagree with the way we funded that plan and that's their prerogative because that's who we belong to they're the owners," he said.

Crowe said it's those same taxpayers that will help the college go back to the drawing board.

"What we're going to do is get back in touch with the community and find out what does this really mean.  Does it mean you didn't like the plan and we need to find another plan that's not so large that the tax rate increase is either staggered over a series of years or is not 4 cents but 2 cents, you know what are the issues that are impacting you," he said.

With an estimated $60 million in additional funding needed over the next 15 years, Crowe said support from the community is vital.

"I don't think anybody is saying we don't believe in TJC and we don't believe in the things you're trying to do and we don't think you're an important part of the community," said Crowe.  "I think we'll spend some time trying to find out what our community, our owners really want us to do and how they want us to prepare for the future, the only thing I'm sure of is those needs are not going to go away."

Crowe plans to meet with school trustees later this month.  He said they'll discuss what steps the college will take next.

If you're one of those due a refund from the rollback, the county tax office says you can expect that money as early as April

Chris Gibson, reporting 

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