Austin Community College approves tax increase, sells portion of Pinnacle Campus property and cancels trustee election at September board meeting

The district is planning to sell 2.26 acres of land currently part of the closed ACC Pinnacle Campus property to the Texas Department of Transportation. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
The district is planning to sell 2.26 acres of land currently part of the closed ACC Pinnacle Campus property to the Texas Department of Transportation. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

The district is planning to sell 2.26 acres of land currently part of the closed ACC Pinnacle Campus property to the Texas Department of Transportation. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)

Two months after Austin Community College approved its fiscal year 2020-21 budget, district trustees approved the previously proposed tax rate of $0.1058 per $100 in property valuation at its Sept. 14 meeting, its first meeting in six weeks. Read the latest from the community college district here.

Property tax rate set at $0.1058 in ACC

ACC’s total property tax rate for the 2020-21 fiscal year will increase by $0.0009 per $100 valuation to $0.1058, as outlined in the budget approved by trustees in July. The increase occurred in the debt service tax rate, while the maintenance and operations tax rate will stay the same as in FY 2019-20.

The board unanimously approved the new rate, which will allow the district to generate $16.46 million in total new tax revenue compared to last year’s rate.

The district’s no-new-revenue tax rate—or the rate that would have allowed the district to generate the same amount of tax revenue this year as last—is $0.0041 below the approved rate, according to district documents.

“It is true that the debt service rate is going up slightly, and this is in relation to the 2014 voter-approved bonds,” said Neil Vickers, ACC executive vice president of finance. “That was a planned increase that went to the voters and in fact, that increase in the rate that we're adopting this year, it's actually quite a bit less than the projected rate when we held that election in 2014.”

Portion of Pinnacle Campus will be sold to TxDOT

The district is planning to sell 2.26 acres of land currently part of the closed ACC Pinnacle Campus property to the Texas Department of Transportation, which will use it as part of future improvements along West Hwy. 290.

According to an eminent domain settlement agreement between the parties, ACC will receive $1,050,000 for the two parcels located along the highway. That dollar amount is about $400,000 higher that TxDOT’s initial good-faith estimate for the land, according to ACC.

TxDOT is preparing to break ground on the Oak Hill Parkway project—a forthcoming construction initiative set to widen Hwy. 290 and improve intersections to increase mobility near and through the Y at Oak Hill—later this year.

Round Rock, Elgin campuses go sustainable

ACC announced in a Sept. 1 news release that its Round Rock and Elgin campuses are officially being powered through sustainable energy, exclusively. According to the district, the two campuses are being run on both solar and wind power.

ACC is the first community college district in the state to have a campus switch fully to sustainable energy and plans to expand into other district schools.

“ACC is committed to becoming a leader in sustainability. That means using less energy and fewer resources while minimizing waste,” ACC Chancellor Richard Rhodes said in the release. “Our goal is to shrink the college’s ecological footprint and increase environmental awareness. Austin Community College District has set the goal of becoming a Zero Waste by 2040 and achieving climate neutrality by 2050 while continuing to grow to meet the demand for ACC programs and services.”

District cancels November trustee election

With all three candidates on the upcoming November ballot drawing no competition, ACC trustees on Sept. 14 officially canceled its election.

Dana Walker will fill the Place 1 position, which is currently being held by Mark Williams. Board Chair Gigi Edwards Bryant will hold onto Place 2, and incumbent Nan McRaven will continue serving in Place 3.

According to the district, ACC will save about $1 million in election expenses by canceling the election.
By Nicholas Cicale
Nick has been with Community Impact Newspaper since 2016, working with the Lake Travis-Westlake and Southwest Austin-Dripping Springs editions. He previously worked as a reporter in Minnesota and earned a degree from Florida State University.


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