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Bonds Will Bring Needed Money To Colleges With No Tax Increase

If the Higher Education Facilities Bonds are approved on Nov. 7, Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties will not have to match any dollars for Vance-Granville Community College to receive more than $17 million in construction and renovation funds.

And State Treasurer Harlan Boyles says that a tax increase will not be necessary to repay the bond sales, which will provide $2.5 billion to North Carolina’s 16 universities and $600 million to the state’s 59 community colleges.

The bonds would be issued over a six-year period, beginning in 2001, in amounts that will enable community college campuses to manage the construction and renovation efficiently, Boyles said. Projected revenues will be used to repay the bonds over a 25-year period, allowing the state to pay for the buildings as they are used, much like a mortgage on a home, he added.

VGCC President Robert A. Miller said, “Mr. Boyles said the state can afford it, and we cannot afford not to do this for our future. Even with these bonds, North Carolina’s debt service will still rank quite low compared to other states, according to the state treasurer.”

In fact, the bonds will significantly ease the property tax burden of county governments when it comes to upgrading community colleges, according to Boyles.

“Mr. Boyles said that, in his 23 years as state treasurer, he has found few bond issues as critical to the state’s future prosperity as this one,” Miller said. “He added that without these bonds, North Carolina stands to lose the competitive edge that has helped attract new and higher-paying jobs. In sum, failure to pass the bonds will mean lost educational opportunities and lost economic opportunities.”

Vance-Granville Community College would receive more $17,070,466 from the bonds, with $7,633,566 going to the main campus in Vance County for new construction, $3,879,202 to South Campus in Granville County, $1,915,271 to the Warren County Campus and $2,369,272 to the Franklin County Campus. VGCC would get an additional $1,273,135 for repairs and renovations at the four campuses.

Because the four counties served by Vance-Granville Community College are classified as “low wealth” counties, none of them will have to provide any matching funds to receive the bond money.

The N.C. Association of County Commissioners has endorsed the bonds, and President Miller quotes C. Ronald Aycock, executive director of the association, as saying, “These bonds are the best financial package that has ever been offered to the counties in this state.

“Mr. Aycock said that the $600 million investment in community colleges is a tremendous help to county governments,” Miller said. “He said that, by law, counties are responsible for construction and maintenance of community colleges and, without the critical infusion of money from the bonds, counties might have to raise taxes to improve their community colleges.

“It is no overstatement to say the bonds will mean tax relief and budget relief to counties across North Carolina, according to Mr. Aycock,” Miller said.

In addition to the N.C. Association of County Commissioners, numerous governmental and civic organizations in the counties served by Vance-Granville Community College have endorsed passage of the bonds. These include the Boards of County Commissioners of Vance, Granville, Warren and Franklin counties, the

Franklin County, Granville County and Henderson-Vance County chambers of commerce, Vance County and Warren County boards of education, Henderson City Council, Franklin County Retired School Personnel, Henderson Lions Club Board of Directors, Henderson Kiwanis Club, Henderson Optimist Club, and the Vance-Granville Community College Board of Trustees, Endowment Fund Corporation Board of Directors, Alumni Association, Ambassadors and Professional