Board gives passing mark to FM plan

JOHNSTOWN – The Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday unanimously adopted Fulton-Montgomery Community College’s proposed $19.7 million 2014-15 budget, which now goes to Montgomery County.

The Montgomery County Legislature will consider adoption of the spending plan July 22. Following that approval, the college budget goes to the state University of New York for final adoption.

No one spoke at a public hearing on the budget conducted by the Fulton County Board of Supervisors on Monday at the County Office Building.

Prior to budget adoption, FMCC President Dustin Swanger explained key aspects of the 2014-15 budget to supervisors.

“I appreciate the support the supervisors have given the college,” Swanger stated.

The budget calls for no increase in contributions from Fulton and Montgomery counties, but raises tuition by $50 per student for the next academic year.

“We’re the fifth lowest tuition in the state for community colleges,” Swanger said.

This is the seventh-consecutive year the college is seeking no increases in contributions from the two counties.

“That is not a trend that will continue,” Swanger stated, to some nervous laughter in the chambers.

Fulton and Montgomery counties each contribute about $1.4 million annually to FMCC.

Swanger said the operating budget totals $19.7 million, but with grants received, the budget in reality totals about $20.5 million. He said the FMCC budget shows a roughly 6 percent hike over last year.

He said the local community college has been fortunate over the last several years, with enrollment increasing more than 30 percent. But Swanger said he expects the FMCC enrollment – currently at about 2,130 full-time equivalent students – to “flatten out” the next academic year

With the tuition raise, tuition will be $3,648 per year. The college plans to use nearly $370,000 of fund balance to help balance the budget. Lab fees are expected to be affected this way: $150 increase in the Rad Tech lab fee; $5 increase in the technology fee and elimination of a $50 graduation fee.

On the expense side, the budget will see a 2.4 percent – or $260,211 – increase in personnel services, including for a new position of FMCC assessment coordinator. Other increases in expenses are: benefits – $316,000; equipment – $198,000; maintenance repairs – $43,000; and contractual services – $166,050.

On the revenue side, the college expects an increase in full-time equivalent aid of $75 per FTE; $45,000 in Job Linkage Funding; and $30,000 in GAP funding for remedial education.