Pinal County Community College District Governing Board approves bond initiative

June 17, 2008

PINAL COUNTY, Ariz. - The Pinal County Community College District Governing Board, which oversees the operation of Central Arizona College, voted to pursue a $98,975,000 general obligation bond at the November 2008 general election.

College administrators said the bond would allow the district to extend access to educational and training programs, as well as services throughout the county, reaching large population bases that are presently underserved.

“Pinal County has grown,” Dennis Jenkins, Central Arizona College’s president, stated, “and the bulk of that growth has settled in the city of Maricopa and the San Tan/Johnson Ranch area along Hunt Highway. We have tried to reach out to both areas by developing educational centers, but a center is just an initial approach in serving a larger educational need.”

The nearly $99 million bond would allow the college to buy land and build educational facilities in Maricopa and the San Tan area, as well as improve current facilities and build additional classroom space at Central’s Superstition Mountain campus in Apache Junction.

Funds also would be used to modernize and renovate 30-year-old educational facilities at the Signal Peak Campus located between Coolidge and Casa Grande; the Aravaipa Campus between Winkelman and Oracle; and the Casa Grande Center.

The Pinal County Community College District has not secured a bond election since 1972.

“We are at a point where we need to better serve the students of Pinal County by expanding educational, job training and lifelong learning opportunities for residents through additional programs, convenient locations and refurbished facilities,” Jenkins explained.

The ballot language also notes that funds can be used for any additional capital improvements within the district, so improvements can be made countywide.

Russ Banta, Central’s vice president of finance, said the cost of the bond would still keep the district’s tax assessment lower than in 2007-08.

“We have lowered our primary property tax assessment for the last five years,” Banta explained. “This year, it went down .39 cents per $100 assessed. If the bond is approved, taxpayers still will be paying less than what was paid in the year before.”

For the 2008-09 fiscal year, residents with a full cash value home of $200,000 will see their tax payment reduced from $360 to $282 - an $82 decline. The bond would cost taxpayers in that same home $33.86.

The bond would be paid off over 20 or 25 years with an estimated interest of five percent.

Since the 2000 census, the county has grown by 146,671 people, or 81 percent.



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