Voters in Kent County will decide on a millage increase for Grand Rapids Community College this May. The college’s board of trustees voted to put the question on the May ballot Monday night.
GRCC’s President Steven Enders says the tax increase is worth it for everyone living near Grand Rapids. “You cannot begin to put a value of the impact of this institution on Kent County and this region. It is just not as simple as counting numbers," Enders said.
The millage increase would raise nearly $100 million dollars over the next 20 years. It would cost the owner of a home valued at $150,000 a little less than $30 a year.
The millage would pay to renovate almost every building on campus…including the main building constructed around 90 years ago.
The board voted 5 to 2 in favor of the proposed millage increase. Those who voted against the proposal still agree that building upgrades are needed.
Trustee Richard Ryskamp says the college has enough money to do the work without an increase; if only, he says, the board would take the time to address what he called ‘skyrocketing’ retirement costs. "We need to talk about what it is that’s draining a hole in our budget. If we don’t, passing this millage is just like putting air into a tire before mending the hole in it. It’ll just go flat again," Ryskamp said.