By Joanna Armstrong
Late Wednesday afternoon, Northeast Texas Community College received the news that faculty and students had been waiting to hear – that Proposition Two in the bond election had passed authorizing the college to issue $19.9 million in bonds. Because Proposition One failed, which would have lifted the ten cent tax cap, the college has no way to handle the bond debt. “This leaves the college with the authority to issue bonds, but no way to pay them back,” NTCC President Dr. Brad Johnson said.
While the first proposition failed by 327 votes, the day after the election the Mt. Pleasant Daily Tribune reported that there had been a “discrepancy in the figures.” Because of conflicting numbers reported by Titus County’s Election Office and Morris County’s counting machine, several votes for Proposition Two remained in question, as well as some provisional and overseas ballots. In a statement issued on the 12th, the college announced that the proposition had passed by four votes. Without the money provided from the tax increase entailed in Prop. One, Northeast can’t implement the planned improvements to the campus. “You can’t execute the plan without both propositions,” Johnson said.
Though Prop. One didn’t pass, there are those in the community who are adamant in their support. “The college absolutely needs this, and those of us who recognize the importance of NTCC to this community stand ready to help again,” Mary Katherine Milam, Friends of NTCC director, said. “If the college decides to try again, I am confident we will succeed the next time.” The next opportunity to put Prop. One back on the ballot won’t be until May 2015. “If we have learned anything from this election, it is that every single vote counts,” Johnson said. “We are very pleased that voters in our district have approved Proposition Two.
On Monday, the board will meet to discuss plans moving forward. “We are getting feedback from the community that Proposition One was confusing and unclear to voters,” Johnson said. “Our board will be addressing this soon and we will evaluate the next steps. Ultimately, our goal is to come up with a plan that addresses our campus needs in a way that our district is comfortable with and can stand behind.”