Weatherford College proposes tax decreases | Local News

Weatherford College will hold hearings regarding its proposed budget and decrease in the tax rate.

There will be hearings Aug. 15 at noon, Aug. 21 at 5 p.m. and Aug. 25 at noon.

The college can afford to lower the tax rate due to the higher valuation rate in Parker County, said Brent Baker, the college’s interim president.

“We’re very glad to be able to decrease the tax rate,” he said. “Because valuations increased, that allowed us some flexibility.”

The college should be able to balance its budget and lower taxes, Baker said. 

“We’re decreasing the tax rate. That’s the most important part,” Baker said.

Weatherford College’s current tax rate is .12019, and the proposed 2017 tax rate is .11948.

The 2015 tax rate was .11364.

The college has stayed below the state tax average for the past 20 years, Baker said.

The current rate, .12019, is below the all time high state average low of .13845, which was in 1997.

“We try to be very sensitive to the Parker County taxpayer, so we’ve been very conservative,” Baker said. “We have one of the lowest tax rates in the state for community colleges. Now it will be even lower.”

Weatherford College is among the top ten least expensive colleges in the state, ranking 42 out of 50, when sorted in descending order from highest to lowest total tax rate, according to Texas Association of Community Colleges statistics. 

Tuesday also marked the beginning of concealed carry being allowed on campus.

Senate Bill 11, signed by Gov. Greg Abbott in 2015, allows concealed handguns on college campuses.

Firearm holders must be 21 to obtain a concealed handgun license, unless active duty military.

The law went into effect for four-year universities Aug. 1, 2016, and community colleges Aug. 1. 2017.

Since most of the community college’s student body is under 21-years of age, the law will not affect many students, said Weatherford College Police Chief Paul Stone.

The board also approved a motion to start searching for a firm that will be responsible for finding the college a new president. 

Baker was Vice President of Institutional Advancement before his new role as interim president and replaced previous college president Kevin Eaton, who is set to begin work at the college as a police records assistant Sept. 1.