Gcc Board President Postpones Tax Election Without Board Approval

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Was it legal?

Gila Community College board member Tom Loeffler raised the question after board chairman Bob Ashford announced at a meeting Thursday that he had postponed the March tax levy election members agreed to until the following November.

“I think the chairman has taken improper liberties,” said member Larry Stephenson after the meeting.

“Don’t you think there are some legal questions that should be raised?” agreed Loeffler.

Ashford didn’t return a request seeking comment about his motivation.

“He’s going against the board,” said Stephenson, who voted against the tax election because of questions surrounding the college’s finances.

“The motion of the last meeting still holds.”

About a month ago, the board agreed to ask voters to approve a 25-cent secondary property tax to raise $1.2 million to solve the college’s budget deficit, now estimated to reach $743,000 by the end of the fiscal year.

When the board approved the levy election last month, however, members were unsure of the deficit’s exact magnitude.

Previous estimates ranged from $2 million before cuts to $500,000.

“At this point, I don’t see any other option,” said Ashford at the time.

On Thursday, Loeffler asked about the secondary tax levy’s specific purpose. When presented to voters, secondary tax levies must offer a use, such as building facilities or expanding courses.

When the board approved the levy election, however, it didn’t identify a purpose other than solving the deficit.

The county attorney present Thursday advised Loeffler not to ask the question since the topic wasn’t agendized.

No answer was given.

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