HVCC faces budget shortfall

Posted at: 01/30/2013 8:58 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

TROY - Rensselaer County residents could see a spike in property taxes, if a funding request by Hudson Valley Community College is approved.

Now, county and college leaders are disagreeing about who should pay for a budget shortfall.

Faculty and staff poured out of a mandatory meeting at Hudson Valley Community College on Wednesday, some reeling after hearing about the fiscal dilemma at hand.

“Harsh reality. We need to get the message out that HVCC - we are a gem here we are a diamond and we're not getting the support,” says Tara O’Neill, an adjunct English professor.

The college says Rensselaer County isn't paying a fair share in its contribution to HVCC, and without an extra infusion of $2.9 million, massive layoffs could follow.

“I told our faculty and staff that it could mean a significant number of academic programs eliminated at Hudson Valley,” says HVCC President, Drew Matonek.

Matonek says the county's contribution is disproportionately lower than other counties who have to pay a chargeback for its students who attend.

He says if SUNY makes changes to the chargeback formula as expected, HVCC could stand to lose $7.9 million in revenue.

To make up the difference, the college wants Rensselaer County to increase it's funding by 88% to cover the potential loss.

“The amount that they're asking for would amount to 6 percent increase in property taxes which is three times the property tax cap,” says County Executive, Kathy Jimino.

Jimino says it's not going to happen at that level. She says HVCC has to first show that it's done everything to slash its own expenses, and that county taxpayers shouldn't have to cover money owed by the state. 

“And we can't keep going to the taxpayers to say you need to make up for yet another cost shift from the state, another shortfall from the state. Their pocketbooks are empty, turned inside out, and we need to respect that,” says Jimino.

A spokesman tells us SUNY is reserving comment about its funding of Hudson Valley Community College.

HVCC says it is already running a tight ship, recently cutting or reducing the hours of 28 jobs.