"College board OK’s bonds"
Meeting in special session Tuesday, the board voted 6 to 0 in favor of posting an $8.2 million bond measure in the Wasco County portion of the college district to match an already allocated $8 million state grant. If approved, the money would go to build a new building at The Dalles campus to house wind and solar energy jobs training programs.
The Dalles Chronicle
By Keri Brenner
>>click here for original article
Board members at Columbia Gorge Community College
unanimously approved plans to post two bond measure questions on the
Nov. 2 general elections ballot.
Meeting in special session Tuesday, the board voted 6
to 0 in favor of posting an $8.2 million bond measure in the Wasco
County portion of the college district to match an already allocated $8
million state grant. If approved, the money would go to build a new
building at The Dalles campus to house wind and solar energy jobs
In the Hood River County portion of the district, the
board approved posting of a $2.2 million bond to expand and develop the
Indian Creek campus in Hood River.
Neither bond measure, if approved by voters, is
expected to increase the district’s property tax rate, said Frank Toda,
college president. That would be accomplished through a deferred
interest bond plan with a long-term payoff date of 2031, Toda said.
Toda said board members tried since last year to
raise the $8 million match to the state grant, but due to the economic
recession, other sources of private or corporate donations were not
“We have this $8 million sitting on the table, and if
we don’t get this match by next year, we’ll lose it,” Toda said.
Voting in favor of posting both bond measures were
board members, Stu Watson, James Willcox, Dave Fenwick, Charleen Cobb,
Christie Reed, and M.D. Van Valkenburgh.
Board member Ernie Keller, who made the initial
proposal for the bonds at last week’s regular board meeting, was absent.
Van Valkenburgh, who said last week he was reluctant
to approve the bond measure plan due to lack of advance review time and
because the language needed some refinements, on Tuesday gave both
measures unequivocal support.
“I wholeheartedly support the resolution as now
written for a number of reasons,” he said, citing alternative energy
jobs training, $8 million in state matching money, additional student
capacity and because the bonds will not increase the tax rate.
“This [wind and solar energy training] facility will be the only one west of the Mississippi and one-of-a-kind in the country,” Van Valkenburgh said. “Failure of this bond election would be devastating to the college district as a whole.”