Workforce Training Center Means Higher Property Taxes
The EDA grant being offered to Aransas County for the creation of a Workforce Training Center in conjunction with Del Mar College in Rockport, on the face, seems to be a good idea. The Economic Development Council for the county worked hard to get this grant along with donations, in kind donations and other assistance to make this a reality. It is now up to the County to accept the grant.
The assumptions used by the grant writer do not seem to be based in reality and, if the grant is accepted and the Workforce Training Center is implemented, your property taxes will increase.
First, service area for the Workforce Training Center.
The service area for this venture is stated to be Nueces, San Patricio and Aransas Counties, but Nueces and the southern parts of San Patricio would not count as the Del Mar campuses in Corpus Christi would be closer to the students’ residences.
The 45 mile radius for the Workforce Training Center (excluding Nueces and parts of San Patricio) would include Sinton, Odem, Bayside, Aransas Pass, Port Aransas and other small towns throughout the area. This radius also includes Tivoli, Refugio and other small portions of Refugio and Calhoun Counties.
Tivoli is much closer to Port Lavaca which is serviced by Victoria College. Sinton and Odem are closer to Del Mar West. Refugio is closer to Beeville which has a Coastal Bend College campus.
Taking into account convenience of distance, the service area may be reduced to Aransas County, Aransas Pass and Port Aransas.
According to suburbanstats.org, the 2020 estimated population of Aransas County is 23,158 with 12,786 of these persons being 18–64 years old. For Aransas Pass, the estimated population is 8,204 with 4,780 being 18-64 years of age. For Port Aransas, the estimated population is 3,480 with 2,245 in this age group.
Assuming this argument is true, the intended population for the Workforce Training Center is 19,811.
The assumption for this grant is 800 students the first year with a maximum of 1,800 at some point in the future. Is this for persons looking for a two year degree and then transferring to a four year school? How about trades training? Are these 800 students each taking one class? What type and kind of students will be enrolled?
Now for the financials and all the bad news.
The assumption as to income and expenses for the Workforce Training Center is these 800 to 1800 students would be attending full time. The grant assumes a population serviced of 52,900 where these numbers for full-time students may be possible.
In our more realistic numbers, the service area is much smaller with a possible serviced population of 19,811 which will not support 800 to 1,800 full-time students.
What does this mean with respect to financial viability of the Workforce Training Center in Aransas County?
To keep this endeavor operating, citizens of Aransas County would have to be included in the Del Mar Junior College taxing district at about $0.28 per $100 valuation on property taxes. For a house assessed at $200,000, property taxes would increase $560, on average, per year and would be much higher business property taxes.
The citizens of Aransas County cannot be brought into the Del Mar Junior College taxing district without a vote. So why vote down going into the taxing district later when the better option is to say thank you EDA for the grant, but the County must politely decline?