University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Chancellor Chris Thomason reported some effects of the recent cuts made by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, due to the large downturn in state revenue collections, at the UACCH Board of Visitors meeting Friday.

University of Arkansas Community College at Hope Chancellor Chris Thomason reported some effects of the recent cuts made by Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, due to the large downturn in state revenue collections, at the UACCH Board of Visitors meeting Friday.


Thomason seemed to struggle with the news but did remain optimistic as he also reported significant losses on the recent roofing project on campus as well.

“We were originally forecasted to receive 100 percent of our category A budget appropriations and 18 percent of category B. At that time I commented we were fortunate that we did not have as much in B, for a change. I did not realize how fortunate we were,” Thomason said.
Thomason said most board members were aware that the first quarter of the fiscal year in Arkansas, “had not been a good quarter.”

“As a matter of fact, I think we have seen the largest downturn in state revenue collections in over 20 years, which results in our governor being forced to have DFNA issue two percent cuts in all state agencies, including higher ed.,” Thomason informed. “Hitting in those numbers you were seeing the largest downturn did occur in corporate income tax collections, with about a $19.9 million shortfall which was proportionally the largest downturn of 22.1 percent of any category within our budget revenue collections.”

 He said that was important because that makes up Workforce 2000 funds, which also makes up a large portion of funds that UACCH benefits from.
“That generated a net loss for us of our original forecast of $91,513. There is an additional loss on stimulus fund money there for restoration purposes,” Thomason said.

He said that was money UACCH had not originally planned for anyway and that not all cuts were significant.
His optimism in the situation seemed to stem from the fact that the UACCH faculty and staff had been being cautious in budget matters for some time.
“UACCH, and this campus, this faculty and staff for a long time has been tightening belts. That will ultimately be the saving grace for UACCH. We will not see any employee reductions or anything based on these cuts,” Thomason said.

Thomason did not fail to admit if there is not a broad economic recovery in Arkansas, that there is a possibility of seeing significant cuts.
“There is concern for the fiscal year 2011, but we are very optimistic those recovery forecasts will turn around. Based on what the DFNA is telling us, that will not be a significant issue,” he said.

He said he does not expect the community or campus to see an appreciable change in the UACCH product or service.
“These cuts are tough, but that burden is being shouldered by our faculty and staff,” Thomason said.

On the roofing project report, there were three sections of the project that had water damage each time. He said the project is complete now, with only minor issues left to deal with.

“We are making insurance claims on the damage done to the interior building; the first was the most significant,” Thomason said.
He reported the total loss of the combined three sections was “a little shy of $140,000,” with the total contract at $262,000.

“It was a significant loss when you compared the overall size of the project, but everyone has weathered the storm, the business office is back in place and things are hanging back on the walls,” he said.

Thomason said a valuable lesson was learned from the project. Retired state senator and board member Jim Hill questioned Thomason on just what had they learned from that.

Thomason seemed cheerfully hesitant, but did not go without stating what he felt was the lesson learned,
“The low bid may not always be the best method, and we sure have had a lot of rain,” he said.