COM Bond 2023 Frequently Asked Questions
Bonds for learning environments are very similar to a home mortgage. To finance construction for new facilities or other capital projects, educational institutions (i.e., colleges) sell bonds to investors who will be paid principal and interest over a period of up to 40 years
The college must first gain approval by voters through a bond election before it can issue bonds. Funds received through bonds may be used strictly for capital projects including new construction, renovations, facilities/technological enhancements, etc. They may not be used toward salaries, operational expenses (i.e., utility bills) or other maintenance costs.
The COM Board of Trustees called for a $250 million bond to address enrollment and program growth, aging facilities, safety and security and infrastructure improvements. Community volunteers from the College’s taxing entities of Texas City, La Marque, Dickinson, Hitchcock and Santa Fe met throughout the fall 2022 semester to review the College’s long-range master plans for academics, program offerings and construction.
The buildings proposed in the bond package respond directly to identified needs outlined in the college’s long-range master plan, COMPASS 2025. The bond package itself evolved in response to the communities’ higher education and academic training needs. It prioritizes innovative learning options to effectively prepare the regional workforce of the future.
The proposed bond package is for $250 million.
No. Once voters approve a bond, it takes a year or more for COM to develop facilities plans with architects. Once the plans are complete, the College sells the bonds in stages to correspond with the costs for each phase of construction. The tax impact on voters is gradual, as bonds are sold over time to fund the phased construction projects. It may take several years for all bond projects to be completed and for voters to realize the total taxable impact.
At COM, we pride ourselves on not having raised our tuition in more than 12 years. More than 63 percent of our students are first generation, meaning they are the very first in their families to pursue higher education. And 75 percent of our students are part-time, meaning they are juggling school with work, families, etc. Being able to provide our community members with access to a high-quality, affordable education is critically important.
The cost of college tuition is one of the greatest barriers to educational access. In order to receive enough funding via a tuition increase to cover the costs of the projects outlined in the COM 2023 bond, we would have to triple the tuition for all students. This would all but cripple many of them, making access to the education they need out of reach.
Meanwhile, Galveston County, and more specifically, our taxing district, is rapidly growing. According to the Houston-Galveston Council, Galveston County is expected to grow 55 percent by 2045. Therefore, it makes most sense to present phase II of the COM 10-year master facilities plan via a bond to voters on the May 2023 ballot.
Funds received through bonds may be used on various capital projects including new construction, renovations, facilities/technological enhancements, etc. They may not be used toward salaries, operational expenses (i.e., utility bills) or other maintenance costs.
|New Library/Classroom Building||$96,193,410|
|New Corporate & Continuing Education Center||$14,357,226|
|New Public Services Center||$35,893,064|
|New 3-Story Classroom Building||$43,490,943|
|Welding Building Addition/Renovation||$8,008,145|
|College Services (PSC) Addition/Renovation||$9,487,754|
|Industrial Education Building Renovation||$10,648,278|
|Infrastructure Upgrades and Campus Improvements||$29,826,273|
|Racqetball Court Demolition||$48,680|
|College Services Building Demolition||$236,603|
|Firing Range Building Demolition||$173,084|
|Value Less Exemptions||$80,000|
|I&S Tax Rate||0.000409|
Once voters approve a bond, it takes a year or more for COM to develop facilities plans with architects. Once the plans are complete, the College sells the bonds in stages to correspond with the costs for each phase of construction.
Regional growth, aging facilities and campus safety are three primary drivers of why COM is pursuing another bond election in May 2023. The facilities COM built from the 2018 bond included additional “shell” space in its architectural designs to ensure the College would have room to grow.
Galveston County is one of the fastest-growing counties. As a result, more residents and companies are relocating into the region, resulting in more demand for expanded programs, and increased student enrollment. The College has already used all available shell space in our new facilities.
Additionally, many of the remaining structures on campus are +50 years old. They are physically in poor shape, costly to maintain, don’t provide modern-day learning spaces, and present significant concerns from a safety and accessibility standpoint.
The last bond program was approved by voters in 2018.
|New 160,000 SF STEAM / Allied Health Building|
|New 90,000 SF Industrial Careers Building|
|New 60,000 SF Student Success Building|
|Physical Plant Expansion|
|Fine Arts Building Theater Renovations|
|Life Cycle and Technology Upgrades|
|Police Station Demolition|
|Tech Voc Building Demolition|
|Administration Center Demolition|
|Total Bond Recommendation: $162,500,000|
All projects from the 2018 bond program have been successfully completed — on time and budget.
Property taxes are not affected for residents 65 and older (or disabled) if the appropriate homestead exemptions are filed with the Galveston County Appraisal District.
No, we are proud to say that we have not increased student tuition in more than 12 years, and the passage of this bond would not change that.
COM’s taxes are comprised of Maintenance and Operations (M&O) and Interest & Sinking (I&S) rates. The M&O rate is used to operate the College (salaries, bills, repairs, etc.). The I&S rate is used to pay debt, such as bonds (for construction and other capital improvements).
Regional growth will not slow down. COM’s aging facilities will remain and its ability to service ongoing demand for new academic and workforce programs will become limited. If the bond does not pass, COM would likely conduct a community survey with the intent of trying again in the future. Until then, COM would need to identify solutions for providing students with a quality learning experience and meeting the growth demands.
The last day to register to vote in the May 6 election is Thursday, April 6.
For the May 6 election, early voting begins on Monday, April 24, and ends on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
To request a mail-in ballot for the May 6 election, contact the Galveston County Elections Clerk no later than Tuesday, April 25, 2023.
Election Day is Saturday, May 6, 2023.