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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Iowa Valley Community College bond fails

On Tuesday, the Iowa Valley Community College (IVVC) Bond Referendum failed to pass after narrowly missing the required 60% approval mark.

The unofficial results state that the bond received 58.39% approval from voters, missing the required 60% approval rate by merely 62 votes. Overall, 3,814 ballots were cast, which included 1,496 who voted by absentee ballot or at satellite voting stations in March. The City of Grinnell saw a turnout of 452 voters, with 54.42% of them approving the bond referendum.

In an open letter published on the day after the defeat, IVCC board chair Larry Johnson thanked everyone for their participation in the referendum and called for those who voted against the bond to “articulate to our staff and to our Board the needs you see in your communities that can and should be addressed by Iowa Valley Community College District.”

Even with this defeat, Johnson pledged to continue providing quality education and improving the economic vitality of the IVCC. “This district is positioned for continued economic vitality of the various constituencies within our district. We are committed to continue to assist in workforce development and training as well as providing quality education.”

IVCC requested a $32 million bond to make upgrades at a number of its campuses across the state, including the campus at Iowa Valley Grinnell. The money would have helped finance reconstruction projects to improve the safety and accessibility of its facilities, many of which have not been updated since the 1970s.

This included a gunsmithing lab at the Grinnell campus, which planned to build a separate secure entrance to the lab and a larger polishing room. Gunsmithing students provide gun repair services for the public at a market rate. Although no ammunition is allowed on the campus, staff members or approved students are currently required to escort owners to and from the facility. If the bill had passed, a new entrance would have eliminated the need for gun owners to pass through any other parts of the building.

Further proposed improvements to the Grinnell campus included new security camera and phone systems. The plans also included a $1 million upgrade of the IVCC computer system, which has not been replaced for more than a decade.

The $32 million dollar bond would have been financed by a tax increase of 71 cents per $1000 of taxable valuation for ten years in the ten counties where IVCC campuses operate. This would have meant a homeowner with a property worth $100,000 a year would have paid $40.52 per year for ten years in order to finance these facility improvements. Even though this may seem like a steep increase, the overall tax levy rate for IVCC with the proposed bond would have been lower than the rates in 2017. Now, with the bond failing to be approved, taxpayers must only pay 81 cents per $1000.

The Marshall County Board of Supervisors will meet at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 9, to canvass the results of the bond referendum.

Iowa Valley Grinnell would have used the bond to fund several security upgrades. Photo by Andrew Tucker.
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