Measure F oversight committee formed
April 23, 2015
Lake Tahoe Community College welcomed the new members of its Measure F Citizens Oversight Committee and immediately briefed them during an initial meeting on April 16.
The committee represents local voters interests in the $55 million bond passed by voters on Nov. 4, 2014. While the college district can issue up to $55 million, it must be spent on a list of capital projects associated with the measure.
The committee is made of Brooke Laine and Matt Lucksinger representing the business community, Roberta Mason representing a senior citizen's organization, Leon Malmed from the college foundation. Carmen Delgado and Richard Fischer were appointed as the at-large members.
The board of trustees appointed James Gallanty as the oversight committee's to represent the college's student interests. A vacancy remains to represent a tax payer association.
At the April 16 meeting, college staff and bond legal counsel briefed Mason, Laine, Lucksinger and Fischer on the ins-and-outs of the bond.
John Palmer with legal firm Orrick, Herrington and Sutcliffee explained that the oversight committee will watch and ensure that bond revenues are spent on the appropriate things.
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The way this is done is through an annual report, in line with LTCC's required audit process.
However, they act only as an advisory body to the LTCC board of trustees.
"The committees role is to review not to spend it on them," Palmer said. "There have been a few districts where the oversight committee taking on a pre-approval. Since the committee isn't a publicly elected, should leave policy making to the elected officials."
The board of trustees has the ultimate decision in redefining the scope of a bond project or scaling back on the overall project.
Should the oversight committee feel the decisions made aren't in line with the bond goals, they can sue in their right as private citizens. If successful, the court could enjoin the district from spending any more bond money and could force the district to replace improperly spent bond revenue with funds from its general fund.
College President Kindred Murillo stressed that was unlikely to happen.
"We have a conservative board and so felt this would be a conservative bond," Murillo said.
Murillo said the district's board will work with the committee to ensure proper communications.
Jeff DeFranco, LTCC's administrative vice president, said the college has a combination of short term and long term projects lined up even as it gears up for its first bond sales.
Acceptable bond expenses include the administrative oversight and management that comes with the planning process.
He said some of the initial projects include upgrades to the core buildings, such as the front student administrative desk.
Funding for many projects play a part in leveraging more money from both private donations and state grants.
DeFranco said some priorities might shift, including how funding is allocated. An example would be the district's initial goal to use $825,000 to renovate a facility to accommodate upper-division courses.
However, the college received a $5.8 million donation by Lisa Maloff for a university center, where partner colleges could provide access to four-year and graduate programs for local students. Because of the donation, DeFranco said the $825,000 could be re-appropriated.
DeFranco added with the donation, the University Center may jump ahead of other projects in the construction queue.
Some projects, like a student residential facility, will remain on the table, but it will need to examine all angles, including a type of public-private partnership.
"The intent is still there," DeFranco said. "I don't think we can become a premier college destination without some type of residential living."
Overall, construction and bond projects will be governed by a master facilities plan, complimented by a educational master plan.