With no public comment, county adopts college budget

HUDSON–The Columbia County Board of Supervisors approved the $16-million annual budget for Columbia-Greene Community College at the board’s monthly meeting Wednesday, July 12. The overall budget shows a reduction in spending over the previous school year, though the county’s contribution to the budget is up slightly to just over $3million. Greene County will also increase its contribution in the 2017-18 school year.

As examples of how the college contributes to the region, Supervisors William Hughes (D-Hudson 4th Ward) and Patrick Grattan (R-Kinderhook) both included its service to people beyond what is generally considered college age.

Speaking at a public hearing on the proposed budget for the college right before the regular meeting, Mr. Hughes observed that “a lot of” the students at the Greenport campus “are adults in retraining.” Most of them attend part time. He said he has asked state legislators who represent the county–there are four–when they talk about free tuition for SUNY students, whether that program would apply to part-time students.

“I’m a big supporter of Columbia-Greene Community College,” Mr. Hughes added. “In a community like ours, our community college is our backbone!”

Mr. Grattan observed that the average age of students attending the college 26. Indicating its inclusiveness of all ages, he declared, “It truly is a community college.”

Another supervisor called the college “an example of cooperation” between Columbia and Greene counties. “Neither county can afford it alone.”

After the supervisors spoke Matt Murell (R-Stockport) chairman of the Board of Supervisors, asked, “Does anyone from the public have a comment?” There was no answer. He repeated the question twice more with the same result. After the third silence, he closed the public hearing.

The total budget for 2017-18 is $16,256,000 down somewhat from the 2016-17 spending plan of $16.7 million.

Tuition is set at $2,263 per semester for full-time students; part-time students will pay $189 per credit hour.

The next full Board meeting of the Columbia County Supervisors will take place Wednesday, August 8, at 7:30 pm, at 401 State Street in Hudson.

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