The Board of Trustees voted to approve $11 million on additional Measure P projects but remained undecided on what to do with a $4 million surplus.
Trustee Geoffrey Baum was the only no vote in a motion to spend over $11 million on fifteen additional construction projects because the motion did not include the intention to return the remaining $4 million surplus to taxpayers.
“If the motion does not include the intention to return a fixed amount to the taxpayers, I will be voting against it,” said Baum before the vote. “The remaining balance no less than $4 million dollars should be returned.”
In 2002, Pasadena Area Community College District voters approved Measure P, a $150 million general obligation bond to repair and rehabilitate campus facilities.
With many of the big projects already completed like the Center for the Arts building, the Campus Center, parking structures and others, there’s a $15.5 million remaining balance.
According to the motion, about $2.5 million is proposed for classroom conversions, $1.7 million for restroom upgrades and millions more for other projects such as dental classroom expansions, walkways and lighting rehabilitation and math center renovations.
After a 20-minute debate, the motion was voted on and passed with Baum being the sole no vote.
“I’m not opposed to doing the projects that are recommended but, I want the District to set aside remaining funds and return them to the taxpayers,” said Baum. “Dr. Rocha said we do not plan to spend that money [the $4 million surplus} at this time and they will be coming back to the board with a recommendation in the future. I hope that they will then commit to returning it to the taxpayer.”
Other board members expressed their support for fixing what ever needs to be fixed first before returning funds to the taxpayers.
“I like the idea of giving back [the remaining funds] to the community it’s a good political move but, I think more importantly we have a lot of things here which I think if the taxpayers would see it they would agree with us that they need to be fixed,” said trustee Belinda Brown.
Baum represents Area 1 in the District which includes La Canada/Flintridge, west Pasadena and west Altadena. Baum will soon be replaced on the board by newly elected financial consultant Ross Selvidge.
“That was one of my last meetings. I won’t be here six months from now but, I wanted to make that statement [of returning the funds to taxpayers] at that meeting because returning the money to the tax payers is the right thing to do,” said Baum.