FORT WORTH -- Tarrant County College trustees on Monday adopted an estimated $348.9 million budget for fiscal 2011-12 that raises next year's property taxes for the college district by 8 percent and tuition by 4 percent.
The 4-2 vote came after a public hearing at which five people urged the board to vote against the tax and tuition increases.
"Stop increasing your charges," said Randy Kressler, a Westworth Village councilman.
Trustees Joe Hudson and Kristin Vandergriff voted against the budget after expressing concerns about raising taxes during difficult economic times. Trustee Robyn Medina Winnett was absent.
"It really does send the wrong message," Hudson said.
But trustees who supported the budget said it is a necessary investment for the county's students.
"This is painful, but the county gets an enormous amount of benefit," Trustee O.K. Carter said.
Beginning in the spring, student tuition will increase $2 per semester hour, to $52.
The effective tax rate also increased from 13.764 cents per $100 of assessed property value to 14.897 cents.
For a home valued at the county average of $132,500, the tax bill rises from $182.40 to $197.40.
Several speakers criticized plans for a performing arts center at TCC's Northeast Campus.
"You should abandon it," taxpayer Bill Wright said. "You should lower the tax rate, not increase it."
Darla Davis, another self-described taxpayer, said that she struggles to make ends meet and that the tax increase will be another bill she will have to add to her pocketbook.
"It's already hard," she said.
Diane Smith, 817-390-7675