Tyler Junior College will give raises to full-time employees for the first time in more than three years.

TJC trustees unanimously approved the salary proposal Thursday during its regularly scheduled board meeting.

More than 600 employees will receive the 2 percent raise plus $500 for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

TJC President Dr. Mike Metke said he and trustees appreciate the employees' work and the success the college has had, and this is a validation of that.

"While we'd like to do more, this is the best we can do right now," he said before the board took the vote.

Board President John Hills said giving the raises is particularly important because they haven't been awarded in so long.

"The faculty is the most important link in this education chain," he said.

Metke left open the door for higher raises midyear if enrollment exceeds expectations. However, that is not expected.

The raises will cost the college more than $830,000. TJC will get slightly more additional revenue from the state for employee benefits, but it's still going to be a tight budget year, Metke said.

TJC's raises fall slightly under the average being proposed by other community colleges around the state, Metke previously said. However, he said, the college does try to stay competitive.

The board approved a proposed tax rate of 19.99 cents per $100 valuation, the same as the current rate.

Despite that, Chief Financial Officer Sarah Van Cleef said she expects a 2 percent increase in property valuations this year, which would bring the college an additional $500,000 in revenue.

The plan is to put that revenue toward the college preservation fund, which already has more than $500,000. That would bring the total to about $1.4 million, Metke previously said.

The preservation fund, created in 2009, is to be used to maintain the college infrastructure so that is doesn't deteriorate. Metke said the college needs about $4.5 million in the fund to be able to take care of current and future buildings. He said the college will continue to add to it annually as feasible.

The college has scheduled public tax hearings for 11 a.m. Aug. 8 and 5:30 p.m. Aug. 15 in the White Administrative Services Center Board Room on the TJC main campus.



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