Voters to decide whether to extend community college tax

By The Associated Press | Posted - Sep. 6, 2015 at 4:51 p.m.

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WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — Voters in eastern Iowa will decide this week whether to extend a property tax that helps Hawkeye Community College buy instructional equipment.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports ( ) voters in the 10 counties the college serves will decide Tuesday whether the property tax should be extended another decade starting in 2018.

The college uses the money the tax generates for equipment such as animated patient mannequins nurses use during training.

If it's approved, the levy would remain at 6 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation. At that rate, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay $3.34 per year for the equipment tax, the newspaper reported.

Hawkeye President Linda Allen said the college hopes voters will approve the tax so officials can plan ahead before the existing levy expires.

"It was important to us to use those dollars wisely," Allen said. "We're getting a little ahead of that (date) so we can secure those dollars."

The college tries to make sure it has updated technology on hand, so students can learn on what they might use in the work place, Allen said.

Since the equipment levy was established in 2008, the money has helped pay for lab upgrades, air compressors, library books, dental equipment and heavy-equipment simulators.

The patient mannequins, which can cost as much as $150,000, are used in all the health programs at the college. They allow students to practice without any chance of harming a patient.

Tiffany Meike, who supervises the college's health simulation lab, said the mannequins are an important teaching tool.

"Here in one day, I can expose them to four sets of patients," said Meike.


Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier,

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