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University of the Cumberlands details its financial contribution to community

Submitted by University of the Cumberlands

University of the Cumberlands

WILLIAMSBURG, Ky. (Nov. 20, 2012) — University of the Cumberlands’ footprint is seen daily in the city and county —in church choirs, Sunday School classes, schools, healthcare facilities, as neighbors and friends, working in vacation Bible schools and assisting with community needs. The school is committed to providing educational opportunities for students, but it is equally passionate about building community.

The university issued a release this week detailing the ways it contributes to Williamsburg and the surrounding community. University of the Cumberlands, Williamsburg and Whitley County are partners in progress, said Cumberlands’ president, Jim Taylor.

• University of the Cumberlands 2012-13 operational budget is $41,875,303. Its payroll for the 2011-12 fiscal year was $12,347,602. This equates to occupational tax paid to Whitley County of $123,476. The university has 372 faculty and staff. Of the faculty, 118 are full time and 62 are adjunct. Of the staff, 180 are full time and 12 are part time. Many own their homes, and thus pay taxes on them. They also pay taxes on their vehicles. Persons living within the city limits pay city and county taxes.

• The university has 119 contract employees hired by Aramark, Chartwells, Barnes & Noble and Storm Security, who also pay occupational tax. Many own their own homes and pay taxes on these homes. They also pay occupational tax as well as taxes on their vehicles, all of which contribute to the development of Williamsburg and Whitley County. Persons living within the city limits pay city and county taxes.

• During the fiscal year ending  June 30, Cumberlands had a student employment payroll of $2.08 million, made possible in part by donors who want to give students the opportunity to earn money for their education. More than 800 students receive workstudy funds.

• The university distributes numerous scholarships to local students. The James H. Taylor II Scholarship is awarded to eligible students from Williamsburg and Whitley County High Schools. This scholarship, given in honor of President and Mrs. Taylor’s late son Jim, is awarded to local students as a way of giving back to the community in which Jim grew up. The Bert T. Combs Scholarship is a grant that meets full-tuition costs for eligible Kentucky students. UC also distributes other scholarships that serve our community’s youth.

• More than 1,700 Cumberland alumni live in Whitley County. These professionals pay taxes, staff our schools, churches, medical facilities and more.

• Consider the following scenario: University of the Cumberlands purchased three small, older, rental houses on the corner of Main Street and Seventh Street. Between all three homes, the annual property tax paid by the owners to the city was less than $1,000 per year. The University demolished the homes and replaced them with the Lenora Fuson Harth Women’s Residence Hall, which required a building permit of $35,000 to be paid to the city. The building permit alone is the equivalent of over 35 years of resident property taxes.

Not only did the city receive the $35,000, but the university paid for considerable improvements to city-owned property surrounding Harth Hall including: the widening of 7th street, the renovation and addition of sidewalks along 7th and Main Streets, and the replacement of the city’s water line and sewer systems to accommodate the increased utilization. The annual usage of water and sewer alone by Harth Hall accounts for revenues to the city that are at least two times what they would get in residential tax paid and city services used every year by the three homes located there previously. And, unlike residential customers, the university makes upgrades and improvements to the city’s water, sewer, roads, sidewalks and traffic signage, at its expense.

Then, also, there is the economic impact of the two years’ worth of construction that helped bring construction-worker paid occupational tax dollars to Whitley County, in addition to all of the local businesses that benefited from construction-related spending.

• One other way of looking at the cost/benefit of real estate purchases is this: What if the university didn’t make property acquisitions to support its growth? What would happen to surrounding residential property values without the University of the Cumberlands’ purchase of several properties each year at a fair price?

• During that same fiscal year, Cumberlands paid $109,000 to the city for water, $109,000 to the city for sewer services, $80,000 to the city for garbage services and $42,000 to the city and tourism for hotel/restaurant tax.

• One way Cumberlands contributes to the community is through its relationship with the Williamsburg Police Department. Cumberlands provides its facility to the Williamsburg Police Department for training, and all uniformed officers are invited to eat free of charge in the T.J. Roberts Dining Hall. Recently, University of the Cumberlands was able to provide a $10,000 donation to the Williamsburg Police Department for Kevlar vests. Cumberlands also makes an annual $1,000 donation to the Shop with a Cop program.

• Cumberlands has made a commitment of $30,000 over two years to help pay for a city fire truck.

• Sharing its facilities with the community is a way for Cumberlands to help meet the needs of the Williamsburg community. Meeting space is provided without charge at the Cumberland Inn for the Kiwanis Club meeting and for the Southeastern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce meetings. Cumberlands accommodates the Whitley County Genealogical Society at the Depot building for the cost of monthly utilities. Every summer, Cumberlands hosts hundreds of kids at Camp UNITE, a program designed to educate and combat the growing drug problem in our communities.

• One of the most hands-on ways that the University of the Cumberlands reaches out to its community is through Mountain Outreach, a student-run building ministry that has been in existence since its founding in 1982 by two students. Mountain Outreach homes are peppered throughout Whitley County, and a few homes have been built in Laurel County. Every summer, three families receive a newly-built home with affordable monthly payments. When not building homes, MO students and volunteers make much-needed home repairs, such as painting, repairing leaky roofs or even building handicap access ramps. The organization also hosts Gift Days at Christmas time, allowing families to get gifts for their children. Many of these families would be unable to provide gifts for their children without this program.

• Appalachian Ministries (AM) is another ministry organization at the University of the Cumberlands that reaches the community through vacation Bible schools, weekly Bible studies and activities, food drives and nursing home visitations. The students in AM are dedicated to nurturing the spiritual health of community members, and often volunteer most, if not all, of their free time to do so. AM students can be found volunteering at Cedar Ridge recycling or stocking food baskets, and at Emergency Christian Ministries cooking or visiting with people who are housed there.

• The Hutton Leadership and Community Service Program is a four-phase program providing leadership training and community service opportunities. Students who complete a minimum of 200 community service hours are named Hutton Scholars at graduation. The class of 2012 contributed a total of 28,457 hours of service to the community, which is equivalent to 3,557 work days and 711 work weeks. At minimum wage, this year’s Hutton Scholars contributed $206,313.25 in service to the community. Since the program began 15 years ago, there have been 1,128 Hutton Scholars who have served 536,800.75 hours of community service. Considering a 40-hour work week, this represents over 220 years of community service and a value of $3,891,805 at minimum wage.

• Once a year, University of the Cumberlands hosts the Forcht Group of Kentucky Center for Excellence in Leadership Program. This event brings a national leader to Williamsburg to share an aspect of his or her leadership experiences. At the same time, the university takes this opportunity to honor community leaders. Through this program, the university promotes values such as respect and service to others, good citizenship and excellent work ethic.

• Annual sponsorship of Jellico Community Hospital’s Golf Tournament and Christmas concert.

• Twice a year, faculty and staff in the Health, Exercise and Sport Science department offer Fitness Five: Dare 2 Compare to the University students, faculty, staff and the Williamsburg community. This event offers an opportunity for free cholesterol, glucose and blood pressure screenings with help from community partners like Jellico Community Hospital, Christopher Chiropractic and others.

• The university hosts community remembrance events at its Patriot Park during July 4th and September 11th.

• The Border Bowl, the football game that annually features high school senior all-stars from Tennessee and Kentucky, is played on the University’s football field. This event brings in from 4,000 to 5,000 people to hotels, restaurants and businesses. Cumberlands provides the Jim Taylor II Stadium for the venue free of charge. The set-up, tear-down and clean-up for the event is done by university staff.

• The university also supports local schools by purchasing ads, sponsoring message boards and supporting athletic programs.