The Franklin County Courthouse, located on West Main Street in Malone. Alex Violo/Malone Telegram

MALONE — The Franklin County Legislature on Thursday unanimously voted to hold a public hearing next month on North Country Community College’s (NCCC) proposed $14,686,000 budget for the upcoming 2021-22 fiscal year.

NCCC President Joe Keegan, who is in his third year on the job, said, if approved, the budget would represent an increase of 4% from last year. Keegan added, the main driver for this, is due to the school planning to welcome students and educators back on campus in the fall. Dorms will be reopened, Keegan said at the meeting.

“We’ll add more costs on, because we’re bringing students back on campus and we’re bringing all of our faculty and staff back on campus,” Keegan said. “It’s mostly (because we’re) returning to an on-campus setting.”

The school is looking to recover from revenue lost to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Keegan said.

“We have some students who have a high amount of debt right now,” Keegan said. “They’re struggling to pay that and the federal stimulus guidelines have opened up and (are) allowing us to pay some of that down for them.”

Keegan said both parties benefit from this approach.

“It helps us, because we don’t incur that debt. But, more importantly, it helps the student — because they don’t get marked with bad credit and they’re able to come back to us and continue to learn,” Keegan said.

The public hearing will be held in the Chambers of the Legislature, on Aug. 5 at 10 a.m. The meeting will be on the fourth floor of the Franklin County Courthouse. The next fiscal year will begin Sept. 1.

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