ASUCD began its annual budget hearings last weekend, reviewing the budgets of all units on campus, such as the Bike Barn, AGTV and Picnic Day.
The total operating budget for next year is $10.5 million. Senators will vote on the final budget at their meeting Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Mee Room.
“Many of the [cuts] were more like reallocations to different units,” said Controller Joey Chen, who presented the budget to senators and a management team.
Writers from The California Aggie Campus Desk attended the meetings and compiled a summary of events.
The senate began with Lobby Corps’ budget. Lobby Corps saw no dramatic change in their subsidy this year. However, the senate amended pay for internal and external directors, lowering their pay from $49 per week to $42 per week and closed the budget.
The senate also closed the budgets for the Coffee House, Refrigerator Services, Bike Barn and Campus Copies/Classical Notes without significant changes.
“I wanted to point out a trend in tonight’s suggestions, and that is that we’ve been pushing to cut student pay,” said senator Levi Menovske said. “We shouldn’t attack the students that are already getting paid significantly less than they should.”
Whole Earth Festival had the same budget as last year’s budget because they won’t know how much income they brought in until all the figures from the festival arrive. Chen suggested tentatively closing the budget and reopening it when the directors can determine better numbers.
The Campus Center for the Environment (CCE) petitioned for an increased budget for the next year. Debate centered on the salaries of four new positions created for the 2010-2011 budget. The unit currently has two paid positions currently filled by three individuals. Proposals were made to cut the program director and add three new spots.
The senate closed discussion for the night and returned to the CCE budget on Saturday.
The senate continued budget hearings on Saturday by first considering the budget of Creative Media, which concluded without much deliberation.
The senate then motioned to consider the budget for the Campus Center for the Environment (CCE).
CCE co-director Lauren Jabusch, said it was important to fund the positions, stressing a message of urgency to come to a decision.
“Our core issue is that as a campus is floundering in the environmental sea,” Jabusch said. “It’s becoming apparent we need to do more now, rather than later. I know that three directors or five employees will not save the world but it is a step in the right direction.”
Unable to come to a decision, the senate temporarily closed consideration of the CCE budget and moved to the Tipsy Taxi budget. However, errors on budget printouts created confusion about the pay-rate of Tipsy Taxi dispatchers and manager, at which the senate closed consideration to re-calculate the totals.
Senators then returned to consideration of CCE.
Both Business and Finance Commission Chair Jeff Williams and senator Adam Thongsavat and presented separate budgets. Williams said that his plan would cost less but said he did not know where the money would come from.
Thongsavat’s revised budget eventually passed and the CCE budget was closed.
Next up for discussion was the budget for University Affairs. President Zwald proposed a plan that would remove $800 from the voter registration budget. When Menovske questioned this decision, Zwald reminded the senate of the ASUCD deficit and said that other campus groups do a better job of voter registration for free.
Tensions ran high at one point as Menovske pointed out Zwald’s membership in the Davis College Democrats as a reason that he may want to cut the voter registration budget from University Affairs.
Zwald responded with evident anger at what he described as a personal attack on management. Menovske later apologized.
The senate decided to create a new line item in the budget that would be entitled “elections” and would include money for both voter registration and voting.
The budget for Project Compost was closed fairly quickly without significant changes.
Discussion got heated again when the senate began debating AGTV’s budget. Many senators advocated for the creation of a web-master position to maintain the group’s webpage but cited the deficit as an obstacle that may make it difficult to create a salaried position.
Senator Don Ho and Alison Tanner were some of AGTV’s biggest proponents, each confident that allocating funds for a webmaster would increase sales and income. Ho proposed an amendment to expand AGTV’s budget, which was eventually agreed upon.
The ASUCD Post Office budget was only slightly changed to reflect the post office’s eight-hour workdays instead of seven-hour workdays. The senate also discussed and closed the Picnic Day and the Experimental College budgets without any changes.
The senators discussed the 2010-2011 budget for the ASUCD Book Exchange with Director Tonhu Do.
The initial budget had a $1,531 deficit, which the senate resolved by making cuts in compensation, closing the budget with a $219 surplus and a decreased subsidy by approximately $13,000.
In an effort to avoid problems that arose this time last year, the senate made changes to the Grants budget that allows for the Cross Cultural Center and the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Resource Center to organize community-specific graduation programs. A council will be created to see to the allotment of said funds.
Zwald allocated $11,707 for senate reserves – just above the minimum $11,706.90. Senate reserves are mainly comprised of money collected from students as part of their campus-based fees. Zwald said that it seemed logical to cut from senate reserves to fill out the budget cuts since senate frequently has money left over.
In the student government budget, Zwald added a web director and changed the webmaster’s salary into a stipend. The senate voted to make $200 worth of pay cuts to SGAO.
Senators then debated how the surplus money should be allocated to student government commissions.
Sarah Raridon, chair of the Gender and Sexuality Commission (GASC) presented the ASUCD senators with a proposed GASC budget, hoping for an increase in funding.
While the LGBTRC, which works in conjunction with GASC, recently received funds from Chancellor Linda Katehi, Raridon said this new money would only barely cover the costs of what she described as an already struggling resource center.
Senators eventually approved increased funds to GASC. The commission was allocated $1,100 from a budget surplus.
The senate then closed the budgets for The California Aggie, The Vice President’s fund, UNITRANS, City and County Affairs and the General Administration’s fund.
Chen announced several changes to the KDVS budget, amounting to a $41,467 subsidy. KDVS General Manager Kevin Corrigan was pleased with the budget allotment, which left ASUCD senators with a surplus of $1,056.
Cal Aggie Camp’s budget was somewhat contentious, as both program representatives expressed that the allotted budget for mailing, copying, printing, transportation and the assistant director’s position were inadequate. Upon a proposal from Menovske, the mailing budget was raised from $100 to $150 and the copying and printing budget from $50 to $150 using the surplus funds. Also, undocumented profits from Greek philanthropy contributions added a line item of $3,000, which the Cal Aggie Camp director asked be used to increase the food budget from $10,000 to $13,000. Overall, the subsidy for this unit amounted to $22,124, with senators promising to revisit the possibility of allotting additional funds once the final surplus was determined.
Zwald proposed cutting his own budget by 15 percent, entirely eliminating the Director of Special Projects position and reducing spending on transportation, office supplies and staff pay.
Menosvke sought to increase the $906 budget surplus by potentially eliminating the position of Kevin Pascual, director of public affairs for the executive office.
“It seems as if there are already people that fulfill the duties of [this] position,” Menovske said. “We need to think of ways to increase this surplus so that funds can be redirected to units that need them.”
When asked for his opinion on achieving this goal, Zwald said that as long as the budgets of his staff remained untouched, he would be amenable to a pay reduction or even a complete elimination of his salary.
Senator Abrham Castillo-Ruiz motioned to reduce office of the president line item “administration program expenses” from $1,000 to $500 and line item “services rendered” down to $300 from $600, resulting in a final budget surplus of $1,706.
Castillo-Ruiz motioned to amend the line item for anonymous HIV testing from the previously-allotted $400 to $1205 as well as increase the Ethnic and Cultural Affairs Commission budget by $100.
In addtion, Castilllo-Ruiz motioned to a pay raise totaling $461 for the year, including benefits, for the staff of the AS Papers unit. Menovske was the sole senator in objection, arguing that it was fiscally irresponsible to be increasing the pay for positions in some units while eliminating positions in others.
The remaining $340 surplus was divided between a motion by senator Bree Rombi to allot $200 for the Student Recruitment and Retention Center to host leadership conferences and motions by Thongsavat to give $100 to the Environmental Planning and Policy Commission, as well as $40 to the Internal Affairs Commission. All three motions passed with a 10-1-1 vote, with Ho absent and Menovske in opposition.
Controller Joey Chen proposed an amendment to shave $1,000 off the Tipsy Taxi unit’s budget of $9,010. Juarez motioned for Chen’s proposed amendment, which passed unanimously.
The budget hearings adjourned at 8:36 p.m.
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