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Davis, California

Thursday, April 18, 2024

ASUCD units struggle with budgeting, look to add financial managing positions

With budget hearings in May, AggieTV and the Entertainment Council are hoping to improve their budget management with new paid positions.

Two weeks ago, the Business and Finance Commission (BFC) made a pre-audit presentation to the ASUCD senate suggesting a new business manager position for AgTV as well as for the Entertainment Council to replace a current position with a new financial coordinator.

“Currently [Entertainment Council] has an estimated budget of around $100,000, so it is crucial that there is someone specifically overseeing their budget at all times,” said Leticia Cheng, a junior economics major and commissioner for BFC. “Specifically, they need someone there to offer financial advice and to make sure that all the [Entertainment Council] positions are effectively utilizing their individual line items.”

The funding for Entertainment Council and AgTV’s services come from the $8 per student that is given to ASUCD from student fees. In 2009-2010, Entertainment Council’s subsidy was $90,274 and AgTV’s was $11,016.

Entertainment Council, which is in charge of providing film screenings, music concerts and other forms of entertainment, is currently working on responsibly distributing their budget.

During Cheng’s presentation to the ASUCD senate, she said that Entertainment Council had trouble with managing funds, specifically in relation to the 30 Seconds to Mars concert in January. The unit originally paid a large sum of money for the concert that the promoter was supposed to cover. These circumstances could be avoided in the future with a financial coordinator, she said.

Entertainment Council director Perry Sanesanong declined to explain Entertainment Council’s past budget problems.

“We are not currently planning on any additional staff members, just reallocating certain tasks to positions so that the jobs are more specific,” Sanesanong said.

The new financial coordinator would replace the current assistant unit director position.

“[The Coordinator] will also be in charge of deciding where funds should be proportioned,” Cheng said. “This could also mean negotiating for the cheapest venue prices, sound equipment and deciding where and when concerts are fiscally reasonable.”

AgTV, which is known for providing students with videos, entertainment and recaps of events, is looking to make their unit more self-sustaining and hopes that the position will allow for growth and structural improvements.

“We are hoping the business manager will be dedicated to sole liaison between AgTV and outside organizations interested in producing promotional videos and maybe advertisements,” said Megan Frantz, a senior American studies and technocultural studies double major and executive producer of AgTV. “This collaboration has the potential to increase profits and create more income for the future.”

Currently BFC is looking toward ways to add these jobs and still keep budgets feasible.

“I believe this is more than feasible and definitely a change that will go a long way,” Cheng said. “At the moment, AgTV has no position dedicated to this type work so when presenting this idea next month, we hope to make this point clear.”

The estimated salary for the position has yet to be negotiated and will likely result from discussion at the budget hearings.

“We would not plan for this type of change within the organization if we weren’t truly serious about taking on the added responsibility,” Frantz said.

Currently both units are undergoing budget meetings with their unit directors, senators and the ASUCD controller.

The final decisions will be made after this May’s budget hearing meetings.

“After we have discussed in more detail the job description and stipend we will be able to propose the amounts in budget hearings,” Cheng said.

RACHEL LEVY can be reached at campus@theaggie.org.


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