ASUCD deliberated over its 2011-12 budget during the weekend, proposing where to allocate funds for its units, such as Picnic Day, Entertainment Council and The Pantry.
Senators will vote on the revised $10.8 million budget, presented as Senate Bill 1, at Thursday’s senate meeting at 6:10 p.m. in Segundo’s Regan Main.
Writers from The California Aggie attended the three-day meeting and compiled a summary of events.
The meetings began at 5:03 p.m. with comments from ASUCD President Adam Thongsavat. After hearing some concerns, Thongsavat decided to retract his proposed $7 per week pay raises for the president, controller and senators and the $3 per week raise for commission chairs.
The senate proceeded to consider unit budgets. The Bike Barn, ASUCD Coffee House, Aggie Student Store, Unitrans, Grants EOP and Vice President’s budgets passed with minimal changes.
The table moved on to Picnic Day, which plans to expand its merchandise next year and thus have a higher income – $19,000 compared to this year’s income of $14,140. In turn, Picnic Day received a lower subsidy – $14,573 compared to this year’s subsidy of $17,272.
The STS/Tipsy Taxi budget was considered next. Director Sabastian Belser said the unit is doing well and will likely continue its Thursday service next year. The unit has a slated income of $62,500 – $20,000 higher than its budgeted income this year of $42,500. The increased income is due to Tipsy Taxi’s recent decision to raise its fare from $2 to $3 per ride.
KDVS will see a slight increase in subsidy next year, which the radio station’s general manager Neil Ruud was pleased about.
“I’m glad to see the subsidy proposal isn’t cut like the last few years,” Ruud said. “We can’t sustain subsidy cuts due to our reliance on the local economy for income.”
This year’s annual KDVS fundraiser has only yielded $51,000 in pledges thus far, although just 70 percent of that money has been received. Ruud said he’s confident that as the economy improves, the station will be able to reach its annual fundraising goal of $60,000 again.
In terms of staff, the unit added a third music director, a second label director and a multimedia director. The computer technician position was cut.
The senate closed the KDVS budget and moved on to the Experimental College. The zero-subsidy unit plans to expand its publicity and marketing, and thus aims to only transfer $6,020 from its reserves instead of this year’s $49,555.
The president’s budget was considered next. Thongsavat said he was excited, as he expects the unit to generate income for the first time in his memory. The president’s salary was kept at $119 per week, but he added a $500 line item for a one-day summit with unit directors, senators and chairs.
Thongsavat also added a line item for a community t-shirt project. The project would have the Aggie Public Arts Committee create a “What does Davis mean to you?” t-shirt to foster Aggie pride. ASUCD Senator Emmanuel Diaz-Ordaz said that students are already getting enough t-shirts. ASUCD Senator Eli Yani said the funding for the project seemed excessive. This year’s special projects budget is $1,800, and Thongsavat’s proposal has his special projects at $3,150. A motion was made and passed to reduce the project budget to $3,000 – only ASUCD Senator Brendan Repicky voted against it.
The hearing adjourned for the night at 8:26 p.m.
At 12:04 p.m. the senate began with Creative Media’s budget. The unit has a $1,500 surplus, which Thongsavat said he’d like to see go back into the unit. The senate closed the budget with the surplus temporarily floating.
The budgets for Administration General, Cal Aggie Camp and City and County Affairs were closed with minimal changes.
The senate opened the Whole Earth Festival’s (WEF) budget, which proposes a $7 per week pay raise for its two unit directors.
“They have not received a pay raise in 15 years,” said ASUCD Controller Don Ho. “Even then, their pay raise was to $77 per week. If you count inflation and all that, what they’re asking for is very modest.”
There was also some concern due to the recent decision to discontinue the WEF DJ stage. Ho said the change should not affect the budget, and that funds designated for the state will be allocated elsewhere within the festival.
“Unlike Picnic Day, WEF has a very different clientele that they draw every single year … They don’t see this hurting their income whatsoever,” he said.
The senate closed the budget and opened Grants. Debate centered on the funding capabilities of Club Finance Council (CFC) – ASUCD Senator Tatiana Moana Bush wanted to allocate some of CFC’s funds to the cultural and lavender graduations. The graduations have a budget of $3,000, which Bush said is not enough.
ASUCD Senator Andre Lee was resistant to changing any of the line items in Grants.
“Safeboats has been needing funding for a while now too, but I’ve been trying to resist asking for extra funding for things I think need funding for the sake of the budget. I’d like to see other people do that too,” he said.
Thongsavat agreed, and said that CFC is the most impartial place to put funds.
“I understand ethnic grads are a huge thing to put on – a huge undertaking – but we can’t hold things to a different standard and expect other line items that want budgets to increase to increase also,” he said.
The senate decided to close the Grants budget when the University Affairs unit director arrived. They quickly opened and closed the University Affairs budget and returned to Grants, where the senate discussed Safeboats for a while before closing Grants again.
General Programs, which provides funds to Blood Source, the Basement Gallery, Greek Week, Cross Cultural Center weeks and other events, and Refrigeration Services were both closed with minimal changes.
The ASUCD Book Exchange was completely cut, which Thongsavat said was an easy decision.
“Income has steadily declined drastically,” he said.
The majority of Book Exchange funds – $6,280 – are being distributed to Administration General and Cal Aggie Camp.
Saturday concluded with consideration of The California Aggie’s budget, which did not change much from this year’s budget. The meeting adjourned for the day at 3:06 p.m.
The final day of budget hearings began at noon with consideration of the Student Government budget.
The budget has two added line items – one for the Aggie Public Arts Committee (APAC) of $300 and one for the Music on the Green concert of $500. Elections Committee saw a $1,000 budget increase from $6,500 to $7,500. Internal Affairs Commission received an additional $59.
There’s also a Staff Development line item of $99.
“It’s the idea that the senate, like the commissions, would all go out for dinner, or get food brought to a meeting or get shirts,” ASUCD Vice President Bree Rombi said. “Every senate has wanted one.”
Yani said he still didn’t see the purpose of the item.
“Commissioners don’t make money. Senators do,” he said.
Outreach Assembly Speaker Sabrina Dias wanted an additional $200 for the assembly’s grant, but the table didn’t consider the request. Instead, the table motioned to increase the APAC’s funding from $300 to $450.
“APAC is one of our new and growing committees with a lot of projects slated for next year – it’d be really beneficial for them to have the funds to do so and to see what they are capable of,” said ASUCD Senator Darwin Moosavi.
The motion passed with an 8-4 vote. Senators Diaz-Ordaz, Miguel Espinoza, Lee and Rebecca Sterling voted no.
Senate moved on to AggieTV’s budget, which is set to receive a subsidy of $14,516 – $3,126 more than this year’s budget.
Job titles within AggieTV changed and now include a Business Director, which Thongsavat said should help the unit’s finances and generate more income.
ASUCD Senator Matt Provencher complimented AggieTV’s recent LipDub video and suggested adding a line item for similar projects.
“It would be around $1,000, which is a lot of money, but this is a unit that can show that they can do great things,” he said.
AggieTV director Megan Frantz said the LipDub cost roughly $1,200 and the unit fundraised $1,000 for it. The senate decided to add a $500 special projects line under expenses and a $500 commercial advertisements line under income before closing the budget.
The budget for City and County Affairs was reopened, and the senate raised the income and expense numbers from $10,339 to $11,702. The Post Office budget was opened and closed without changes.
Aggie ReStore, a new campus unit to sell recycled goods at a low price, was then considered. It is a zero-subsidy unit, operating on a budget of $1,489. Moosavi said he’s already received $680 in donations from WEF, Picnic Day and the Environmental Policy and Planning Commission.
There was some debate as to whether or not the unit should have a paid director, which Moosavi advocated for. Jared Hein, Business and Finance chair, disagreed.
“There are no numbers to back up any income projection and they have no space in the [Memorial Union] yet,” Hein said.
Thongsavat said worse comes to worst, the unit fails and the association could absorb the costs – other units overdraft far more than $1,400. The senate closed the budget and opened the Campus Center for the Environment (CCE).
Repicky advocated for CCE and suggested bumping up one of the position’s salaries and adding another publicity position.
“We’re advocating for sustainability but we see an opportunity to include more of the campus,” he said. “We’ve had many goals that we have yet to achieve and this extra paid position would help us achieve those goals.”
After some debate, the senate didn’t add a position but they did motion to give a pay raise to the Zero Waste Event coordinator – $35 per week instead of $28. Yani voted against the raise and Diaz-Ordaz abstained.
Project Compost was considered and closed, Picnic Day was reopened, altered slightly and closed again and Student Government was reopened and closed without changes.
Senate opened The Pantry. Director Hannah Kirshner said the unit is close to serving 5,000 students and has used 9,000 products.
“We have the ability to serve upward of 15,000 students. I think that’s a huge deal. We should not be overlooked,” she said.
Kirshner asked for a fourth paid position for the unit, aimed at educating students through lectures, cooking classes, outreach and other events. Thongsavat said he didn’t want The Pantry to move toward education and that the Student, Health and Wellness Committee could work on that in conjunction with The Pantry instead. Ultimately, members of the table compromised, adding an assistant director position and decreasing the salaries of the other three positions. The Pantry’s total subsidy came to $6,175 – $3,691 higher than the unit’s current operating budget.
The senate moved on, opening and closing the Lobby Corps budget. Entertainment Council’s budget was then opened. The budget has a decreased subsidy of $67,148 compared to last year’s subsidy of $84,905, in part due to the new Entertainment Council reserve fund for large-scale shows. There was also some debate on whether or not the publicity budget should be lowered from $6,000 to $5,500. Ultimately, the senate decided to keep the Entertainment Council publicity budget at $6,000 and closed the budget.
From the remaining budget surplus, the senate allocated $150 to KDVS for equipment and purchases and $56 to the vice president’s ASUCD scholarship publicity fund. Repicky voted no against the KDVS allocation.
Several different suggestions were made regarding where to put the remaining surplus, including CCE, AggieTV, The Pantry and the Business and Finance Commission for business manager training. After discussion, the senate settled on dividing the surplus and giving $74 each to the Pantry and CCE. Thongsavat then gave $50 from his publicity budget to the Business and Finance Commission.
The senate then motioned to move $70 from the Gender and Sexuality Commission (GASC) budget to go toward purchasing 500 condoms for SafeBoats. Espinoza had objections regarding cutting the GASC budget any further but Caitlin Alday, GASC chair, was in support of the motion.
“We definitely could always use more money but at the same time I do want to show support for safe sex in an environment where condoms are really needed,” Alday said.
The motion passed with a 10-2 vote – Espinoza and Diaz-Ordaz voted no.
Budget hearings adjourned at 6:37 p.m.
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Correction – May 19, 2011:
May 18 article, “ASUCD to finalize budget,” it is incorrectly stated that ASUCD
Senator Brendan Repicky advocated for adding another publicity position for the
Campus Center for the Environment. He was quoted as saying, “We’re advocating
for sustainability but we see an opportunity to include more of the campus.
We’ve had many goals that we have yet to achieve and this extra paid position
would help us achieve those goals.” This quote is correct, but he was not
talking about a new publicity position. He was referring to the new Student
Research Education Coordinator position, which was in the president’s proposed
budget. The senate table was not debating a new publicity position, rather,
more funding for publicity. The Aggie regrets this error.
Clarification – May 19, 2011:
The article states that STS/Tipsy Taxi’s higher projected income is due to its fare increase. The high income is partially due to the fare increase. It is also due to a rise in charters.