Finance Board makes recommendations for cost centers
The budgets for CU’s cost centers are making the transition to Legislative Council following its meeting Thursday night, when it heard the report from Finance Board on its recommendations for each cost center’s budget scenario.
Finance Board has been working with the cost centers since the budget process began on Feb. 5. Since then, it has heard two different readings of budget scenarios from each of the 12 cost centers.
Cate Greguras, chair of Finance Board and a senior accounting major, said that communication between cost centers and the board was better this year than it had been last year.
“This year, I think things went really well,” she said.
Greguras and Collin Lesser, Vice Chair of Finance Board and a senior accounting major, were present at the meeting to read the board’s recommendations to Legislative Council. They went through the cost centers one by one, beginning with the “Big 3” before discussing the other nine.
The UMC, the Rec Center and Wardenburg compose the “Big 3.” Smaller cost centers include the Cultural Events Board, the Environmental Center, the Women’s Resource Center and Volunteer Clearing House.
Most cost centers were approved for the zero percent plus “unduckables” scenario, meaning they would receive the same flat budget as they had received last year, in addition to having their “unduckables” covered, which are costs that that are necessary for the operation of the cost centers. Unduckables are things that increase in cost, outside of the control of the cost center.
Greguras said utilities, insurance and a new IT charge are all examples of unduckables.
In addition, Greguras said that cost centers were asked to present a scenario including enhancements they would like to see. Finance Board approved many of these enhancements, such as a lightning warning system for the Rec Center. Others, such as the CU GOLD program to be considered for the UMC, were not approved.
Greguras said she believed most of the enhancements proposed by the cost centers were responsible.
“We looked at their inner workings, and . we saw what would be appropriate to add to their budget based on what was presented,” Greguras said.
Greguras said funding for cost center enhancements can come one of three ways. Either there will be a rise in student fees to cover the cost, or the money can come from an alternate source of funding, such as a cost center’s fund balance or through the Supplemental Operating Reserve, a reserve of leftover funds from previous year.
Many of the enhancements being funded by Finance Board this year will be accomplished through one of the two methods, to keep student fees at a minimum.
Greguras said that cost centers accumulate money in their fund balance through self-generated revenue, in addition to whatever they do not spend out of their annual budget. They then take 30 percent of their ending fund balance and apply it to the SOR.
Despite the use of these alternate sources of funding, Boyce Postma, Legislative Council president and a senior architecture major, said he was concerned about the number of approved enhancements and the proposed increase in student fees.
“We still have a $16 increase, and that’s hard to justify,” he said.
Legislative Council will hear budget issues from the “Big 3” cost centers next Wednesday. All other cost centers will have their first opportunity to approach the council next Thursday.
Apart from budgets, Legislative Council also passed a resolution in support of the Student Worker Alliance Program. One of the resolution’s authors, UCSU Tri-executive and senior English major Hadley Brown, said SWAP is a student-initiated program where volunteers are trained to provide English classes for workers they are paired with.
The resolution states that UCSU “. supports the intercultural and educational community-building programs provided by SWAP.” The resolution was passed 14-1, with two abstentions.
“By UCSU backing this resolution, that will give this group a little more legitimacy when it seeks to institutionalize,” Brown said.
Representative-at-large Chance Heath, a junior international affairs major, supplied the one vote opposing the resolution. He said that there were many student groups on campus doing great work, and questioned why UCSU needed to praise only one of them.
“I fully support groups such as SWAP and their mission statement, and bridging that gap,” Heath said. “I do not believe it is Legislative Council’s role to write non-binding resolutions such as this one that praise specific groups as they see fit.”
Brown said it was important for UCSU to recognize not only the SWAP program, but also to recognize the hard work coming from university workers that often goes unrecognized.
“I think that it’s totally within Legislative Council’s purview to support student groups, and I think Legislative Council should be supporting students who do extraordinary work,” she said.
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer George Plaven at George.Plaven@colorado.edu.