UPUA ID Passes Budget, Assembly To Vote Tonight
The UPUA Internal Development Committee met last night to discuss and vote on the budget — which totals $137,350 — for the coming academic year. After a short discussion and debate in which certain budget items were either clarified or axed, the committee was able to pass the budget to be presented to the General Assembly for a vote at tonight’s meeting.
The budget is broken down into categories. The operational budget allocates discretionary funds to the president as well as wages, office supplies, the election commission, and a reserve fund. Each committee receives its own budget, such as Student Life, which takes $11,700 for events such as Movin’ On, Sexual Assault Awareness Week, and Homecoming, or Facilities, which takes $12,500 for uses like environmental improvements and pedestrian safety. (They re-allocated funds for a $1,000 herb garden into “environmental improvements”, as they were unsure how much it would cost and thought it was actually for vegetables, not herbs.) Many executive board departments also receives funds, and there is an excess discretionary budget for unallocated funds.
One subject of debate was the proposed transportation budget, which falls under the facilities committee. Originally, $6,000 was distributed between CATA stop improvements, coin distribution, and new CATA maps, but it was decided that some of the proposed initiatives may just be a waste of money, so they deemed the entire budget discretionary. Another debated topic was the allocation of $200 to newly elected Chief of Staff John Zang. He argued his cause, explaining that the former chief received the same amount of money and that it will be used for reserving rooms for last minute meetings and supplying food for said meetings, and was told condescendingly to spend the money wisely.
The one number that jumped off the page was a $6,000 allocation for the design, hosting, etc. of an online downtown housing database for students to use free of charge. While this is a great idea and would’ve made my search for an apartment much easier, some quick research tells me that this number is a little high. Firstly, web designers are notorious for over-quoting and billing more hours than they actually spend working on the project, like lawyers. On top of that, I’ve found that some basic online database design off-the-shelf software would be fairly easy even for non-technological people to use, and a hell of a lot cheaper than $6,000 after taking web-hosting costs into account. And in addition to that, there is free, open source software for designing a simple database available online. Unless the UPUA wants an incredibly flashy site with animations and such, this is a vast overestimation.
Additionally, the Executive branch of UPUA saw an increase in their budget this year, particularly in the Department of Communications which Press Secretary Kevin Horne controls (what a scary thought). That department will receive $6,000 — an increase of nearly $2,000 from last year — due to the fact that the Press Secretary role is now more clearly defined. Apparently, most of the advertising UPUA does for events will now go directly through the Press Secretary’s office as opposed to the committees, which should create more accountability for the wasteful advertising that UPUA has become known for.
Following the discussion, newly elected Internal Development Chair Dray Krishnan called the budget to a vote. Five members were able to successfully pass the budget for further discussion and a final vote amongst the general assembly tonight with a vote of 4-1-0. Off-campus representative Anthony Christina was the sole dissenter, and cited certain staff wages, stating that he has a “deep philosophical issue with paying people to get involved in student government.”
Note: Elias Warren offered no significant or noteworthy quotes last night (although he did whip out a U.S. Constitution from his wallet at one point), so taking his place with quote of the week will be Anthony Christina. While discussing why funding for laundry automation was cut from the budget, Christina quipped, “Every budget has it’s dirty laundry,” turning to me and smiling, a clear indication that he wanted that quoted in this article. Here ya go, Anthony.