Finance Board Looks to Increase ASUU’s Spending Power

The Finance Board of the Associated Students of the University of Utah is examining aspects of the budget that have been in place for a long time.

“We’re picking it apart,” said David Broadbent, Finance Board director. “In essence, we’re questioning the status quo.”

The ASUU budget is about $1 millon annually. It pays for student services such as child care, courtesy phones, class schedules and funds the Presenter’s Office, the Lowell Bennion Community Service Center, the Tutoring Center and the Student Broadcast Council.

All of the student groups and organizations on campus?as well as the operating costs of the Executive Cabinet?are funded by this budget.

“So many entities rely on ASUU to function, it starts to get spread out,” Broadbent said.

The Finance Board wishes to increase ASUU?s spending power, which is why it is examining the budget. It is reviewing policies in Redbook (ASUU?s constitution and bylaws), questioning specific costs and trying to ensure that the money it spends is spent wisely.

The $1 million budget is based on projected enrollment multiplied by $20.06, which comes out of student fees. When enrollment exceeds projections, the money goes into a reserve fund that now has about $200,000 in it.

Ben Lowe, ASUU president, believes that the reserve money should be made available for use during the year it was obtained.

“We feel strongly that they should see the results of it, but it is very difficult for us to get that out,” he said.

In order to get money out of the reserve fund, a club presents a bill to the Student Senate and General Assembly with specific plans for the money. Changing this policy will require a change in Redbook, something else that needs to be approved by the Senate and Assembly.

ASUU is also re-examining some of the things that it funds, such as class schedules and tutoring, to determine whether or not it should continue funding them and if they could be funded in other ways.

The current ASUU budget appropriates $5,000 to produce printed copies of class schedules and $8,250 to provide low-cost tutoring. The Finance Board would like to have the U fund those things.

“Whether we fund it or not, they’ll keep doing it,” Lowe said, referring to the class schedules.

Once appropriated, the money ought to be spent wisely in the eyes of the Finance Board. Broadbent has asked the Executive Cabinet to be responsible in spending its money, and do what it can to save funds.

“I think the Cabinet understands that these funds are limited. They come from hardworking students, let?s do whatever possible to give them the maximum benefit,” Broadbent said.

He has asked that Cabinet members plan their events well in advance, and work with the Development Office in attempting to get discounts on the goods and services that the events require.

As part of the Truth in Funding campaign promise from the current administration, the Finance Board is also keeping a very close watch on how all money is spent. At the end of the year, the administration intends to publicize these expenditures. Lowe also hopes to change Redbook, mandating that all subsequent administrations publicize their expenses.

“We’re basically providing a system of accountability,” Lowe said.

The clubs and organizations to whom ASUU provides money are also more accountable for their expenditures. The Assembly appropriates money to organizations for specific purposes, and the board plans to audit these groups to ensure that they spend the money for those purposes.

“I have pleaded with people who have received funds to use them in a responsible manner,” Broadbent said.

The Assembly has $34,000 that it can spend on the organizations on campus. Already, the Assembly is down to $10,000, with many other groups still requesting funds.

As ASUU saves money from these things, it hopes to be able to spend more money on the clubs and organizations, as well as increase the operating budgets of the Executive Cabinet, which have been decreased since last year.

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