Council Clippings

Each Tuesday, elected members of the two houses of the Student Government Association, the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) and the Graduate Student Senate (GSS), convene to consider allocation bills and discuss issues facing campus. Here is a summary of those two meetings.

Joint Allocation to Georgia Tech Student Centers Tech Rec – PASSED. GSS: 17-8-1. UHR: 32-8-1 (version differed from GSS version)

The Student Center presented a major funding bill for part of the upcoming overhauling renovation to the Tech Rec facility. This bill was specifically requesting funds to renovate and update the bowling facilities in Tech Rec. The current bowling equipment at Tech Rec, which was purchased second hand, is 38 years old, and has become very costly to maintain.

Mounting maintenance costs for the bowling equipment in the Tech Rec is a major factor, with the pin-setters alone costing $500 a week in upkeep. The main problems for maintaining the equipment is that with the older equipment, they have to hire professional technicians that can operate and examine the older and more dangerous machinery. Also, the older the current equipment becomes, repairs and thus delays to patrons become more frequent.

The new bowling equipment will help lessen Tech Rec’s deficit, as it will be easier to install and maintain, as well as simpler to operate and will function cheaper. The new simpler pin-setters will have a self-diagnostic monitoring system that will allow Tech Rec’s student staff to manage and repair the machinery themselves, rather than hiring a professional technician.

The total cost of the bowling upgrade will cost $459,115.92. Auxiliary Services is funding $235,000, and the Student Center is asking SGA to fund the remaining $224,115.92. The sheer magnitude of the cost created many concerns in both the UHR and the GSS. The JFC reviewed the bill, and while the JFC did not find anything against funding policy, it echoed the main concern in that SGA will be very low in remaining funds for the rest of this fiscal year’s budget.

Others in SGA made similar concerns, such as how the low remaining funds could hurt Tier III organizations and that the summer term emergency reserve will be less than $150,000. When asked how long it will take to cancel out costs of new equipment with saved maintenance costs, the Student Center spokesman estimated about 13 years, but at Tech Rec’s current rate of revenue it would more likely be around 28 years.

However, despite the many concerns raised, the GSS passed the bill unamended, despite Senator Mitch Keller trying to amend for less funding. The UHR also passed the bill, although it was an amended version, striking some items from the bill, to reduce the amount received.

The SGA continued discussions on the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget. Both the GSS and UHR approved different versions of the budget in their meetings. The budget is headed to a conference committee that will consolidate the different versions of the passed budgets.

The money that makes up the SGA budget consists primarily of funds collected from the Student Activity Fee. It also is made up of funds that were not spent in the previous year, and funds that were allocated but not collected.

Organizations receiving funding in the budget range from the Student Center to SGA to the Tech Badminton Club. These represent Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 organizations, respectively.

The total budget amounts to $4.31 million.

New business for next week’s meetings include voting on several joint allocations and a vote on the 2008-2009 fiscal year budget.

The joint allocations up for consideration are for the Ramblin’ Rocket Club, the GT Triathalon club, the Ferst Center for the Arts and the GT Water Ski Club.

In addition to the joint allocations, the UHR will be considering two other allocations. These include an allocation to Freshman Council and the Emerging Leaders Spring Event, 2008.