Council Clippings, 3/4/2011

JFC releases budget
The Joint Finance Committee released the submitted FY 2012 budget to Graduate Senators and Undergraduate Representatives this week, beginning the six week process of allocating $4.7 million in Student Activity Fees to organizations. SGA plans on cutting about $700,000 from the $5.1 million in submitted budget requests in that time.
For two months, JFC has met with organizations to determine which items from their budgets meet with JFC policy. JFC will include those recommendations in documents sent to the House and Senate. However, these policy-dictated cuts will not close the budget gap, and JFC will recommend further items to eliminate.
“Many of the cuts we will be suggesting will be familiar from last year: no non-Technique publicity, no Blueprint pictures, no intramural teams, etc. We are working on a number of other cuts, but I would like to keep them in my committee until they have been firmly decided on,” said Brad Bauerkemper, the chair of JFC, in an email.
The House will consider the budgets for the Student Center and Campus Recreation Center, Tier I organizations, as well as Tier II organizations, such as MOVE and Student Publications, before Spring Break. At the same time, JFC will evaluate and recommend cuts to all other student organizations.
When asked how organizations can prepare for their budget defenses, Bauerkemper said, “…know your priorities. Cuts are inevitable…[so] it is important for every [organization] to understand that [it] will not get every bit of funding that they are requesting. They may not even get everything that they got last year, but…we are committed to meeting the requests as best we can.”
UHR is projected to pass their version of the budget on April 5 while GSS will discuss and pass the entirety of the budget on March 30 or March 31. If there are differences between the two versions, Senators and Representatives will negotiate and pass a final version on April 12.

Sustainability fee
Graduate Student Body President Anthony Baldridge spoke out strongly against the proposed “Green Fee” during the GSS meeting on March 1.
“We will not stand for the sustainability fee,” Baldridge said during his weekly report to Senators. “[This fee] will not happen.”
Baldridge admonished Senators to not author any resolution calling for the implementation of the fee, promising to veto it. He then said that sustainability initiatives can be better handled through SGA administered Student Activity Fee funds.
“We feel with the oversight we can provide and also just with the general way we can handle things in SGA…[that] we are best to handle the sustainability fee,” Baldridge said, pointing out the upcoming bill authorizing fees to pay for a new set of bike racks as an example. He continued by saying that he was working with Undergraudate SGA to make the Sustainability Committee a joint committee, incorporating graduates and undergraduates.
The fee was first proposed by students from Students Organizing for Sustainability and the Green Week committee. It would charge students between $3 and $20 each semester and would be allocated by a board of students towards sustainability based projects.
Before being enacted, the fee would need to be put to a student referendum by a two-thirds vote of the Undergraduate House, following which a referendum will be held during SGA elections. The referendum must pass with 50 percent of the vote before implementation.
The fee would have to also pass through the Mandatory Student Fee Advisory Committee, a committee of students and administrators that discuss new fees and whether or not to increase old ones.

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