Back in black: USC projects budget surplus this year
By Brendan HoweBUDGET HIGHTLIGHTS
Councillors greeted University Students' Council VP-finance Lucy Pinheiro's year-end projections and budget for next year with applause last night as she presented the first numbers in the black the USC has seen in years.
The corporation was budgeted and expected to run a small surplus this year and erase its deficit, but council ended up being more then pleasantly surprised with the results.
At the end of May the budget is projecting just over a $60,000 surplus. Last year's deficit rang in at $145,629 and the year before at over $315,000. In 1991 the USC was facing bankruptcy, Pinheiro said.
"It reflects that the USC is turning the corner," Pinheiro said. "It's essential to the corporation that now we're putting money back in."
Several factors contributed to the black ink including an increase of over $140,000 of what was expected to be collected in student fees and a decrease of over $80,000 in general corporate expenses.
Pinheiro explained the increase in student fee revenue came as a result of increased enrollment of students this year. She added this was a lucky surprise but was offset largely because of a decrease in the amount of revenue received from the long distance phone company, ACC.
Another change in expected expenses came with the capital budget an amount of $300,000 set aside every year for capital expenditures for the USC and its operations. Capital expenditures at the end of the year are expected to be at $200,000. In light of this, Pinheiro said next year only $250,000 will be set aside but she explained in future years it would increase back to its usual level of $300,000.
The USC is budgeting to come in the black ink again next year as well with a slight surplus.
Student fees will also face an increase of 2.3 percent or $3.58. Pinheiro said her goal was to only raise them 1.6 per cent, in line with the Consumer Price Index but because of increased costs associated with a new communications officer for next year and a $12,000 cost for liability insurance for faculty councils, it was not possible.
Mike Baril, a councillor representing Alumni House, said it's really good to see black ink in the books. "It looks really positive that most of the [USC] services are starting to make revenue instead of being a burden."
The on-campus bars are some of the most noticeable improvements in terms of profit with The Spoke expected to make over $25,000 more than last year and the Wave expected to eliminate the $68,000 loss it incurred in 1996/97.
Councillors have until next Wednesday to examine the proposed budget for next year when it will be discussed and voted on.
The USC collected close to $5 million in student fees this year
-It is expected to have a budget surplus of over $60,000 at the end of its fiscal year in May
It has run deficits of hundreds of thousands of dollars during the '90s
The Wave is expected to come close to breaking even this year; lost almost $70,000 last year
The Spoke is expected to make $177,361
The USC's seven retail service operations are expected to make a combined profit of $71,450
Media outlets are expected to lose $140,420