Volume 94, Issue 88

Thursday, March 8, 2001


U of A gunman apprehended

USC ups fees in proposed budget

Highschoolers don't make the literacy grade

Study says exit grades aren't all that

New degree to build better execs


Corroded Disorder

USC ups fees in proposed budget

By Aaron Wherry
Gazette Staff

According to the budget statistics announced at last night's University Students' Council meeting, council has fallen over $350,000 short of its projected surplus for the past 12 months.

Last year's council approved a budget which saw the USC making $316,555 over the past 12 months.

But now, the USC projects a $51,424 loss – a difference of $367,979.

The dramatic difference, according to VP-finance Dave Brebner and USC general manager Mark Sellars, can be attributed to an overly optimistic budget from last year's council.

In a speech to council before the budget was presented, Sellars said last year's council bowed to expedience when they froze student fees last year for political gains.

As a result, it was announced, a student fee increase of 1.3 per cent, or $4.67, would be factored into next year's budget.

With the fee increase as well as a number of other factors, Brebner said, the USC should see a $61,730 surplus next year.

Sellers said this budget should represent a new start – albeit a difficult one for the USC. "The starting point, I hope, is this budget," he said. "None of us choose where we start, we just choose where we end up."

The USC should develop a much more practical longer term plan, he said. Council should plan to be debt free, but to achieve this end it must have practical ideas, he added.

He concluded by asking council to accept the recommendations of the new budget. "Hold the line, approve the increase and believe in the future," he said.

In the foreword to the budget, Brebner did his best to explain the fee increase. "We had seen great improvements within the USC in the last couple of years and this year appears to be an exception," he said. "However, when we consider the impact of last year's fee freeze and the unfortunate one time cost, the USC should be able to ensure that this year was unique."

Brebner explained the student fee increase was the result in an increase in cost of living, an increase in University Community Centre occupancy cost and an increase in the bus pass fee. Brebner did announce the health plan opt-out fee of $3.69, which caused controversy last year, has been removed.

USC president-elect Mike Lawless said the fee increase is unpleasant, but necessary. "I think the way its been presented is that its necessary," he said. "I'm definitely not happy we're increasing student fees, but I understand why.

"We've been the unpleasant beneficiaries of a budget that was made by last year's council [and] it has come back to haunt us. Sometimes decisions have to be made for the future," Lawless said.

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