Welcome back from break, and happy 2017! I hope everyone enjoyed a great winter break and an even better start to the spring semester. Last time I wrote was in early December. I generated a long list of projects and goals the Executive Board has for this year and our progress so far. Nearly a week after that was written, the E-Board completed club budgets and budgeting appeals for the next school year, finalizing the Union’s budget.
I’d like to take this opportunity to highlight some major changes to the Union’s budget next year; several updates to federal and state law had a significant impact. In May of 2016, President Obama announced updated overtime rules for full time employees. These changes, along with the addition of two full-time staff members, increased our full-time payroll expenses by approximately $170,000. In addition, beginning January 2018, the New York State minimum wage will increase from $9.70 to $10.40 per hour, increasing our total student payroll expenses from approximately $385,000 to approximately $410,000. The Executive Board also chose to prioritize $20,000 in new funding for life guards in the Robison Pool. This funding will dramatically increase the amount and convenience of hours that the pool is available for recreational use by the student body. There was also a large increase in the Student Staff budget unattributed to minimum wage increases. Starting next year, all student staff expenses are to be moved to the single administrative budget, causing an increase from $280,000 to $436,000, although student staffing expenses were closer to $385,000 for this year if staffing across all budgets is accounted for. Taking into account all factors influencing expenses next year, the E-Board’s targeted increase in the Activity Fee is about 2.5%.
All of the information above, and a very detailed report on the Union’s expenses, will be included in the Union Annual Report. Each year, the E-Board and the Student Senate produce the UAR as a commitment to the student-driven budgeting effort that the Executive Board undergoes each year. Using the information provided in the UAR and from the Executive Board, the Student Senate will vote to approve the Activity Fee, as well as the increase, and send it to be finalized by the Institute. Be on the look out for the finalized Union Annual Report in the next few weeks.
I hope to see everyone at the Mayor’s Cup game on Thursday night! Red Army is providing free shuttles to and from the Times Union Center, so you don’t even have an excuse not to go. The shuttles leave from the Union between 5 and 7 pm, and Red Army will be there with free rally towels for students who take the shuttles. GO RED!