After an hour-long discussion in the Senate Chambers on Tuesday about an unallocated cash request from SAFE Team’s director, senators asked themselves:
Does SAFE Team need an extra $19,548 added to its budget for three golf carts?
It depends on who you ask.
The bill passed with 24 Senate members voting yes and four voting no. Not all senators attended the meeting.
Some senators were split on the decision because of the large sum of money and others were in full support to secure student safety.
It would cost $33,191 to purchase three new golf carts, according to Kaelyn Steele, the director of SAFE Team who made the request.
SAFE Team sold four of its older golf carts to other departments on campus for a total of $10,500 in order to save money for a better quality fleet, according to Steele.
Steele said SAFE Team was able to reduce the funding request because of the Activity & Service (A&S) fees for the 2018-19 fiscal year — $4,250 — and the sale of the four golf carts, which makes up $14,750.
Therefore, Steele said she requested $18,441 plus the six percent overhead fee — $1,107 — which would make up the $19,548 SAFE Team requested from the Senate.
Senators had issues with $19,548 requested to fund the three golf carts, including Sen. Laura Diaz.
“This is not something I see as a dire need — its a golf cart — we literally see them driving around parking lots racing,” Diaz said in the Senate meeting. “Are we funding the safety of students or are we funding people to play in the parking garages.”
Steele said disciplinary actions and privileges are being revoked for anyone abusing SAFE Team equipment.
Senators were stating the cost of the three golf carts is minor compared to the previous SG initiatives. This included the $63,000 allocated to the Discounts and Services Store and the $74,000 on-campus ambulance.
Sen. Yousef Afifi was dismissive of that claim, saying it’s like comparing apples to oranges.
There were seven new golf carts purchased in 2017, but Steele said in July SAFE Team decided to downsize their fleet from 17 to 13 golf carts since they were all not being used. She said that the all the golf carts were not being used because of the reduced size of the staff.
Steele said golf carts typically last five years, but with the extensive wear and tear, SAFE Team recycles their golf carts every two to three years. She said SAFE Team currently has 10 golf carts, but the goal number is 13 to prepare for unexpected damages to the golf carts such as a nail getting stuck in a tire.
On a busy night, SAFE Team receives 250 calls and can have up to an hour wait times when students request rides.
Currently, 40 employees are working for SAFE Team and on their busiest days — Monday through Wednesday — 20 people are working each night, according to Steele. The 10 golf carts are used each night for the same number of groups — two people per golf cart.
SAFE Team also sold nine of the older golf carts — Carryall 100 and Yamaha — this past July to purchase Carryall 300 models.
Steele is requesting Carryall 300 golf carts because of the greater weight carrying capacity to allow two SAFE Team employees and two students to ride the cart together.
Steele said she had an experience on an older cart in which it flipped over with her on it because of its weak aluminum frame. Furthermore, the Carryall 300 model has a larger dash frame for more protection for the front and a tighter turning radius for more mobility on campus.
Even though the Yamaha carts are roughly $2,000 cheaper than Carryall golf carts, Steele said she would never purchase them even if she was told to by SG for safety purposes.
With confusion about why SAFE Team sold seven golf carts and were requesting funding to purchase three more, Sen. Melanie Marshall defended the notion by stating “it is a downsize in the number but it is an increase in the quality.”
With the new leadership, Steele said securing the funding for the golf carts will provide security for years to come.
“Over the last two years that I have been working at SAFE Team we have completely updated our fleet,” Steele said. “I can’t speak for any of the years before me, because I don’t know, but I do know that after this year we will not need to many (golf carts) because we would have a restocked fleet.”