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Proposed A&S fee budget passes Senate

The Student Government (SG) Senate passed the Activity and Service (A&S) Fee Annual Allocation budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year during their meeting yesterday by a vote of 34-7-1.

The new budget is $12,865,219 – $322,870 less than last year when the overall budget was $13,188,089 – and allocates A&S funds, which all students pay on a semester-to-semester basis. Currently, students pay a $7 flat fee and $11.28 per credit hour.

The budget was finalized and presented to the Senate by the A&S Recommendation Committee (ASRC).

The proposal now has to be signed by student body President Cesar Hernandez, Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Meningall and USF President Judy Genshaft.

Chairwoman Rachel Brown sai0d last year’s budget was higher than what they normally budget for.

“Last year several departments were underfunded and money needed to be taken from unallocated cash to give those departments what they needed,” she said. “Even in terms of things like payroll, the money just wasn’t there.”

Brown said additional money needed to be taken out of the unallocated cash account, or money that is left over and not budgeted in A&S fee projections.

She said she doubts the same thing will happen in the 2011-12 school year because she said they accounted for everything each entity needed.

“We had a very capable team this year and we really worked extremely hard on this,” Brown said.

The Department Strategic Payroll fund, which is intended to fund any raises for A&S-funded employees during the school year, was not given any funding. The payroll fund for the 2010-11 school year was $141,750.

“On the advice of the Student Affairs CFO we cut that part out, because the way it seems, there aren’t going to be any raises,” Brown said.

Brown said all student organizations automatically had 12 percent of their requested budget cut.

She said their original budget projections cut funding for the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life (OFSL), but they had to compromise.

“(OFSL) budget goes to paying the Director, Patrick (Romero-Aldaz), as well as programming open to all students,” Brown said.

The OFSL budget for the 2010-11 school year was $285,364, and the ASRC 2011-12 budget proposal offers a budget of $269,999.

Brown said the matter of cutting the OFSL budget was addressed with Romero-Aldaz and that he formulated new programming agendas in order to involve all students, not just members of Greek Life.

The Center for Student Involvement saw its budget increased because the Office of Student Organizations and Office of Student Programs have been combined into the center since the last budget.

Brown said of all the allocations, the only one that has a chance of changing is the executive branch allocation.

“They were allocated payroll in a lump sum because (SG President-Elect Matthew Diaz and Vice President-Elect Zachary Johnson) haven’t taken office yet,” she said. “We have no idea, really, what they’re going to come into office and do, so when we’re writing the budget we just have to make assumptions.”

She said the allocation currently includes payroll and some programming that is always done, such as Mr. and Miss USF. She said funding for other programming measures that Diaz and Johnson want to initiate could be made via requests for interim funding.

“(The budget is) the product of months and months of hard works on the part of the committee,” Brown said. “I tried to make this as transparent a process as possible as an improvement on last year.