By Natalie Sit
Described as transparent and efficient, the 2000/01 Students’ Union budget passed its first reading at the Students’ Legislative Council, although some concerns were raised about changes from last year’s budget.
SU Vice-president Operations and Finance Matt Lauzon believes the budget is transparent because it accounts for all the money to be spent.
"There’s roughly $5 million coming in and $5 million going out," said Lauzon. "We’re basically not-for-profit and we try to spend all the money on students’ services."
The budget features several differences from last year. The surplus is larger, the SU will no longer pay the GST at the Used Bookstore and a special conference grant was added.
"We’re sitting at a $52,000 surplus," said Lauzon. "Last year it was $22,000. We decreased in some areas."
At the June 6 SLC meeting, the $54,000 cost of covering the GST at the Used Bookstore caused some concerns.
"We have given this six months, we don’t know if it is effective or not," said Students’ Academic Assembly Social Sciences Representative Michelle McCann. "What business decision is based on just six months [of operation]?"
SU VP Academic Mark Hoekstra believed the cost outweighed the benefits for students.
"Just because someone did something in the past does not mean there is a reason to do it now," said Hoekstra.
Lauzon later explained many people did not notice the lack of GST on the textbooks, and prices increased at Max’s to finance the initiative.
"Students come in and use that service, but why should people at Max’s have to subsidize that service?" said Lauzon.
A new category in the budget is the $9,600 conference grant to help students unaffiliated with a club to organize a conference at the University of Calgary. The grant will help defray costs such as hiring speakers and renting rooms.
"A lot of people put on conferences and they’re not able to get funding for it," said Lauzon. "They had to go through all these avenues."
The SU placed $20,000 under the title of Special Motions. According to Lauzon, the money will be used for lobbying if a federal and/or a provincial election is held.
"That money goes toward a motion that would benefit the whole student body," said Lauzon.