Budget shortfall leaves
SGA with $9,400
By Ray Hafner
Daily Cougar Staff
Last September, under the direction of
Student Government Association President James Robertson and Vice President
Brandon Butler, the SGA senate approved a budget of nearly $25,000 more
than the organization had been allocated. The shortfall will be felt this
year and leave the next administration with as little as $400, according
to some estimates.
Hoang Nguyen/The Daily Cougar
From left, Student Government
Association President James Robertson Jr. and Director of Finance Temitope
Ayoola respond to questions concerning SGA's budget during Tuesday's Student
Fees Advisory Committee meeting.
"We did not foresee a significant problem
in retrieving the money," Robertson said today at the Student Fees Advisory
The financial situation came to light during
SGA's presentation as Robertson and Butler, as well as Director of Finance
Temitope Ayoola, presented their budget for the
next fiscal year and faced questions from
The proposed budget underwent intense scrutiny
as committee members asked Ayoola to go through each line and explain each
increase. SGA is asking for a base
budget increase of $57,141. In addition
to that, it is requesting a one-time allocation of $25,000 for this fiscal
"SGA would be incapacitated without this
fund," said a memorandum requesting the allocation, dated Feb. 14. The
memo was directed to SFAC from Ayoola.
Robertson said he was "confident" SFAC
would respond favorably to the request because, he said, "we've had the
most in-depth presentation of any entity that went to
According to the memo, SGA's available
balance is $9,400. It projects election costs to be as high as $9,000.
Wil Weber, a presidential faculty member
of the committee, expressed dismay that there is "no mechanism to guarantee
that the incoming administration has any money
left." He said he believes there should
be an "obligation to carry money forward," because there is "nothing to
keep them from spending it down to zero."
Robertson was responsive to the suggestion
and said SGA will begin writing legislation soon to make those changes.
"I was fortunate I had money left over
when I took office," he said.
Committee members wondered why SGA would
approve a budget for more money than it had been allocated. SGA has been
spending money on the assumption that it
would receive the $25,000.
Weber called it a "bad decision" to plan
to spend money not yet received.
The 39th administration will take office
April 1 and must work from this year's budget for five months until it
receives new funds Sept. 1.
The amount of funds SGA does receive could
increase dramatically if the proposed base budget is approved.
Last year, SFAC recommended SGA's budget
be cut due to "wasteful and self-directed or self-promoting expenditures,"
according to a report directed to UH President
Arthur K. Smith and Vice President for
Student Affairs Elwyn Lee.
This year SGA is requesting $157,797 for
its base budget. Robertson says increased voter turnout is one reason SGA
should receive more funding.