Wednesday, February 20, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 97



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 Committee hearings.

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 committee members.

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 year. 

"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.

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