USSU budgets passed despite deficits Anna-Lilja Dawson March 28, 2014 12:00 am News Members of students’ council voted unanimously in favour of passing the 2014–15 University of Saskatchewan Students’ Union budgets. The 2014–15 budgets both fall into the red, with the operating and capital budgets running respective deficits of $87,756 and $63,884. USSU Vice-President Operations and Finance Jenna Moellenbeck was responsible for preparing the 2014–15 budget and attributes low amounts of spending to the union’s budgets having smaller deficits than previous years. “The main thing is that we don’t have any big projects this year. Place Riel is finished, we have all of our tenants in Place Riel and they’re operating so we’re getting rent revenue from them and student numbers have been increasing . . . and we don’t have any big renovation projects,” Moellenbeck said. Copy Central was eliminated from the budget after running consecutive deficits since 2007–08. As of Feb. 28, Copy Central has cost the USSU $46,775 in the current fiscal year. Three of the union’s four centres received cuts to their operating budgets. The pride, help and women’s centres each had their coordinator’s work hours cut down to 15 hours per week in the summer and 20 hours weekly during the fall and winter terms. The resulted savings work out to $3,673 per centre to a total of $11,019. Moellenbeck said that all of the affected centres were in favour of the cutbacks. Having worked closely with campus clubs this past year, Moellenbeck said that the allocated $27,000 in club funding was not enough as it was depleted by half-way through the year. However, groups still received resources from the USSU through credits to various services on campus. The 2014–15 budget will see campus club funding increased to $38,000. “The USSU budget is like a juggling act because a lot of what campus groups apply for funding for is credit from Louis’, Louis’ Loft and XL Print and Design,” Moellenbeck said. In 2013 Browsers’ Café was replaced by Louis’ Loft, which became a joint venture under the Louis’ establishment. Sales at Louis’ Loft have continued to rise throughout the school year while revenue at Louis’ has levelled out. As a whole, Louis’ is budgeted to lose $76,515. This shortcoming is an improvement from the 2013–14 budget, where Louis’ was expected to run a deficit of just over $130,000 due to renovations and Louis’ Loft being closed early in the spring. Moellenbeck said Louis’ revenue is expected to increase because both locations will have weddings booked throughout the summer — a major source of income — and more campus groups will use Louis’ for their own events. “The trend is that [Louis’] is doing better year after year. I think it will still be a few years before we see Louis’ turning a profit, which is okay because our main source of revenue is from student fees,” Moellenbeck said. However, Louis’ Entertainment is budgeted to increase ticket sales to events from $30,700 to $58,700. Despite the projected increase in ticket sales, Louis’ Entertainment will maintain a deficit of $9,094 in the 2014–15 year due to depreciation of assets such as the sound system. The 2014–15 budget will be the first year that Place Riel will be functioning at full capacity, bringing in just short of $1 million in rent revenue. Student fees are forecasted to generate $1,170,031 in revenue. XL Print and Design is the USSU’s second largest money maker and is expected to bring in $60,699 — nearly twice as much as the previous year. Moellenbeck credited the rising profits of XL to the business now being more accessible on the main floor of the Memorial Union Building and fast turnaround rates. The Memorial Union Building will cost the USSU $176,881 in janitorial and utility fees, among other expenses. The USSU’s capital budget covers purchases over $1,000 and helps with long-term budgeting and planning projects. This year, the union budgeted to purchase several new computers, a combo oven and a charbroiler oven for Louis’ and other items required for the upkeep of the union’s buildings and services. Although the capital budget is set to sit at a deficit of $63,884, this is an improvement from last year’s deficit of $776,702. The massive deficit in 2013–14 was due to the renovations required to turn Browsers’ into Louis’ Loft. — Greg The graph is a bit confusing. angry foodie Why in the hell does the USSU continue to believe that they can manage a bar? Louis’ food is dreadful, the service and beer is actually really good, and the space is flexible enough to facilitate the functions it does already. The fact that it continues to lose money is reflective of the inflexibility the USSU regime affords the business and their own incompetence as managers of the business. Here they have a modern pub and grill which should be making money every year. The excuses are no different than they were 12 years ago, the USSU executive is the only thing that has changed. Louis’ has been a cash sinkhole the whole time. It’s time to divest themselves of the business interest, give a lessee flexibility to work outside the unionized regime, and make guaranteed money as opposed to guaranteed losing money… The USSU is in the black and do not need to continue extorting the student body for dues they do this one thing. Same thing I said last year. Very obvious act to make as well.