Members of the Student Service Finance Committee met last night for the Associated Students of Madison Student Council, ASM Judiciary Committee and SSFC internal budget hearings.
The ASM Judiciary Committee proposed $52,597 for the 2002-03 school year, down from $59,600 the previous year. The decrease reflects a drop in computer software/hardware expenditures necessary for election software, as well as significant decreases in money allocated to poll workers and student elections commissioners.
Adam Goldstein, vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, highlighted “trimming the fat” as one of the major goals in this year’s budget proposal.
“When going over previous year’s actual expenditures, we realized that the SJC has often been allocated much more money in certain line items than is ever spent,” Goldstein wrote in a memorandum to the SSFC. “The past two years should not be taken as the standard for budgetary measures.”
ASM Student Council requested a substantial increase, to $704,000 from the previous year’s budget of $594,000. ASM Chair Jessica Miller credited the increase to higher wages for student diversity liaisons, supplies, grant funding and United States Student Association Membership fees. The USSA, a national student advocacy organization, charges a flat rate based on student enrollment — accounting for $40,000 of the requested increase in the ASM budget. UW students traditionally funded the USSA membership through the use of a student referendum, but could not this year.
“I stress that the addition of the USSA membership to the ASM budget is not an increase, just a merging of budgets which have been approved by the SSFC in previous years,” Miller said. “We felt the most appropriate place for the fee would be within the internal budget.”
The Student Service Finance Committee also requested an increase in funding from $6,350 last year to $49,155 in 2002-03. The increase in the proposed budget includes the addition of a Financial Specialist position. This staff member would be responsible for the administrative tasks necessary for helping student organizations through the funding process. ASM proposed a budget increase of $26,885 for the position.
“There are students in the organizations trying to learn the complex policies of processing all the paperwork, and when they are unable to do so, there is the tendency for much of it to fall through the cracks,” Assistant Dean of Students Connie Wilson said. “I see this as a huge enhancement to the services provided to organizations funded through the SSFC.”
SSFC members will be meeting again Wednesday to approve the budget proposals.