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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Rising costs affect budget

    Assistant budget officer Jim Florian, right, presents recent UA budget plans during a meeting in the Student Union Memorial Center North Ballroom yesterday afternoon.
    Assistant budget officer Jim Florian, right, presents recent UA budget plans during a meeting in the Student Union Memorial Center North Ballroom yesterday afternoon.

    Department business managers and accountants gathered for a budget meeting forum yesterday in the North Ballroom of the Student Union Memorial Center to learn about the budget cuts happening in their departments and discuss ways in which the university can help itself in the face of repeated budget cuts.

    Jim Florian, who works in the UA Budget Office, spoke during the forum about the $30 million in cuts the UA has seen since 2002 from the Arizona State Legislature.

    The UA has seen tuition increases and added extra charges such as differential tuition in many departments during the last six years, which have brought in roughly $29 million to the university.

    “”With all of the tuition increases and other fund increases, this puts us in about the same place – $30 million to $30 million,”” Florian said. “”The problem is that our unavoidable costs are rising as well.””

    These costs include electric bills, salaries, banking and costs involved with constructing new buildings and creating programs for the UA, he said.

    The costs amount to 16.4 million, “”but we only have $7.1 million to pay for it,”” Florian said. “”Why don’t they (the state) recognize our utility costs and raise funds accordingly?””

    Because the state is not able to allocate the UA more money for the costs, Florian suggested ways to save money, such as implementing energy-saving plans, to help the UA with its debt.

    “”I know it sounds clichǸ, but we should be turning off unused lights and not running our electric equipment at night if we don’t need to,”” he said.

    UA budget director Dick Roberts said an energy-saving plan would greatly benefit the UA and its budget problems.

    “”Even if we make the temperature two degrees warmer in the summer time, we could be saving a lot of money,”” Roberts said. “”Though I’m sure a lot of people might be mad about it.””

    Roberts also suggested having all summer-session courses in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center and the Harvill building so that not every building across campus needs to be cooled during Tucson’s hot summer months.

    “”Teachers want to teach right where they work, so we are having to cool many different buildings,”” Roberts said.

    Budget cuts are hard for departments because of the obvious need to support staff members, especially those who are working on important research for a department.

    “”Employment is down in departments because of the cuts,”” Roberts said. “”Many colleges have given up employers because of the hard hits, but it is important to maintain quality and diversity despite this.””

    Roberts also stressed the need to take care of some of the UA’s debt before trying to plan and implement new and costly projects.

    “”Back yourself off of expectations before you move forward again,”” Roberts said. “”The faster we get our finances in order, the faster we can get back to our goals, which are about making this university better.””

    Both speakers stressed the fact that the increasing costs they mention will never go away, and as long as the state is continuing to give too little money, it is up to everyone at the university to try to make a financial difference.

    “”A university is all about the people within it,”” Roberts said. “”We must be looking at ways to fix this.””

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