Hannah Baker

Hannah BakerNews Editor

Brookings City Council approved the Students’ Association request for a $15,000 increase in funds from the bed, board and booze (3B) tax at the Nov. 9 Council meeting.

Since 2005, SA has received $35,000 per year in order to facilitate bringing events to SDSU. However, SA said it is entitled to a bigger share, $50,000, which is exactly what it will receive after the request was approved by a 5-2 vote.

Due to the rising enrollment and food costs on campus, Aramark now pays more than $83,700 every year in 3B tax, so SA said it should be receiving more money because of this since students living on campus are required to purchase a meal plan.

The Visitor Promotions Committee is an organization in Brookings that exists to attract out-of-town visitors to local events in Brookings and in the surrounding area. Funds from this committee will be taken in order to accommodate the $15,000 increase SA was granted.

SA President Brett Monson said he was relieved that the Brookings City Council voted in favor of the increase.

“On Tuesday it was tough because as we went in there, we thought we would have support, but there were questions raised, and councilors thought it wasn’t a good thing for the VPB to have the loss, so that was nerve-racking,” Monson said. “I was relieved the council voted in favor of it. It was great when it passed and [SA] felt this was the fair thing for the students.”

Monson said the added funds will be used not only for campus events, but also for furthering communication on campus through the use of video message boards.

“Unless you see a poster in the Rotunda, getting knowledge about campus events can be a challenge for students,” Monson said. “Having message boards could enhance student involvement because students would have access to more information.”

Mayor Tim Reed voted in favor of the request because he said having it repealed would have been disadvantageous.

“I voted “yes’ because I understood where the students were coming from,” Reed said. “What I hope we accomplish now is having the city and students work together to promote Brookings.”

During the City Council meeting, Victoria Blatchford, chair of the VPB, said losing the $15,000 would require them to completely rearrange their budget.

Reed said because the 3B tax has not increased, the VPB will have to locate where it can afford to make cuts in their budget.

“The VPB has been doing a good job getting return out of the things they put their money into, so although it will be tough, this is just the way it has to be,” Reed said.

City Manager Jeff Weldon said now that the decision is made, the VP has no choice but to reduce its budget.

“It is what it is,” Weldon said.

Councilors Michael Bartley and Tom Bezdichek voted “no” on the request.

“I was not opposed to giving the money to SA. I was opposed to the procedure that was taken and how the money was given,” Bezdichek said. “The VP should have total control on how much they distribute to SA after we give them their set budget amount.”

Bezdichek said when a set dollar amount like this is set, in five years after current students graduate, the next students will have to go to the VP and not the City Council if future requests arise.

Monson said SA is now currently working with Reed and the City Council to work on a plan that is more sustainable.

“We are looking at possibly getting a specific percentage from the tax, but that is going to be difficult,” Monson said. “Now I think the new challenge is to find something sustainable so we don’t have to go through this again. We’re working right now trying to figure out what that would look like.”

Reed said if this change is to be successful, it will involve teamwork between Brookings and students.

“When students stay in town on the weekends Brookings has the opportunity to make money, so we have to continue making sure we are good partners and work together,” Reed said.

#1.1782039:2186015496.png:3b-Tax-1-Ryan-Robinson.png:SA members sit and wait to be called upon. Brookings City Council members approved 5-2 the $15,000 increase requested by SA Nov. 9. SA previously met with the Brookings City Council on Oct. 26 but was not on the agenda, so no vote to could be taken. :Collegian Photo by Ryan Robinson