SA passes Tier One budgets



 Students’ Association has approved of the Tier One budgets for The Union, Wellness Center and Student Health Clinic for the fiscal year of 2015. 

Each year, a base budget based on the previous year is requested, and additional funds are added to the base budget as needed. This year, an 18.6 percent increase was added on the budget request to allocate the increase in employee benefits. The budgets were looked at and will be allocated by the University Activity Fee Budgeting Committee, which provides all Tier One groups including The Union and the Wellness Center funding. Tier Two groups, which are student organizations, receive funding from the UFABC as well. 

“I think both The Union and the Wellness Center do well with the funds that they are given,” Stout said. 

If the proposed tuition freeze passes through legislation, the South Dakota Board of Regents would receive over $5 million and would pay the costs of the health benefits for the state employees. If this were to happen, the 18.6 percent increase would not be allocated. 

“Health insurance is going up wildly, importantly … this is a state-wide increase,” said Director of The Union Jennifer Novotny. “That 18 percent is significant.”

The Union requested about $1.1 million to allocate their expenses for the 2015 fiscal year. The money will be used strictly to allocate employee salaries, health benefits and operating expenses.

This year, to present to SA, The Union staff provided a forecast of future expenses and projects they would like to achieve. 

“It’s more so we know what’s coming up in the future so we have an idea,” said SA President Ben Stout.

For 2015, The Union has several projects they would like to complete. The largest cosmetic project would be to renovate a total of four restrooms in the upper level and basement of The Union, a project that is estimated to cost over $290,000. Roof replacement, upgrades of hot water heater and air handlers are on the project list as well. Repairs to the concrete around the Hobo Day Plaza are included in the plans. These projects are estimated to cost around $775,000.

“We do have a responsibility to try and be frugal as we move forward,” Novotny said.

Following The Union was the Wellness Center and Student Health Clinic. The Tier One group requested about $850,000 to strictly allocate salaries and health benefits, not operating expenses. 

“It’s really just the way it had been set up. Operations for maintaining the building itself … come outside the UFABC,” said Wellness Center director Jeff Huskey.

The group presented general information about the Wellness Center and services the Student Health Clinic provides. 

“We handle all the immunizations on campus, so what’s required of Board of Regents, international students and traveling students,” Huskey said.

The clinic has provided over 8,000 appointments with over 5,000 patients. Brookings Family Planning has over 1,500 patients that receive their services. The Jackrabbit Pharmacy fills over 7,000 prescriptions for staff, faculty and students. The Tier One group currently provides internships for 28 students as well.