Campus Resources and Planning Committee
February 4, 2011
Present: Dave Aronson, Bart Finzel, Lowell Rasmussen, Mark Privratsky, Martin Seggelke,
LeAnn Dean, Pam Gade, Andy Sharpe, Zak Forde, Josh Preston, Margaret
Kuchenreuther, Sydney Sweep, Dave Swenson, Carol Marxen, Jacquie Johnson
Guests: Colleen Miller, Janet Ericksen, Sandy Olson-Loy
Bart said the committee has a great deal to accomplish in the next few weeks as we develop recommendations to address the expected budget shortfall. Today, after hearing an update on the capital request, we will we will have a chance to ask questions about the budget information that was presented last week.
Capital request projects
Lowell explained the various mechanisms available to fund University capital projects, including having a project in the state bonding bill, internal university funding, and HEAPR (Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement) funding. Academic buildings are usually funded through the state bonding bill and some contribution to the project is expected from UMM. In the past, for example, if we had a $9M building request, the state covered $6M and the University covered $3M. Even numbered years are state bonding bill years so FY12 is the next bonding opportunity. University bonds issued for projects, e.g., the wind turbine, are 100% financed by the University. Typically the University itself will fund projects that have a revenue stream or are self-supporting. At some point, we will bring the GPLLC to this committee and expect to rely on University funding. HEAPR (Higher Education Asset Preservation and Replacement) funding does not require a UMM match or financial contribution. However, the funds are for repairs and renovation and cannot be used for new space. We use HEAPR funds to do infrastructure and preservation work.
Given the current budget, we cannot afford to provide the required financial match for a significant state funded project at this time. When our debt repayment is completed in 2016, $350K a year might be put toward a capital project. Lowell suggested that we earmark that amount for the Briggs Library/Student Center renovation. LeAnn added that she would lobby for consideration of using HEAPR funds in 2012 to make minor internal changes in the library, if the Learning Commons proposal is extended to 2018. We need some mechanism to make our 1974 vintage library more accessible to students. From a student perspective, Zak said he agrees with LeAnn about making improvements to the library.
Martin stated that he would strongly recommend that when the debt repayment is completed we restore some funding to academic areas that have been reduced to the bare bones by budget reductions. Jacquie added that what led to our deficit is what financial officers in the Twin Cities called our structural imbalance brought on by relatively large numbers of faculty and staff in relation to the number of students. We have reduced the number of full time faculty, made adjustments in part-time faculty and have reorganized offices.
Bart asked Colleen to go through the spreadsheet and identify numbers that might change as information becomes available in the coming weeks. Colleen explained that the State O&M Allocation is basically locked in; we are basing Tuition and U Fee on our fall numbers; there may be some fluxuation in external sales; we are currently working on salaries and fringe; there are still decisions to be made regarding supplies; we donŐt have information about the scholarship program at this point; we have a pretty good assumption on the utilities; repairs and maintenance can be a wild card; and cost pools are unknown. Bart said this committee will be asked to make decisions on the budget in a couple of weeks and to make recommendations. To do so, we need to have confidence in the numbers. Although he acknowledges the difficulty in modeling without needed information, he believes several entries in the budget model are very conservative. Martin added that it would be useful for committee members to receive a copy of spreadsheet to help them make informed decisions. Jacquie said she was hesitant to distribute the spreadsheet because without an explanation of the numbers, it can be confusing and could be misinterpreted. She believes the committee could be better served by having a longer meeting where Colleen could walk through everything like she did at the budget summit; however, if the stumbling point is the spreadsheet, then we will distribute it to committee members. She would like it acknowledged that we are all working hard together, that we will not always agree, and that she understands that it is important that we all understand the budget numbers in order to ask good questions.