KSU Budget Town Hall

Hiya there friends. As you know, the KSU has been discussing its finances as of late. We want to discuss these finances with you. THAT’S WHY WE ARE HOSTING A TOWN HALL TONIGHT AT 7PM IN THE RED ROOM AND OPENING UP THE FLOOR. Think we should invest all of our money on plants for the office? Think we should buy an inflatable bouncy castle and host all future GMs in there? Think that we should pay our executive in Wardroom credit instead of actual cash money? It’s all up to (YOU) folks (whoa cross marketing). In the words of Coldplay’s Chris Martin, let’s talk. Also there’s going to be free KD for everyone.

Blue Line

LIVE BLOG with your cyber-host @HaydnWatters

6:51PM – Haydn here. I’m your social media correspondent for the evening. I’ll be live blogging and tweeting and Facebooking and doing all of that other fun stuff for people at home who can’t make it to the meeting. You can tweet at me @ksunion and I’ll raise any questions you may have.

6:57PM – People are slowly flooding in. The people are happy eating KD and vegan dishes.

7:14PM – There’s been a few technical difficulties. We are passing time by looking at this photo album.

7:15PM – The meeting is underway. Alex and Anna are running things and giving introductions.

7:16PM – Anna says the goal is to understand the union due structure and the history of it. We will then learn about the proposed solution. She says we’ve been working on it for eight months. This will be followed by a question period and feedback session.

7:17PM – Alex is explaining what a levy is. They are chunks of money that have been voted through in the past that the KSU collects for an organization and then gives right back to the organization. These include the Galley, CKDU, NSPIRG, etc. He says they differ from dues.

7:19PM – He says tonight we are talking about the question if whether are not we are going to put forward the question to raise dues.

7:20PM – Anna is explaining where our dues go. She says when we are talking about dues, it will support the union as a whole.

7:21PM – Anna explains that we are a very small, very active union with very strong values. Fun fact: The KSU office used to be in North Pole Bay. The union’s first staff position was introduced in 2009-10. The Galley started two years ago. The second staff person, Nick Wright, our hospitality manager, was added last year. She says with all of these things, the union has radically and that union dues we’re not raised during this time.

7:22PM – Alex says that in the fall a lot of paperwork came in and that double had been spent on photocopying. He says last year’s exec spent a lot differently than was previously thought. He says that we had to cut in a lot of places that we had initially added to in the spring budget. He says the executive made the decision to work through the $10,000 deficit. He says finance committee, executive and council took it upon themselves to do research about union dues at other schools with a similar size as King’s.

7:27PM – Alex says Finance Committee came together and presented all that they knew. He says they recommended raising dues. This was taking to the executive, back to the finance committee and then pack to the executive and council who started looking a potential number for the dues if they were to happen.

7:29PM – Alex says that the current budget with the $10,000 deficit is conservative. Anna says that discretionary lines have been being cut over several years now.

7:32PM – Alex says that the KSU does not charge cover on the Wardroom. IC Chris Parsons adds that no money from The Wardroom and The Galley comes into the union.

7:35PM – Anna says we calculated how much money it would take to cover the deficit. This figure was $4.40/per term/per student.

7:36PM – She says we have two options. First, we maintain income. She says this would result in a 20% cut to all Union programming and services in order to cover the deficit.

7:37PM – She says the other option is to raise dues, to allow for future growth. She says this can be for contingency, wishful growth such as exec honoraria and future projects.

7:39PM – Anna says all this considered, council proposes an increase on union dues of $9.40.term. This would account for the current deficit and provide for future growth.

7:41PM – Anna and Alex are now taking questions.

7:42PM – Taylor asks how much more money is the growth fund with the proposed $9.40 dollar. Alex says it would be $12,602.40 after the deficit. Anna adds these numbers are based off of this year’s budget.

7:43PM – Molly Lowson asks what the $12,602.40 would include. Alex says it could be for contingency, events, etc. Anna says it would be the new executive that would allocate these funds if they were passed in a referendum.

7:44PM – Alex says there is no guarantee what funds would be budgeted for given that it would be the responsible of the new executive.

7:45PM – The current dues we play is $97.40 per student/per year.

7:46PM – Anika R-S asks what is the difference between deficit and debt. Alex says something about dollah dollah bills. So hip. Anna says that when executive takes over there is a certain amount of money and savings when the bank account switches over at changeover. She says a deficit does not equal debt.

7:49PM – She says that budget lines aren’t mini bank accounts. Thomas asks how much of the deficit would be fixed if dues were to be raised.

7:50PM – Alex says that all of it would be fixed with the proposed $9.40/per term/per student figure.

7:51PM – Dylan Tate-Howarth asks about the Galley levy. Anna says the levy covers the galley as it grows. The union covers the Galley’s insurance and payment for the Galley’s manager. Dylan asks how long the Galley levy will ask. Anna says that it is currently $14 and conversations will be coming up shortly.

7:54PM – IC Chris Parsons says the Galley is supported by the union’s manpower and money.

7:55PM – Ellie Hornbeck asks about executive honouraria and how a due increase would effect this. Anna and Alex talk about where executives get elsewhere. These range between $9,000 and $33,000 at other school around Halifax.

7:57PM – Anna says it is a bit of a struggle as an executive. She says the current executive isn’t proposing huge increases to the new executive if the dues are passed.

8:01PM – Emma Wolfe is talking about advertising and the Galley. She says businesses wouldn’t give any money for the Galley to advertise.

8:03PM – Thomas asks about future problems. IC Chris Parsons says that increasing revenue so we can pay for things decreases the risk of problems in the future. He talks about lawyers, being able to pay manager, etc.

8:05PM – Taylor asks what is the justification to raise dues while tuition fees are raising in the province. He says the proposed is only $20 give or take, but it is on top of the increases by the government.

8:06PM – Anna says to focus less on the change and more on the process. Anna says the referendum will be voted on, rather than government fees, which are raised with resistance from students. Anna says that it will be the students that decide. She says if this potential for growth is not reasonable for students, they can vote no and the union won’t charge them if the referendum doesn’t pass.

8:15PM – Some sort of snack dinosaur just bursted into the Red Room. Everyone is now fuelled with fruit snacks.

8:16PM – Thomas says he is pretty confident this is the right number. He says anymore is currently unnecessary.

8:18PM – Alex says that other unions have lower dues, but they collect them differently. Anna says the KSU says some of the highest dues in the region but we don’t have corporate sponsorship, cover at the bar, etc.

8:19PM – Hannah Yaphe says a $20 raise over the year is reasonable. She says she would be willing to be a bit more.

8:20PM – Alex says if the referendum happens, it would be on February 12th and 13th, to coincide with executive, BOG rep and res rep elections.

8:22PM – Taylor asks what is the quorum for the referendum. Anna says that it is 25% of the school.

8:23PM – Eyo raises his hand to say that he approves.

8:24PM – Jesse says that we can’t legally take any income that comes into the Wardroom.

8:25PM – Taylor asks if there is any further discussion about going higher or lower on the due increase number.

8:26PM – Emma says she is not opposed to a further increase. Evan McIntyre asks if there will be any effort made on the executives behalf for a long term investment.

8:27PM – Anna says the model for a long term investment came from savings.

8:28PM – Evan asks if the executive has plans to create a rainy day fund. Anna says right now there are no specific recommendations being made to the next executive. Alex says that is a discussion for the GM and for council.

8:29PM – IC Chris Parsons says the GIC was invested in 2006. There was a surplus caused in the mid-2000s with the surplus of numbers in students, which were not accounted for.

8:31PM – Emily Rendell-Watson says that if we do raise union dues more than proposed, we could be making more money. She asks people to consider a higher amount.

8:35PM – IC Chris Parsons says emergency levies are not standard.

8:36PM – Thomas asks why the executive didn’t choose to go with the $4.40 number. Alex says all we have done with the growth over the past ten years is cut. He says it would be nice to start to approach spending with the way we operate. Thomas says you don’t have to sell it to me. An aside, John Cavan says his home is the Wardroom.

8:38PM – Anna says that union dues are increased rarely.

8:39PM – Evan pretends to get mad and says that buying the KD was irresponsible spending because Town Halls don’t require quorum.

8:40PM – Katie Douglas talks about accessibility. She says people with the least amount of money will be the most likely to turn towards the union. Cat call to bring your own mug to the Galley. She compares two boxes of condoms to the due increase we are looking at.

8:42PM – Anna asks what information would be helpful for the referendum. Jacob B-K says that showing the proposed numbers would be helpful. He said the Prezi would be helpful as well.

8:44PM – Meg Shields says that the possible suggestions for what could be spent on would be good to show.

8:45PM – Taylor says that it would be important to show what the proposed due increase would be covering. Erica says that it would be important to tell people that they are able to vote again.

8:46PM – Karis says it is important to tell people that these potential dues would not be implemented to raise the executive honorarium in a top down kind of structure.

8:47PM – Anna says that on the night of speeches there will be a debate. One person will speak in favour of the referendum and one person will speak again.

8:48PM – IC Chris Parsons says we now have to talk about summer operations for the KSU since there could be academics in the summer.

8:50PM – The referendum question will be voted on at council on Saturday, 12:30PM in a location TBA.

8:52PM – The town hall has finished. Someone is showing slides of Fidel Castro and showers. #loveyouguys #wattersout