S.A. funds could save organizations

A bill granting Tier II organizations their budgets was passed by the student Senate Tuesday night, nearly a quarter of the way into the academic year.

In order for the budget to become law, it needs to be signed by S.A. President Steven DiMarzo.

Approximately $5,000 was taken from the Student Association contingency fund and given to the eight Tier II organizations that filed appeals with the Senate prior to the Budget Council meeting in September.

"All organizations can appeal, and many chose not to," said Armando Franco, S.A. director of finance.

The appeal process began with the submission of a budget appeal form. After the paperwork is submitted, organizations had to present to either S.A. or the Finance Committee, where the amount of funding they would receive is decided.

Organizations that file appeals but did not present were not eligible to receive an increased budget.

"We felt that [organizations] had to have attended and presented to Senate or Finance committee to be considered in the appeal process," Franco said.

Eight Tier II organizations were not given money because the groups requested an amount under $1000, which Senate felt could be raised by the organizations individually, or could be requested as needed from Senate.

The next option for these groups to receive financing is through the Finance Committee.

Tier II organizations that were not given a budget this year will still be considered Tier II status and will be allowed to file for Tier III status for the 2011-12 academic year, according to Franco.

However, S.A. Code defines Tier II organizations as groups that receive a capped budget; therefore, under S.A. law, these organizations could not hold on to their Tier II status.

S.A. President Steven DiMarzo must sign the bill within 10 days of receiving it in order for the budget to become law.

"Any organization that was not Tier II last year does not have access to any budgeted funding," DiMarzo said. "Once the bill is signed that either takes away or gives them Tier II status."

Organizations that were Tier II status last year are able to submit purchase orders of up to $100 prior to Budget Council, said Kris Brandow, chair of S.A. Finance Committee. However, these organizations could only do so if they were Tier II organizations the previous year, according to DiMarzo.

Brandow has been working to draft solutions to the problem.

"One of the solutions could be to give each of the Tier II organizations that didn’t have a budget one penny in a budget account," Brandow said. "That would give them a budget that would allow them to keep their Tier II status."

Another solution that Brandow proposed is to give each organization that was dropped to Tier I status $50 in their accounts so they can fundraise.

"We felt it would better serve the organizations to have some money so that they could fundraise some of their own money instead of being left with relatively nothing," Brandow said.

The budget bill must be rewritten in order for that to happen. Brandow said he planned on introducing the bill at the next senate meeting, Oct. 19. DiMarzo said he planned to wait to sign the budget bill.

"We’re still trying to hammer things out with some senators and get things moving," said S.A. Vice President T.J. Scandaliato. "This is a little bit of a hiccup, but we’ll be fine, the organizations will be fine."

DiMarzo said there have been discussions about reforming the budget process to make it easier for organizations. One possibility is moving Tier II budget council to the same time as Tier III budget council.

"At this point it’s an option," DiMarzo said. "I think it would make it easier for everybody because they’d be aware of their budget before the previous year ends.

DiMarzo, Scandaliato and Brandow hope to see the mix-up resolved soon.

"Occasionally mistakes get made, we’re students as well," Scandaliato said.

Additional reporting done by:

Adam Wolfe and Kaitlin Provost.

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