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By Jen Gerson

The most important motion passed at last week’s Semi-Annual General Meeting was the one to which fewest people paid attention.

Between heated debates about the Canadian Federation of Students and free executive housing, the general assembly passed the annual budget. I’ll be honest. I don’t understand numbers.

But for you dear readers, I waded through the legalese, the brackets and the simple math. After cornering Derek Isber, vice president finance, I’ve boiled it all down. Isber explained that the budget, available online at Ryesac.ca, is what accountant-types call a snapshot, which records all of the financial goings-on in a single day (April 30) at RyeSAC.

“How much money does RyeSAC have?” I asked Isber. He patiently pulled out the budget and circled a big number at the bottom of a column of smaller numbers. $3.1 million. “How much money does RyeSAC owe?” $883, 313. That seems like a lot, but Isber explained that much of the debt is paid back throughout the year. “How much money will RyeSAC lose this year?” I asked. “No money will be lost,” said Isber. “But I don’t want to make a guarantee on that.”

But wait, wasn’t RyeSAC working with a deficit? Isber explained that the budget forecasted a deficit of more than $100,000, but that doesn’t mean RyeSAC will lose all that money.

In previous years, RyeSAC had expected small amounts of money to remain at the end of the year. Instead, it ended up with five-figure sums left over. So this year the budget allows more money to be spent, expecting the council to break even. “We will not spend all this money. There’s no way,” Isber said.

So why is RyeSAC forecasting a deficit when it expects to lose the revenues from Oakham House? (After the construction is complete, Oakham revenues, which amount to $200,000 a year, will go into the student centre.)

It’s because that money has already been calculated into the deficit.

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