Following an indecisive meeting of the Ratepayer Board yesterday, Transportation & Parking Services remains unsure of how it will cover its expenses in the coming year.
Though the board did not settle on a course of action at its meeting, A.S. President Jared Goldschen announced that a student subcommittee has been created to address the issue of the undergraduate student fee going toward TPS, which may or may not eventually have to be raised.
“It’s a think tank with students to go over the parking options,” Goldschen said in an interview after the meeting. “It’s to gather student feedback on the idea of raising fees. It could be the opposite of what I’m thinking, students might say, ‘You know, $0.67 to continue this service, that’s worth it.'”
Beginning in summer 2008, TPS will incur an additional $2.7 million in annual payments for two new parking structures – a sum officials say they cannot afford with their current budget. In the past few years, TPS has raised the rates on parking permits across the board, with the exception of undergraduates’ $3.33 per quarter per student lock-in fee.
Earlier this quarter, administrators said raising the undergraduate fee by a nominal amount would cover the financial gap, but Associated Students Legislative Council decided against putting a fee increase on last week’s ballot. Goldschen said the students had not been convinced TPS needed the fee increase.
During last week’s election, meanwhile, graduate students approved an increase of their own night and weekend parking fee, bringing it to $5 per student per quarter, including the cost of a permit sticker.
The Ratepayer Board, which consists of faculty and students overseeing TPS including its parking rate increases, examined the finer points of TPS’ budget issues yesterday, one week after students reaffirmed the $3.33 lock-in fee in the spring campuswide elections.
Although it was not discussed, the agenda for yesterday’s meeting included suggestions from Associate Vice Chancellor for Campus Design and Facilities Marc Fisher about what could be done with the undergraduate lock-in fee.
Because the $1 per quarter undergraduate lock-in fee increase TPS requested was not placed on the Spring Election ballot, Fisher said TPS may stop providing night and weekend parking to students at the $3.33 per quarter rate after this summer. As an alternative, he suggested that A.S. pay $40,000 annually to cover the budget shortfall and make up for their refusal to put the increase on the ballot.
“The students have potentially pushed their rate to someone else by not allowing the rate increase to go on the ballot,” he said in an interview prior to the meeting.