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CSU finance coordinator predicts end-of-year surplus

by Ian Down May 11, 2018 0 comment
CSU finance coordinator predicts end-of-year surplus

The Concordia Student Union (CSU) is on track to end the fiscal year with a surplus, said finance coordinator Kamden Biggart.

At the union’s annual general meeting on April 30, Biggart presented a financial report on the first 10 months of the CSU’s fiscal year, from June 2017 to March 2018. During that time, the union exceeded its annual budget in three areas.

First, council and electoral expenses exceeded their budget line by about $900. Biggart said these expenses will likely exceed their budget by “a few thousand” by the end of the year due to unforeseen election expenses. In April, The Link reported that the union increased the honorarium for the CSU’s chief electoral officer, Nicholas Roberts, from $9,000 to $13,000 after he reported working more hours than expected.

Financial and legal fees have exceeded their budget by about $3,800 so far this fiscal year. Biggart said these additional legal expenses are mostly leftovers from the previous year, when the CSU re-negotiated its collective agreement.

IT and management information system expenses overshot their $64,000 budget by about $12,100. Biggart said this was mainly because the hiring process for a new IT administrator took longer than expected due to a lack of qualified applicants. In the meantime, the union spent over $19,500 on outsourced IT labour, a line for which only $5,000 had been budgeted.

In addition, revenue for the first 10 months has been lower than projected. However, Biggart said the 10-month estimate is misleading because many revenue streams are only calculated at the end of the year. The most important of these is the revenue from student registration fees, which is projected to make up $1.8 million of the union’s forecasted $2.7 million total revenue. Biggart said once this revenue is consolidated, the union will end the year with a surplus. However, he could not say how close the surplus would be to the $42,619 estimated in the budget, since “the majority of our revenues are student fees, which aren’t predictable past what we have already budgeted.”

The CSU’s audited financial statements were also presented at the meeting. The auditor, Deloitte, issued a qualified opinion on the union’s finances, meaning the firm did not have all of the information needed to perform a full audit. In its report, Deloitte said this was because the CSU’s for-profit body, Cusacorp Management Ltd., had not had its financial statements audited.

Finally, a representative of the CSU housing cooperative gave a presentation on the progress of the project. In her presentation, Hanna McNeil said construction on the housing complex—which the team named Woodnote/Note des Bois—is projected to be finished in the summer of 2019. According to the CSU’s 2017-18 year-end report, the building that occupied the project site has been demolished, and the next step is to have the soil de-contaminated. McNeil also presented a timeline for the completion of the project. Over the summer, the project committee will, among other things, draft the cooperative’s bylaws, draft contracts with the CSU and the Unité de travail pour l’implantation de logement étudiant (UTILE), and create a website for the project.

Graphic by Zeze Le Lin

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