SGA Senate meeting provides updates on shuttle buses, fees on campus

October 31, 2016

Dillon Taunton

[email protected]

     Since the start of the semester, SGA has spent $43,309, which leaves them with $74,578.

     SGA held another Senate Meeting on Oct. 20 in which they approved more club fund requests and listened to updates from several departments across campus.

     Funding requests approved at the Oct. 20 meeting was $218.58 for Men’s Club Volleyball and $112 for the Accounting Honor Society.

     Jim Spice, executive director of Parking and Transportation Services, proposed to use funds from the Safety and Transportation Fee to purchase another shuttle bus at the Student Government Association’s senate meeting.

     The funding for the shuttle transportation system comes from student fees, according to Spice. Students pay the Safety and Transportation fee, which is $90 each semester.

     The fee, which solely funds transportation services and police, was passed by the student body in 1998 and exercises the option to be increased by 10 percent each year without a student vote.

     For the spring and fall 2016 semesters, the Safety and Transportation fee generated $2,038,000. Parking and Transportation Services received $957,860 (47 percent) of the funds, while $1,080,140 (53 percent) went to Public Safety, according to Spice.

     Transportation services will use these funds to replace buses in their fleet. According to Spice, two buses are due to be replaced this year as they are at the end of their seven-year lifespan.

     Spice hopes to replace both of these buses with a larger load bus for $300,000 as opposed to replacing them with the same load buses for $165,000 each.

     The medium-heavy load buses are more durable and could help cut down on the department’s fuel and vehicle maintenance costs, which costs $204,000. This cost has doubled since 2011 due to the age of the fleet, according to Spice.

     Marc Pino, interim chief of police, expanded on ways that the department used money from the Safety and Transportation Fee in the ’15- ‘16 fiscal year.

     The Safety and Transportation Fee generated $1,108,813. Of these funds, $904,216 was allocated to payroll and benefits for police officers on campus, said Pino.

     The department has also spent money on buying new equipment, such as ballistics vests, for incoming officers as well as a new patrol vehicle.

     Equipment for officers cost the department $8,302, and the new patrol vehicle cost $36,000.

     These are necessary expenses due to the increase in cases the UCCS police department is handling, said Pino. In 2008, Public Safety handled 420 cases. This year, the department has handled 696 cases.

     Pino also touched on the emergency call boxes on campus, which have recently experienced maintenance issues. Public Safety conducts maintenance on the emergency phones once a week for the 311 number service and monthly on the 911 number, according to Pino.

     “We don’t want to overload 911 dispatchers with tests every week,” said Pino.

     Issues with the emergency phones are fixed within the week, according to Pino. The phones are not used frequently and Public Safety is looking for more inexpensive, efficient methods to replace the phones, including the My Force Mobile App, said Pino.

     “In the four to five years, we have had one person sign up for it (My Force Mobile App). It costs about $30 a month, so that is not very popular,” said Pino.

     An emergency phone will also be installed at Lot 540, a free lot that students will be able to use on Nov. 1.

     Phillip Morris, program director for the Office of Veteran and Military Student Affairs, spoke about making military students feel a sense of community at UCCS through the department’s new transition program, Boots to Suits.

     “Each new military student has an adviser, and they give mentorship to students for their first semester. The program helps train faculty and staff for military culture to create a solid line of communication,” said Morris.

     Chad Garland, director of University Center Conference Services spoke about the University Center Bond fee that was created to construct student centers and cover bonds for campus buildings in 1970.

     “Last year, students voted for the Sunset Fee, a fee designed to pay off the bind set to expire in 2025; however, we need more time to pay off the bond,” said Garland.

     Garland expects to generate a substantial sum of money for the payment of these bonds through the Sunset Fee, in which $1,000,000 of the money generated goes to bond payments, according to Garland.

     “Fees are expected (to generate) $3.5 million and will probably be a little bit more due to an increase in student population,” said Garland.