This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB Council updated on budget figures

Published: September 30, 2004

Reporter Editor

The state budget numbers are in, and UB will receive a 2.6 percent increase in its state operating budget allocation for 2004-05 over what it received in 2003-04, James A. (Beau) Willis, chief of staff in the Office of the President and interim executive vice president for finance and operations, told the UB Council on Monday.

In actual dollars, that's an increase of $7 million for a total budget allocation of $290 million, Willis said, adding that the figure reflects tax support from the state and campus tuition revenue.

Willis reported that the state negotiated salary increase for employees will be funded through the budget. However, the way the money—$11 million has been identified for this purpose, he said—will be distributed across the campuses is still "under discussion." "Ideally, we'll get all of (UB's salary costs)," he said.

Willis told council members that SUNY is reviewing the basis by which it allocates state tax support to the campuses—the BAP, or Budget Allocation Process. Although a formal proposal has yet to emerge, discussions are ongoing at the staff level, he said.

UB fared well under the five-year capital plan approved by the Legislature, which allocates more than $1 billion to the SUNY system, he noted. Of that amount, UB will receive $178 million, more than any other SUNY institution and "a sizable increase to the campus" over the previous five-year plan, he said.

The money will cover some of UB's construction needs over the next five years—largely rehabilitation and critical maintenance projects—but does not provide for many projects that will allow UB to develop programs, he said.

Although Gov. George Pataki vetoed the $52 million UB had hoped to receive to renovate Acheson Hall and move the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences from Cooke Hall on the North Campus into the South Campus building, the plan "has a lot of support in Albany," Willis noted. He added that there may be an attempt by the Governor's Office and the Legislature to add money to the capital plan to facilitate the proposal.

In other business, Willis, a co-chair of the presidential inaugural committee, updated the council on activities surrounding the investiture ceremony on Oct. 15. He said that 1,800 persons are expected to attend the ceremony, including more than 120 delegates from universities across the country and around the world.

President John B. Simpson pointed out that the investiture ceremony will be just one of more than 60 events being held during October that will "celebrate the academic life, spirit and future of the university."

Also at Monday's meeting, Satish K. Tripathi, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, told council members that SUNY Mission Review II is well under way. Under the first mission review, which was completed about five years ago, SUNY institutions identified their goals and market niches, Tripathi said. The current effort will dovetail with the academic planning process that also is under way at UB, he said. The goal is to create a compact with SUNY that outlines the goals and aspirations that emerge from the academic planning process, he added.

Noting that mission review is a long process, Tripathi said the first deadline the university must meet is to submit a "skeleton plan" by Dec. 15. After "negotiations" with SUNY, UB is to submit a final plan by October 2005.

Council Chair Jeremy M. Jacobs cautioned Tripathi to be realistic when developing the mission review plan, taking into account the willingness of the state "to support your ambitions, your vision." UB, he said, needs the "financial wherewithal" to achieve its goals, noting that the first mission review plan did not take this into account.