Minutes: February 14, 2011

MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday February 14, 2011 at 1:10 p.m. in room 3214, William G. Davis Building.

Present: L. Bailey (in the Chair), P. Donoghue, A. Mullin, U. Krull, A. Wensley, C. Capewell, H. Miller, M. Georges, B. Schneider, P. Goldsmith
Assessors: J. Lim, S. Prosser
Regrets: D. Saini, D. Crocker, R. Reisz, L. Kramer
In attendance: M. Overton

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (January 11, 2011)

The minutes of the January 11, 2011 meeting were approved.

2) Reports of Committees and Officers:

a) Update from the Chief Administrative Officer – Paul Donoghue

Capital Projects

Mr. Donoghue briefed members on two immediate projects. The first he reported on was the Academic Annex which is the modular building adjacent to the Kaneff Building and the Student Centre. He advised that furniture has been ordered and the building is ready for occupancy. He noted that some of the tenants have already moved in but that the psychology department will be a main tenant and they are scheduled to move in when the academic term ends.

The second project involves the Davis Building office addition and he reported that the fire inspection has been completed and it is expected that the occupancy permit will be obtained next week. Space allocation is almost finalized, furniture has been ordered and occupancy should begin in approximately two weeks.

The next major capital project that will be undertaken will be the renovation of the main floor of the Davis building, specifically the old library space, meeting place, and the registrar’s office. A request for approval has been submitted to St. George for the user committee to be restarted so that the project can be included in this planning cycle. It is hoped that the request for the user committee will go to planning and budget in the next two weeks.

He reported that the other major projects that are pending are related to the request submitted to the government for funding which pertain to the $50M phase one reconstruction of the North Building and the $25M request for refurbishing teaching and research laboratories in the Davis Building. A request to form a user committee for the North Building re-construction project has also been submitted to St. George. At present it is unknown as to whether government funding will be advanced.

In terms of large renovation projects he reported that the chemistry teaching laboratory renovation should be completed this summer.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

A member asked if there will be representation from the psychology department on the user committee for the North Building. It was confirmed that they will have representation.

In response to an inquiry about the food services that are currently located in the section of the North Building due to be renovated, Mr. Donoghue advised that there will be food services available in the Instructional Centre as of this summer and that the food services in the North Building will be temporarily relocated and then a permanent arrangement will be established when the re-construction is complete.

Master Plan Update

The master plan update presentation is attached hereto as Appendix A in its entirety.

Mr. Donoghue reported that three to four months last year were spent updating the master plan and it is now nearing completion. The fundamental concepts, the plan and the building envelopes were approved through a series of procedures last year. The plan will go to planning and budget at the next meeting. Within the next four to six weeks the final version should be available and will be posted on the Council website. The plan will then be taken to the city of Mississauga and briefing sessions will be conducted internally and within the local community. He reviewed the building envelope maps which divide the campus into regions for development. He cautioned that the building envelopes have been developed to provide the maximum build out available however that does not mean that the entire area will be utilized but rather depicts what the maximum could be. He provided an overview of the eight building envelopes and the future development of each. He noted that the master plan allows for the campus to more than double its space.

He explained that the whole point of a master plan is to have a long range plan for development and that it will provide a guide for administrative successors. He used the similarity between the 2000 plan and what has actually been built in the past few years to illustrate this point.

He then detailed the first phase of re-construction in the North Building and advised that the representation has changed in the past week and is not illustrated in the current presentation. The initial build (the left section of the building) will in fact be the tallest part of the structure and could be potentially six stories above grade. The reasoning is to optimize the return on the first phase of re-construction should the funding become available.

There were no questions on the report.

Final 2011-12 Budget

Mr. Donoghue noted that approvals for the 2011-12 budget have been received over the past few weeks from St. George. He feels that the key message is that we came out of the process quite well, in the sense that we managed to avoid having to make cuts to the operating budget for the upcoming year: that is a significant achievement. He asked Christine Capewell to explain the major challenges we have had to navigate.

Ms. Capewell noted that we are faced with an unfunded pension liability issue which results in an expense for UTM close to $3M in 2011-12 and will increase over the next three years to $6M a year. She advised that it is a huge amount to be handled because of the tight budgeting. As well the benefit rate has increased for appointed staff in the past six months. She was happy to advise that due to growth and meeting our targets this year we will be able to absorb this expense without having to impose department budget cuts. With respect to the amount planned, related to the unfunded pension liability, Dean Mullin reminded the committee that our number is a direct function of the university-wide liability and further, that the allocation (planned hit to the budget) is contingent upon government acceptance of the university's plan to retire the unfunded liability over a period of 15 years. Should the government not approve such a plan, the immediate impact on the university (and by definition the UTM) operating budget will be huge.

Ms. Capewell reported that our gross revenue is approximately $150M per year and we pay about $25M into university wide costs. We also contribute 10%, approximately $15M, to the university fund. A portion of the university fund is then distributed back to the division and this year we received $2.7M. She just received notification that the amount will be increased by an additional $1.8M next year. Dean Mullin noted that this is the first year we have gotten more back than Scarborough and it was to reward our efforts in improving revenues and recognize growth. Ms. Capewell advised that the largest challenge is to find room within the operating budget for the large renovations required for continued growth.

Mr. Donoghue provided further explanation surrounding the issues faced in terms of the operating budget. He noted that our budget includes a deficit repayment of $3M per year. He explained that the deficit (originally $18-20M) was incurred during the time of rapid expansion where a conscious decision was made to incur the expenses upfront and expand proactively. It is now being repaid at $3M per year and it is expected to be repaid by 2015-16. He believes that if we avoid operating debt going forward we will be in a very strong position to realize the goals we have set for the next few years.

With respect to our need for access to capital, Mr. Donoghue noted that the operating budget has been structured so that we are able to carry debt should the opportunity to borrow additional capital arise.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

In response to the question regarding the increase in the benefit amount Ms. Capewell advised that it will increase from 23.75% to 24.25% May 1, 2011.

A member asked if reframing the financial argument might allow us to get more of the $15M that flows to St. George back. It was noted that it is the argument the member suggested that is currently employed and that has led to us successfully obtaining the $2.7M back this year. Mr. Donoghue advised that we are not going to see quantum leaps in the amount we get back because the amount is directly tied to the overall operation of the university. The university fund is an important source for cross subsidy throughout the university.

There was no new business.

The next meeting of the Resource Planning and Priorities Committee is scheduled for Monday March 28, 2011.

The meeting adjourned at 1:50 p.m.