Minutes: January 19, 2009

Meeting of the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee of Erindale College Council held on Monday, January 19, 2009 at 3:10 p.m. in Ante Room 3129, South Building.

Present: D. Kreuger; R. Reisz; C. Capewell; A. Wensley; M. Tombak; N. Basiliko; I. Orchard; D. Crocker; P. Goldsmith; A. Fleming; S. Munro; D. Raffman;
Regrets: W. Malik;
Guests: C. Bryson; G. Richter; J. Santiago; D. Mullings; A. MacIsaac; B. McFadden; M. Overton;

1. Approval of the Minutes of the previous meeting (November 24, 2008).
The minutes were approved.

2. Reports of Committees and Officers:

a.) Overview of the Budget Process – Christine Capewell, Director of Business

C. Capewell explained that the departments review their budgets and plans. They are reminded of the goals the ancillaries are trying to meet: they are to be financially responsible, so the academic budget isn’t burdened; they are expected to cover all their costs in the long term and expected not to have a subsidy from the academic budget, which ours do not have; they are expected to put away reserves and to contribute back to the operating budget.

A member inquired about how Chartwells contributes to the UTM budget. Capewell explained that some ancillaries departments do provide a contribution to the operating budget, but this isn’t the case at the moment in particular, Food Services is operating with a deficit budget.

b.) Food Services - Bill McFadden, Manager of Retail Planning, Development and Operations

The Food Services management report and operating plan are attached hereto as Appendix A.

McFadden explained that the goal is to provide quality food, cover costs, create a reserve, operate a financially viable operation and contribute to operating budget. The budget schedule 1 forecast column shows revenues higher due to intensification of offerings. There is a surplus of $187,058 and they are almost entirely out of the debt. There has been significant growth the last two years, but they do expect that next year’s growth to slow down due to the economic climate. They are looking at the impact of a small inflationary increase which maybe just 1%.

The budget schedule 6 shows that the meal plan rates are set by two factors, providing value and trying to keep plan increases small. The regular meal plan, which is the most popular, is staying the same. The overall blended weighted average is 2.3% due to Plan B minimum, which is seeing the greatest increase at $300, which allows for tax exemptions. It's the smallest required partial declining balance a la carte meal plan in Ontario.

The cost of food is increasing at a rate higher than the Consumer Price Index which is currently showing an increase of 7.6%. There will be a lot of pressure on Chartwells to keep their prices at 3.5% increases.

Food Services has started to put funds away for new facilities. They have $40,000 set aside. The result is that we are seeing an operating surplus of $189,058 (schedule 1), which officially gets food services out of debt.

It was duly moved and seconded, THAT the Food Services Operating Plan and Management Report for 2009-10 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • A member commented that Food Services is an important issue to the campus and the process of providing a monopoly is part of the serious problem. Food Services has improved a lot over recent years, but it still has a long way to go. The way to move forward would be to introduce competition and he would like to see a variety of food services providers. B. McFadden agrees that we do need more food services on campus and students are currently underserved. His experience is that competition reduces the economies of scale. Queen’s had a variety of providers on campus and the quality of food and service eroded. The hours of operation of those independent food providers were reduced as they competed and tried to earn a profit, and overall the campus community lost.

The motion was carried.

c.) Residence - Dale Mullings, Director, Student Housing & Residence Life

The Residence management report and operating plan are attached hereto as Appendix B.

Mulling explained that the forecast is better than the financial plan presenting last year and they now only have a $225,000 deficit for 2008-09. There is a higher occupancy rates than expected, which increased revenues. Also, some savings on salaries helped keep expenses down.

The proposed 2009-10 year is now looking to meet SARG guidelines. The occupancy is expected to be at 96%. There are major maintenance expenses addressing aging roofing and plumbing issues. They propose an increased spending on residence life, but also proposing an additional first year student RezOne program fee increase to offset expenses. They plan to expanding wireless coverage to all the residence buildings in partnership with Computing Services. Next year the undergraduate fees will increase by 5.5%, as opposed to 8% last year. Family & Graduate rates will rise by 3.5%. Overall there will be a net increase of 5.7%. A 20-year loan is coming due in 2010, so fees need to be increased accordingly to meet that need.

It was duly moved and seconded, THAT the Residence Operating Plan and Management Report for 2009-10 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • A member asked given economic downturn, will the average increase in rental still give us a 96% occupancy? Mullings replied it’s safer to assume 96%, but they’re actually aiming for 98%, given their new marketing initiatives.
  • A member asked about the current vacancy rates in the community? Mullings replied that CMHC projects vacancy rates in GTA will be 2%, and in Peel 2.2%. The vacancy rates for units similar to ours are closer to 4%.
  • A member inquired about the actual rates and comparison to UTSC? Mullings referred to Schedule 6 which indicates the current rates, but he is not aware of UTSC rates. Overall average rate $5,400 for OPH, and $5,700 for next year.

The motion was carried.

d.) Conference Services - Gale Richter, Manager

The Residence management report and operating plan are attached hereto as Appendix C.

The operating plan and experience for 2008-09 revenues are expected to be higher due to a number of groups coming to the campus after the budget was submitted last year.

For 2009-10, revenues are anticipated to be equal to this years’ due to uncertain economic conditions, some events are likely to be smaller this year as fewer people attend these events. Some delegations are likely to be lower as firms aim to cut costs.

The operating budget forecast allows for a $100 contribution to UTM operating budget.

It was duly moved and seconded, THAT the Conference Services Operating Plan and Management Report for 2009-10 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval.

The Chair opened the floor to questions. There were no questions.

The motion was carried.

e.) Parking Services - Alex MacIsaac, Manager Parking & Transportation

The Parking Services management report and operating plan are attached hereto as Appendix D.

Overall in parking, the U-Pass has had a dramatic impact. The impact has been that student permit pass sales have decreased. But they’re using the pay and display units more often, so revenue there has increased.

Last year there was concern about the hang tags, so they will move away from hanging tags to a card permit that would stay on the dash with Velcro. One of objectives is safety, so we are working with grounds to ensure snow and ice removal. We are aiming to do better this year.

It was duly moved and seconded, THAT the Parking Services Operating Plan and Management Report for 2009-10 be recommended to Erindale College Council for approval.

The Chair opened the floor to questions:

  • Member asked if the dash board tags be a distraction with the reflection. MacIsaac replied that UofT has used them for years. The tags likely will not be white and creating little to no reflection.
  • A student representative inquired about any proposed increases. MacIsaac replied that for students and faculty there will be no increase, but there will be a 14% increase on commercial vehicles referring to schedule 5.
  • A member inquired about the car pool spots and whether they were being appropriately used. MacIsaac replied in some lots they’re highly utilized, but some not. The Prinicipal noted that the campus Sustainability Officer has a project on the go to examine the car-pooling program, and why people do or do not use them.

The motion was carried.

3.A) Overview of Parking Ticket Issues: Alex MacIsaac, Manager Parking & Transportation

A. Wensley reiterated that at Council a number of issues were raised with respect to tickets issued when people were parking appropriately, but to correct the error they had to go off campus. R. Reisz personally received about half a dozen reports that parking stickers were placed and visible, but tickets were issued. There is considerable frustration as there is no mechanism to fix the problem on campus. S. Munro added that this is an issue that has affected staff, faculty and students.

MacIsaac explained that City of Mississauga issues the tickets, and also campus police and a UTM staff member can issue tickets. The “First attendant system” is explained on the back of the ticket. In the fall there was a rash of problems, where new parking enforcement officers were miss-ticketing and issuing tickets incorrectly. The issues were resolved, and MacIsaac is investigating with the City to discuss this. In the calendar year, they issued 15,000 tickets, meaning that there are a lot of unpaid parking, and MacIsaac is hoping that this number decreases. There is no appeal process on campus at the moment, but MacIsaac plans to discuss this with the City. Over the last few years they have worked to try to improve service. They understand the frustration and will look into it to try to deal with the issues.

A member inquired on the timeline for a solution? MacIsaac replied that right now the number of errors is quite low. It happens, but only from time to time—most tickets are issued correctly. The Chair asked if there is a clear error in issuing the tickets, could not Campus Police have the authority to cancel the tickets? MacIsaac answered that they would have to be designated as a “First Attendant” station, and they’re looking into that. MacIssac agreed to report back to RPPC at a later date to update the Committee on the progress of this issue.

3.B) By-Law Revisions: Devin Kreuger, Acting Director of Governance

D. Kreuger briefly informed the Committee that he is working on some revisions to the UTM By-Laws. One of the significant changes will be the transformation of the Computing Committee from a Standing Committee to a subcommittee of RPPC. This change is being made in recognition that while the Computing Committee should have a place in the governance system, that it does not do enough substantive business to be a formal Standing Committee. Along with this change, Kreuger is proposing that the CIO should be made a permanent member of RPPC. These changes will be circulated to the RPPC members for their review prior to the next RPPC meeting.

In response to a member’s inquiry, Kreuger reiterated that in the last five years, only one motion came from the Computing Committee to ECC.

4. The meeting adjourned at 4:30 p.m.

5. The next meeting of Resource, Planning and Priorities Committee will be on February 23, 2009.