Minutes: January 22, 2007.


Erindale College

Meeting of the RESOURCE PLANNING AND PRIORITIES COMMITTEE of Erindale College Council held on Monday, January 22, 2007 at 3.10 p.m. in the Ante-Room, #3129, South Building.

Present: R. Reisz (in the Chair), R. deSouza, R. Beck, S. Al-Abdul Wahid, C. Capewell, D. Crocker, K. Duncliffe, B. Gupta, M. Jalland, U. Krull, S. Munro, D. Pond, G. Rattan

Regrets: F. Ahmed, N. Collins, M. Georges, C. Jones, M. Lord, P. Pliner

In Attendance: M. Braithwaite, C. McGrath, G. Richter, A. MacIsaac, B. McFadden, A. Lopatriello, E. Zammit

1) Approval of Minutes of the Previous Meeting (November 20, 2006)

The Minutes of the previous meeting were approved. (R. deSouza/D. Crocker)

2) Reports of Committees and Officers:

a) Overview of the Budget Process

Mr. deSouza gave a powerpoint presentation outlining the budget process for ancillary operations. He advised members of the U of T governance route, noting that, after proceeding through UofT Mississauga governance, the budgets had to be approved by the Service Ancillary Review Group (SARG), then the University Affairs Board, then the Business Board, and finally Governing Council. He observed that SARG oversees Parking Services, Residences, Conference Services, and Food Services. This Committee provides advice and formulates recommendations for operating and capital budgets for ancillaries, and also reviews annual operating plans and budgets, ensuring that plans, budgets, and fees represent a reasonable approach to each service ancillary budget for the coming year and that revenue projections are indeed realistic. SARG reviews long-range (= five-year) operating and capital plans, and recommends plans and budgets to the University Affairs Board for approval. Mr. deSouza noted that the four cornerstone objectives of SARG were: 1) to function without a subsidy from operating budgets; 2) to provide for ALL costs of capital renewal including deferred maintenance; 3) to generate sufficient surplus to cover operating contingencies; and 4) to contribute net revenue to the University’s operating budget. He observed that the process at the University of Toronto Mississauga was indeed widely consultative. There was regular and ongoing consultation with administration, Business Services, and ancillary administration throughout the fiscal year. There was also discussion, including informal sessions and consultation with student governors, town hall meetings and orientation sessions. He mentioned that a Stakeholders’ Meeting on the 2007/08 Parking Budget had been held on December 4, 2006. Before being presented to the Resource Planning & Priorities Committee, the draft parking budget was routinely presented to the Transportation and Parking Sub-Committee which had student, administrative, and faculty representation. Mr. deSouza noted that a meeting of that Committee had been held on January 9, 2007.

The Chair, Professor Reisz, opened the floor to questions. As there were none, he proceeded to the next item on the agenda.

b) Ancillary Budgets and Financial Plans

i. Conference Services

Ms Richter, Manager of Conference Services, provided an overview of its mission, issues, and services. She noted that Conference Services provided conference and event arrangements, including accommodation and food arrangements for a very diverse clientele, from school groups to the Toronto Argonauts. The primary goals of Conference Services were to make use of campus resources that might otherwise remain idle, to produce income for this campus, to cover both direct and indirect costs to produce a contribution to the operating budget annually, to maintain and replace campus resources used for Conferences and other things, and to maintain an operating reserve equal to 10% of the total annual expenses net of capital renewal and Conference Expenses (Food). She remarked that there was a need to increase external sales and profitability, noting on a positive note that Conference Services was currently actively pursuing three new conference and would be working on more business for the months of May and June. Another issue which needed to be addressed was optimum utilization of space in an expanding and constantly changing environment.

Ms Richter reported that revenues were expected to be $106,397 lower than the original budget in 2006-07, as a result of a change in presentation resulting in the inclusion of food revenues related to external conference and catering revenue only. Salaries, wages, and benefits would be $32,573 lower than budget due to lower than budgeted expenses for temporary employment. The annual maintenance expense would exceed budget as a result of unanticipated repairs as a result of damages. The equipment/furnishing repair/purchase would be $1,640 lower than budget. Other expenses would be higher than budgeted for by about $62,000 as a result of an increase in cleaning costs, laundry expenses, and higher volume equipment rental costs. Another contributing factor was the cost of $7,000 incurred to develop Conference Management software. Ms Richter observed that the operating result after commitments was $20,166. She also noted that there was no capital renewal reserve for Conference Services as it had no capital. The surplus closing balance was a deficit of $11,418 and the total fund balance would be $27,751.

Ms Richter informed the Committee that total revenues were expected to increase to $934,509 in 2007-08 due to higher accommodation and food revenues. The accommodation income was expected to increase by 2%. Total expenses would increase by approximately 3% ($24,000) as a result of inflationary increases and the higher service needs incurred by increased business. Other expenses would decrease slightly as no software costs should be incurred. The operating result after commitments was forecast at $54,186. The projected surplus closing balance was $42,768 and the total fund balance $82,924.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

Mr. Al-Abdul-Wahid observed that Conference Services was taking in revenue for accommodation and enquired why there was no attribution to the Residence operation for a portion of this. He felt that this was a unique situation and that there should be a direct attribution. Otherwise, it appeared that the costs for other campus groups were being borne by students in residence. Ms Richter emphasized that Conference Services was utilizing space in the Residences which would otherwise remain idle, noting that Conference Services also paid for the operating costs incurred during the summer. Ms Capewell agreed, adding that there was a maintenance attribution in that utilities and other building costs were being borne by Conference Services. She also noted that all other residence ancillaries operated on this principle. Mr. McGrath felt that this should be closely examined, noting that other costs (aside from utilities) associated with space use such as capital renewal, staffing, etc., were not being attributed. Mr. deSouza stated that, if there was a full academic program during the summer, U of T Mississauga would not be in this position, emphasizing that Conference Services was only using beds that were unsold, and would otherwise be unused, by the Residence operation. Ms Capewell assured members that other maintenance costs aside from utilities were indeed being attributed to the Residences, and that this campus’ approach was the same as U of T’s as a whole.

Professor Pond observed that under Capital Renewal - Annual Maintenance, the variance for 2006-07 was substantial. It was indicated that the budget was exceeded as a result of required repairs due to damages, and he asked for clarification on this. Ms Capewell responded that damages had indeed been billed back to customers and recovered where feasible, in which case the money was included as income.

IT was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Conference Services budget and financial plan be approved as circulated. (G. Richter/D. Crocker)

The motion was approved.

ii. Food Services

Ms Capewell, Director of Business Services noted that the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Food Services clearly needed to expand and improve to accommodate this campus’ growth. More outlets and more variety were warranted. There were, however, both financial and space constraints. She reported that immediate expansion plans included Starbucks in the HMALC and the new Residence Dining Hall and related meal plans, both slated to open in September 2007. There were plans to close Spigel Hall, which generated much lower revenues than it should be, primarily because of its poor location. This food outlet clearly could not justify further investment to replace equipment, etc. She assured members that, in light of the need for expanded service and plans to close Spigel Hall, a comprehensive plan for food service on campus would indeed be pursued.

Ms Capewell reported that the Food Services Ancillary had incurred losses in recent years, largely attributable to costs incurred to make improvements for the expanding campus population and to gear up for the introduction of the meal plan to be introduced in the fall. For 2006-07, revenues were expected to exceed budget by a total of $468,215 primarily as a result of higher than budgeted for cafeteria cash sales. Expenses would exceed budget by $506,069 largely due to increased Cost of Sales. Annual maintenance expenses had also exceed budget by $16,846 as a result of unanticipated and costly equipment repair. Other expenses exceeded budget because of consulting fees for the new outlets, higher than expected software costs, and training costs regarding the implementation of the new meal plan. The operating result after commitments was a deficit of $174,158.

Ms Capewell observed that the budget for 2007-08 reflected the introduction of the meal plan, which would result in a large increase in revenues and expenses. Capital Renewal costs would also increase. Space costs would increase substantially with the opening of the Dining Hall and Starbucks. Although a deficit was still being predicted for next year, Ms Capewell said that the operation should start to turn around in the future, and felt that it would indeed be a profitable organization in the coming years.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

Mr. Al-Abdul-Wahid commended Ms Capewell and Food Services for the plans to improve Food Services on this campus. He enquired about the Capital Expenditure listed at $689,000. Ms Capewell responded that this was for Residence Dining Hall equipment. He also asked whether, with the planned closure of Spigel Hall, the space would still be available for students to study in, noting that this was
what it was used primarily for now. Ms. Capewell replied that this was a U of T Mississauga decision, not one that Food Services could make. She added that it would be a huge challenge to find an alternative Food Service area.

Professor Munro wondered if the location of another Tim Horton’s and other alternative food outlets in Spigel Hall might improve business there. Ms Capewell reminded members that Tim Horton’s had been situated there at one stage, and was not successful, which was a testament to the fact that the location was indeed not conducive to business.

It was duly moved and seconded
THAT the Food Services budget and financial plan be approved as circulated. (C. Capewell/D. Pond)

The motion was approved.
iii. Parking Services

Mr. MacIsaac, Manager, Parking & Transportation, gave an overview of the objectives of Parking Services which were:

$ to provide cost-effective and safe parking facilities while protecting green space
$ to cover both direct and indirect costs and provide for the renewal of capital equipment
$ to maintain an operating contingency fund (excluding capital) equal to 10% of the annual expense budget
$ to operate a financially viable ancillary while keeping rates as low as possible
$ to provide net contributions to U of T Mississauga’s operating budget

He reported that there was no planned expansion of parking for 2007-08 and that, in order to minimize potential problems resulting from increased enrolment, Parking Services was taking the following into consideration:

$ adjusting the mix of reserved vs unreserved parking spaces
$ improving signage
$ adjusting prices to encourage use of lower-demand areas
$ encouraging carpooling
$ continuing to pursue improvements regarding Mississauga Transit, UPass, and GO Transit
$ supporting efforts to schedule classes outside of the core busy time, M-R,
10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

These efforts should allow the campus to avoid the need to create more parking spaces in the next few years, although this ancillary would continue to closely monitor supply and demand.

For 2006-07, revenues were expected to exceed budget by a total of $580,333 due to higher than budgeted for permit sales and Pay & Display revenues, largely as a result of improved parking management. Salaries were expected to be $95,996 higher than budget, due to a greater than planned for use of St. George Parking Services to manage this operation and implement several operational changes, as well as plans to hire staff to assist with the demands of this operation. Mr. MacIsaac observed that the expense for Parking Attendants had been eliminated due to the fact that the City of Mississauga was now enforcing parking. The major maintenance expense under Capital Renewal had not reached budget because the storm water management pond construction had been delayed, along with the related resurfacing of Lot #4. As a result of the changes in parking management practices, the budget deficit had been eliminated. The operating result after commitments was $3,128.

Mr. MacIsaac reported that the budget for 2007-08 reflected a rate increase of 1% for all annual parking permits. He observed that there would be an adjustment in unreserved permit parking, which would include an adjusted zoning scale to reflect the change in demand of some unreserved lots over others as outlined in the report. Premium unreserved permits would be introduced which would be $20 more than unreserved permits. The price of the unreserved parking permit would actually drop by .6% from the 2006-07 rate. An hourly rate of $1 would be introduced on weekends. He mentioned that a review of the on-line process for sales of permits would be undertaken. Ms Crocker suggested that the number of carpooling spots be reduced, noting that outdoor reserved parking was a problem. She recommended that CCT reserved parking rates be more in line with the price of outdoor reserved rates to alleviate this problem. Mr. MacIsaac agreed to look into this. Professor Pond observed that the on-line sale of permits might be difficult as some students did not have credit cards. Mr. MacIsaac noted that 70% of people using Pay & Display machines were paying by credit card. In any case, this would be taken into consideration when reviewing the on-line sales of permits.

Mr. Al-Abdul-Wahid expressed his appreciation for the Stakeholders’ Meeting, observing that it was an incredibly effective forum for questions and concerns to be raised and addressed. Ms Capewell noted that it was her intention to hold this annually.

IT was duly moved and seconded,
THAT the Parking Services budget and financial plan be approved as circulated. (A. MacIsaac/S. Munro)

The motion was approved.

iv. Residence

Mr. McGrath, Assistant Dean, Student Affairs thanked Angelina Lopatriello and Elizabeth Zammit for their efforts in preparing Residence budget information.

He introduced Marc Braithwaite, the new Director of Student Housing & Residence Life at the U of T Mississauga.

Mr. McGrath outlined the objectives of the Residence operation as listed in the Management Report circulated to members. A crucial objective was “to encourage the creation of an inclusive and highly supportive living environment that advances the academic mission of the University by encouraging respect for critical and independent thought, intellectual discussion, and academic achievement.” He noted that there had been 812 beds added to Residence operation over the past eight years.

Mr. McGrath highlighted some of the key accomplishments in 2006-07, which included increased participation in and satisfaction with the rezONE First Year Experience program, which matched first-year students with outstanding upper-year residence students in their academic discipline. A new Director of Student Housing and Residence Life had been successfully recruited and hired. The new residence, Oscar Peterson Hall, was under construction and slated to open in September 2007. The development and implementation of the residence meal plan was ongoing. There were continued enhancements to on-line residence application and account management for all residence students. Residence space redesign and upgrades were continuing. An on-line listing system for off-campus housing was introduced. A four-year residence guarantee for international students had been introduced.

Plans for 2007-08 included the opening of Oscar Peterson Hall, which would add 423 beds to the Residence operation. The rezONE First Year Experience Program would continue to be developed. The new residence meal plan would be implemented in September 2007. Other plans included the conversion of units in Schreiberwood Residence to premium suites for graduate students, the introduction of housing for medical academy students, and the re-introduction of housing for faculty.

Mr. McGrath reported that, for 2006-07, revenues were expected to be slightly over budget, as a result of meeting the goal of 98% occupancy, increased summer session revenue and increases in commissions and other income. Capital Renewal - annual maintenance was higher than budget as a result of extensive repairs needed throughout the residences. The greatest variance was under Capital Renewal - major maintenance as a result of significant roof repairs in Schreiberwood . The overall positive revenue variance was approximately $41,000.

Regarding the 2007-08 budget, Mr. McGrath observed that the operating result after commitments was a deficit of $1,650,589, which reflected the construction of Oscar Peterson Hall and the related mortgage and interest costs compounded by the opening of Erindale Hall and Roy Ivor Hall. It was predicted that in four years, by 2010-11, the annual operating result before commitments would be positive.

Mr. McGrath noted that the budget for 2007-08 reflected residence rate increases of 8.8% for undergraduate residence and 5.13% for family/graduate residence. He emphasized that the process to determine the increases had been highly consultative and had been discussed at two Town Hall meetings as well as at Residence Council meetings. Residence rates for undergraduates continued to rest in the mid-range of the competitor market with other colleges and universities and the off-campus housing market. CMHC data showed that the family/graduate rates continued to be about 20% lower than similar housing in the surrounding areas of Mississauga North and Mississauga South.

The Chair opened the floor to questions.

Professor Pond commended Mr. McGrath for this excellent presentation. The Chair, Professor Reisz, observed that in the past the process for the preparation of rooms for new students had been substandard. Mr. McGrath responded that significant strides had been made with positive results in this regard. Previously this was a very small operation relying primarily on students to prepare the rooms. Later, the room preparation had been outsourced to Conference Services, which had put a tremendous staffing burden on that ancillary. Last year, this was framed as an external maintenance issue, and a company had been hired, which would be used again. There had been no complaints regarding this to date. The residence rooms were also on a repaint schedule every seven years. This accounted for increases in annual maintenance costs.

It was duly moved and seconded
THAT the Residence budget and financial plan be approved as circulated. (C. McGrath/R. deSouza)

The motion was approved.

3) Next Meeting

The Chair noted that the Committee would next meet on February 26, 2007.

4) Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 4.35 p.m. (D.Pond/D.Crocker)

Secretary__________________ Chair___________________