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Student fee increase could fund third SafeRide van

A potential UNBSU fee increase was brought up in council for the first time on Sunday.

Currently the UNBSU fee stands at $95 per student, about $40 dollars below the average for student unions in the Atlantic provinces, and haven’t been raised since the 2011-2012 academic year.

UNBSU vice-president finance and operations Will Macmackin proposed a model for a $20 increase per student, which would bring in an additional $100,000 to the student union.

“At this point given how many years we have not reviewed raising the fee as an organization, we cannot cut services any further and expect to operate efficiently or up to our constituents’ standards,” Macmackin said.

The additional revenue would go towards the UNBSU’s $16,625 deficit and boost the quality of the services they currently provide.

“In our bylaws the council has the ability to raise our fees in order to meet our operating expenses,” said UNBSU president Greg Bailey.

“All of these things that we’re discussing, we made sure that none of them were for new services. We wanted to make sure that if we were going to be asking for money from students that we had somewhere to put it.”

One service the Bailey and Macmackin would like to see receive more funding is the Safe Ride program. With the modeled fee increase of $20 per student, Macmackin proposed that $30,000 be allocated to Safe Ride, providing the funding needed for the operation of a third van and an extension of service hours.

Other services that would see a portion of the increase would be clubs and societies and the residence grant program.

“Basically I had Will go through our services and see which ones have been slashed over the years and do an assessment of what in fact each service would need in order to get back to a decent level of operating,” Bailey said.

The discussion of the proposed fee increase at council is only the first step of the process. From here, Macmackin will bring the suggestions from the UNBSU council to the UNBSU finance committee. After this the council will vote to raise the fee.

For the fee to be effective next year, the proposal needs to be ready to be passed though the Board of Governors at the end of January.

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