SA board votes on bus fee raise

By Pam Schmidt

Although students may not have to pay more for bus service next year, the fee might be increased about $5 per academic year for fiscal years 1990 and 1991.

The Student Association Mass Transit Board approved a budget recommendation Monday which includes the one-time “lump sum” fee increase to be written into the three-year budget.

Despite board member’s strong opinion to approve a budget which would raise the busing fee for full-time students gradually, including increments for $3.60 for FY90 and $5.28 for FY91, the SAMTB voted to raise the fee $4.56 for both FY90 and FY91. The board will not recommend a fee increase fo next year.

After developing several budget scenarios, the board estimated that it would have enough money to operate through FY89 and maintain a carry-over figure of more than $30,000 if no increase were recommended. However, if the fee is not raised in later years, SAMTB might face a potential deficit of more than $145,000 by FY91.

Although the fee incease will be recommended as a one-time increase, the majority of board members said they favored raising the fee gradually.

Nick Jennison, a board member who said he originally favored the lump-sum package, said, “A gradual incease is the best … because it is not a good time for large increases when too many other fees are coming.”

“A gradual increase seems to be the fairest,” said board member Paul Crawford.

owever, other board members disagreed saying the board must try to increase services with each fee increase. Board member Chris Hoagland said she hoped the board would consider increasing services.

“Increases might not be necessary if an agreement can be worked out (between the university and the city of DeKalb) about section 18 funding,” she said.

Matt Carlson, administrative intern for DeKalb, said “As we increase fees, students like to see what they are going to get. If we are considering increasing the fee, it is important that the students know what they are getting for their money.”

Those in favor of the one-time increase defended the argument by saying the cost of operating the service increases each year, while the SAMTB has raised the fee only once during each student’s years on campus, board member Mark Harkness said.

The one-time increase will give SAMTB the carry-over it needs to operate at the end of three years, said Phil Kessler, SA services adviser and SAMTB chairman.

The three-year budget recomendation in no way obligates future SAMTBs to follow through with the actions, Kessler said.

Board member Dan Riordan said, “Since future boards wouldn’t be bound to recommend to raise the fee all at once, I recommend we raise the fee once.” He also said this recommendation would allow for “better planning implications and a better psychological affect on the students.”

Later this semester, the President’s Fee Study Committee, an advisory committee composed of students and administration, will review the approval in more detail. The PFSC then will forward its findings to NIU President John LaTourette who will request the Board of Regents to approve the recommendations.