Budget cuts cause parking peril
Parking Services takes a hit after the budget cut, inevitably sucker-punching students
It should be no surprise that after the budget cuts, students would be left to crunch their own budgets. But some were surprised to see that parking would burn a hole in their pockets as well.
No parking permits were left unchanged – the fall open lot increased to $280 from $200 and day parking in lots A and B from $5 a day to $7 per day.
Unsurprisingly, one of the current frequently asked questions on Mount Royal University website is “why are parking rates increasing in all lots for 2013?”
In the past, the parking rates were recommended by the Transportation Advisory Committee and included representatives from the Student’s Association of Mount Royal University (SAMRU), the Mount Royal Faculty Association and the Mount Royal Staff Association.
However, due to the unexpected 7.3 per cent cut to post-secondary funding, SAMRU and others were not involved in the discussion, while university executives had to think of ways to patch the $6.5-million-sized hole left in MRU’s base operating grant of $87.6 million.
Duane Anderson, Vice President of Administrative Services at MRU, explained that due to the immediate nature of the budget cut MRU’s President and Vice President had to think fast.
“The University’s Executive Committee (president and vice president) made the final decision on the pricing for the university’s parking. The provincial budget released in March 2013 created an extremely challenging financial position for the university and the executive looked at many revenue-generating and cost-cutting initiatives to try to balance the budget for the University. One solution was increased revenues from parking rates,” said Anderson.
“Because the provincial budget created such a significant problem for the University, the Executive took on the accountability and responsibility for making parking rate increases this year.”
President David Docherty wrote in a report for the board of governors meeting: “As you know, this has been a difficult process and one that has resulted in changes that will be felt across campus and in the broader community.”
“In making these decisions, the President’s Executive Committee has tried to minimize the impact on the student experience, to mitigate as much as possible job abolishments, to protect the strength of our academic degree programs and to ensure the health and safety of the campus community.”
“These prices are not expected to change for the foreseeable future as the university is still facing some additional budget challenges,” Anderson said.