ASNMSU Senate discuss upcoming events, bills and budget for next fiscal year

The Associated Students of NMSU convened Thursday evening to discuss budgets, bills and upcoming events.

The meeting was held April 12 in the senate chambers of Corbett Center Student Union, and had a large focus on bills 198 and 199 regarding the 2018 General Appropriations Act and budget for ASNMSU’s upcoming fiscal year.

After a long debate, the General Appropriations Act was passed Thursday evening outlining the budget for the 2018-2019 school year. The “grand total” for the upcoming year (ringing in at over $895 thousand dollars) increased by $18 thousand from 2017-2018.

The only amendment made to the bill was reducing the $5,300 projection for food cost to $2,000.

The current comptroller, Evan Conners, sees the projected budget as a ‘buffer,’ and said the actual amount the student government will spend will fall under their monetary forecast.

“We’ve effectively planned given the history, and planned for the future,” Conners said. “Trust that we are really planning hard,” Conners told the senate.

ASNMSU President, Kevin Prieto, was pummeled by inquisitive senators attempting to understand the budgets workings.

“The budget is really an estimated set of expenditures,” Prieto said. Prieto told the senate there was no chance the Association would ever “run out of money.”

In agreement, President Pro-Tempore Delorean Forbes explained the budget as a guideline, further justifying the decisions made. The budget passed through several committees before being presented to the 30 senators.

“We need this buffer,” said Forbes. “This buffer is already much lower than it has been in decades.”

The Pro-tempore, Comptroller and President all agreed that the budget was intelligently designed.

In other meeting business, reports, upcoming events and bills were discussed and passed.

Comptroller Evan Conners and assistant Anthony Soto, reported the amount remaining in the budget for the spring semester. The appropriations budget, which funds student bills, has $52,488 left in the account.

Conners also mentioned Lorraine Arvizu, ASNMSU Administrative Assistant, will receive a pay raise for the coming Fall semester.

Uriel Munoz and Assistant William Bradford of the Governmental Affairs department said they hope to host a candidate debate for the upcoming race for state governor. Jeff Apodaca is set to visit NSMU from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. April 30.

The Public Relations department presented their recent social media activity and promotional items which will be given out for the remainder of the semester. Luis Terrazas, Director of Public relations, said all was set for the NMSU and Organ Mountain Outfitters partnership. Shirts are currently in production, Terrazas said.

The T-shirts sold by Organ Mountain Outfitters will benefit the campus food pantry, Aggie Cupboard.

Chief Elections Officer Nancy Mestre and Chief of Staff Carley Casey presented their bi-monthly reports as well. Mestre reported the increase of voters from Fall 2017 to Spring 2018 by 374 students. Casey reminded senators of their yearly banquet and office cleanliness.

ASNMSU President Kevin Prieto informed the Senate of upcoming Chancellor candidate visits. Promotional items are planned for the April 25 visit of the six chancellor candidates. Prieto asked senators to submit questions they would like answered by the candidates and “show that students do have a voice.”

Standing committees followed with their reports of recent meetings. Important announcements included the implementation of a new housing director, a concierge service through Sodexo, and the scheduled ICT maintenance.

Open Forum began with Sam Salas of the LGBTQ community who expressed her thanks to ASNMSU for their support. Upcoming events include HIV testing April 18, Pride season lunch April 19 on the Corbett patio at 11:30 a.m. and rainbow graduation ceremony May 4.

Salas was followed by Jett Barela, Interfraternity Council President who presented greek week, ongoing through April 14.

Bills passed Thursday included reimbursements for the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, NMSU Horn Choir (NMSU Corno Crew), wildlife department, National Society of Black Engineers, and the Civil Engineering Honor Society.

Before moving into debate over the General Appropriations Act, Associate Supreme Court Justice Ivan Sarabia swore in new senator elect Ana Maldonado.

The meeting wrapped up with unfinished business and announcements. The next senate meeting will be held April 26. 

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