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Dippikill receives less than they hoped for in SA budget

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The 2019-20 budget of the Student Association will leave the SA-owned camp Dippikill with less funding than requested for the fiscal year, but adds money for more buses to the camp.

Dippikill is a wilderness retreat a little over an hour north of Albany, owned by SA Senate with cabins that can be rented by UAlbany students, alumni, faculty and staff.

Dippikill was allocated roughly $30,000 less than they asked for to go towards “Development and Renovations,” which they said is necessary for critical maintenance.

“If these renovations are not made, it will be a long-term detriment to the camp and lead to many problems down the line,” said Dippikill Director of Operations Justin LaPierre.

“We work hard to maintain the roughly 40 buildings on site, and if we aren’t able to remedy these problems due to underfunding, it will impact visitors.”

LaPierre in his appeal cited roofs that need to be replaced, shed doors that need to be installed, and adding fencing as some of the issues on the top of their work list.

Senators Wednesday asked why Dippikill had put off the repairs for so long. Dippikill Board member Casey Crandall said that Julie’s Lodge, the newest building added to the site, had taken up most of their resources in the past years.

The senate voted 33-8-1 not to allocate the $30,000, although later in the evening $14,000 was put toward the fund after moving money from another part of the budget.

One reason that senators were so hesitant to allocate the money was that Dippikill’s student attendance has declined.

Crandall and LaPierre said that the camp is mostly used as a resource by alumni. Only 11 percent of the student body has attended Dippikill.

“Transportation is a big issue for us,” said Crandall. “If students don’t have an easy way to get to the site, then they’re not going to book a cabin for the weekend.”

To remedy this problem, the senate used $5,000 of surplus money accumulated from previous years and from cuts made throughout the night to fund buses eight times a year to Dippikill.

OTHER BUDGET MOVES

Besides Dippikill, Senate funded some new initiatives and cut old ones.

Senate gave $25,000 to senator Max Sevor’s plan to help supplement the cost of graduate school entrance exams for graduating seniors.

In addition, a new agreement with the department of Student Affairs to split the cost of various fees incurred by student groups was given $30,000 in funding.

“One of the things that we were looking into this year was reducing the costs for paying for room rentals for student groups,” said Comptroller Patrick Carroll. “Groups spend on average $60,000 on rental fees.”

These initiatives were able to be funded through a $50,000 surplus accrued from the last fiscal year, as well as cuts made to the budget for conferences that the SA attends.

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Nate Depaul is a staff reporter in the news section of the Albany Student Press.

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