What you need to know about tenant politics

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Erik Paulson, who “can’t take it [my poor understanding of ASM] anymore,” has an enormous post up on the politics behind the Student Tenant Union, its successor, the Student Tenant Resource Center. This relates to recent discussion we’ve had about the Madison Property Rating Website.

The Madison Property Rating Website, ie the Tenant Rating Website, ie the Landlord Rating website, is an independent project of the separate from the STU/STRC. Originally proposed by Eli Judge, (see 2:00 into the video) ASM ultimately took the plunge and allocated funding for its creation in the 2008-2009 school year (I think about $8000) and put in about $2300 to run it in the 2009-2010 (July 1 to June 30th, 2010) school year. For the 2010-2011 budget that ASM is currently discussing, the operational money remains about $2300. Obviously, the isn’t up and running yet, but hopefully the final understandings can be reached in the University soon and ASM can actually spend the money, and the site could be up and running late this spring. Ideally, there’d be a good advertising push by the MPR Oversight Board, and people would start actually rating Landlords, so the website is useful in the Fall of 2010, when potential renters will start to actually need it.

What’s hard for me to understand is where the $2300 figure came from. ASM approved $5000 to fund the project –– but that was last session, and for the project to regain the money it would have to be re-approved. What am I missing? Erik?

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One Response to “What you need to know about tenant politics”

  1. Erik Paulson Says:

    Here’s how I think it worked. Remember, ASM operates on the state’s fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30.

    In March 2009, during Fiscal Year 2009, ASM amended its Fiscal Year 2009 and Fiscal Year 2010 budgets. It changed the fiscal year 2009 budget to add money for the CREATION of the web site. At the same time, it changed the fiscal year 2010 budget to add additional money for the OPERATION of the website.

    Now, I thought the FY2009 money was for $8000, and the FY2010 budget is for $2300. Maybe what happened was the FY2009 budget was for $5000, and the FY2010 budget was for $2300, which would get us pretty close to the $8000 I thought was out there for the project.

    Now, in FY2009, ASM did not spend money on the creation of the web site. The money rolled over, but not the budget authority to spend it. So, at some point, probably in the next few weeks, ASM will need to amend the FY2010 budget to give itself the ability to spend the money. (Though, exactly what happened to the unspent money is still a bit of a mystery to me, because of the raid on reserves by the state)

    On July 1, 2009, ASM got $2300 from seg fees that it could spend on operating the website. It hasn’t had to spend that money because the web site doesn’t exist. Assuming that it does get built before June 30th 2010, we’ll want to spend some or all of the money advertising the website, etc. If it doesn’t get spent, it goes back into the Seg Fee Treasury, most likely to just be applied to the ASM budget for July 1 2010 to June 30 2011 (FY2011)

    This month ASM is finishing its budget for FY2011. The current draft includes $2300 to operate the website. If ASM spends $2300 on operating the website before June 30th, 2010, then we’ll have to get the $2300 that covers July 1 2010 to June 30th 2011 from seg fees during that time period. If ASM waits until July 1 2010 to advertise or operate the website, then seg fees go down 5 cents. (Or, at least go up 5 cents less than they otherwise would have)

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