Sub Board I, Inc. looks to cut projected $5,800 deficit for next year

At one point last year, Sub Board I, Inc. (SBI) knew it was going to take a significant loss in the year’s projected revenue – and it was right.

By the end of the year, SBI sunk cash into its own projects in hopes of making up for extensive losses. This year, the board is try to making sure that will not happen again.

“That’s the way the budget has been designed,” said SBI Chief Accountant Mike Grela. “All the cuts that the board has done and the 50-cent increase in fee is what has enabled us to get to this point. We were budgeting for a small margin of error. If our revenues come in lower or our expenses come in higher, we’re still at a loss.”

The SBI Board of Directors, which includes representatives from the seven UB student governments that own the organization, was introduced to the 2015-16 proposed budget on Thursday. One of the directors’ main goals is to cut the nearly $6,000 deficit the proposed budget currently projects.

Evan Chen, SBI president and former Student Association vice president, did not intend for any voting to proceed on Thursday. He said he wanted the student government organizations to look over the proposed budget so they can accumulate questions and have an extended time to look over the details.

The proposed budget for the upcoming school year is projected to be around $3 million – or $3,218,587.04 – covering the five fund sources of SBI (General, Enterprise, Capital Equipment, Programming Grant and Development). SBI is projected to recover $3,212,768.09 of the expenses – still leaving a projected deficit of $5,818.95.

Last month, the Board of Directors voted to increase the student allocation fee - the money the seven student governments pay SBI per student - by 50 cents, although the organization had wanted an increase of $1.50. 

Grela said he doesn’t want to repeat last year’s debacle and wants to recoup more money, so he plans to have a security blanket in case unaccounted funds end up in the final budget.

“We still have a small deficit that the students are all actively working on ways to minimize that deficit,” Grela said.

Although nothing pertaining to the budget was voted on, members of the board proposed ideas to decrease the deficit, starting with Health and Safety Services and the SBI Pharmacy. The Health and Safety Services safety shuttle will now run from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. instead of its usual route that ran until 4 a.m.

Rather than cut costs from the pharmacy, which is projected to profit $54,591, SBI plans on advertising the pharmacy to UB students.

SBI Executive Director William Hooley said it is possible to market the pharmacy more toward students. There is an educational discount on the purchase of the drugs, which other big-time distributors such as Wegmans, do not have. But Hooley admits it will be hard to compete with big-market distributors that receive drugs at a wholesale cost.

“Walgreens and Wegmans has multiple shops, so they can order huge volumes,” Hooley said. “They get a break. We don’t get that kind of break because our volume is much smaller than a Wegmans. We don’t have the Western New York area as clientele, we just have the UB population.”

The board agreed that one of the biggest problems facing the pharmacy, which is located in Michael Hall on South Campus, is its proximity to North Campus, where a majority of the non-commuting students reside. Nonetheless, SBI plans on increasing sales while possibly cutting costs later in the process.

One idea was to set up a delivery system from South to North Campus that would allow students residing on North Campus to pick up their prescriptions without traveling to the pharmacy. There were also discussions about moving the pharmacy and Health Service Center to North Campus, but it will be a project that will go beyond this year and would need more careful consideration.

There was also a proposal for students from SUNY Buffalo State to have access to the pharmacy on South Campus and be taxed for a UB visit.

In addition to the pharmacy, there are potential plans to increase sales for the SBI Ticket Office, which has a projected surplus of $111,875.25. SA President Minahil Khan said bringing back an online convenience fee when purchasing tickets will increase sales. A successful ticket campaign last year prompted Khan to propose this.

“Up until April of this year, we had already sold 34,000 tickets and that’s not including May, which all of the [club] banquets are,” Khan said. “The costs are only $8,000 right now, so if we set the amount to $2 now, that will take care of the $8,000.”

The board also held the election for SBI vice president, which was won by junior political science major Carly Gottorff in a 7-5-2 victory over current SBI Secretary Sanjay Jain, a graduate student.

The rising junior has been involved with SA before, but wants to be more involved in the “underworking of UB,” she said.

The board will meet again next Wednesday to vote on the ratified budget.

Jordan Grossman is the co-senior sports editor and can be reached at