Between the Motions: Council approves budget reforecast, deficit reduced by $689K

Last night, AMS Council met to discuss the 2022/23 budget reforecast which projects a significantly reduced deficit for this year.

Council approved the final budget on June 22, 2022, projecting $4.2 million in revenue and a $1.25 million deficit during the 2022/23 fiscal year. There was no preliminary budget released to Council in the summer unlike previous years, following two separate suspensions of AMS code.

The public version of the budget was not released until June 27, 2022, and it contained major differences against the June 1, 2022 presentation, like projected expenditures increasing from $5.36 million to $5.45 million and deficit increases from $1.16 to $1.25 million.

During Wednesday night’s Council meeting, AMS VP Finance Lawrence Liu presented the 2022/23 budget reforecast which projects that the society will make $4.7 million in revenue, with roughly a $481,000 deficit.

“Over the course of the year, we have managed to significantly enhance business performance … We're looking at a deficit that is $700,000 less than the beginning of the year, so I think that's a pretty big win,” said AMS President Eshana Bhangu.

Bhangu said the projections were inaccurate because of the AMS’ “conservative budgeting” and fears the society might not reach pre-COVID-19 revenue levels. She also noted the former managing director was concerned about how labour costs and supply chain issues could impact the society’s finances.

Liu attributed the deficit decrease to unexpectedly high business revenue. The budget projected roughly $372,000 in total business revenue, while the reforecast projects just over $1 million.

Liu specifically highlighted increased revenue from Blue Chip and AMS Conferences and Catering, which increased projected revenue from $270,000 to $563,000 and $213,000 to $670,000, respectively.

“I can pretty confidently say that we are pretty much into pre-pandemic levels,” said Liu.

AMS Conferences and Catering’s projected revenue also increased significantly, which Bhangu attributed to new business opportunities after UBC’s Scholars Catering closed.

Other AMS businesses like Honour Roll and The Pit also substantially increased projected revenue, while Flavour Lab’s projected loss increased from roughly $20,000 in August to $97,000 currently. Liu credited the loss to decreased prices at Flavour Lab.

“We are making a loss there and that's the goal with that business, as well,” said Liu. “We want to make that place as affordable as possible for students.”

Besides business revenue, Liu said the reduced deficit also comes from less hiring for executive portfolios and overbudgeting for new hires at the Sexual Assault Support Centre.

Bhangu said the VP academic and university affairs office has been working without a campaigns and outreach commissioner and the VP finance office has been operating with reduced hours. She also said these changes may continue into the next year.

“It just shows that the work can be done with fewer people and good quality work can be produced,” said Bhangu.

The reforecast passed unanimously with 23 votes.