Between the Motions: AMS unveils 2023/24 budget with over $700,000 in deficit

The unveiling of the 2023/24 AMS financial budget took centre stage at last night’s Council meeting as it forecasts $700,000 in deficit for 2023/24.

Here’s a recap of the night.

Checks and Balances

VP Finance Abhi Mishra presented a finalized version of the 2023/24 Budget. The current budget estimates a deficit of $738,766 for the year, which is smaller compared to last year’s actual $856,832 deficit.

Beyond inflation, Mishra identified increased wages as the key driver behind a continuing deficit .

Part-time staff will be paid the new BC minimum wage and AMS staff represented by the MoveUp union will retroactively receive a new salary per their 2021 collective bargaining agreement. The budget also included a new salaried staff member in the Equity and Inclusion office.

New AMS Managing Director, Justin Lieu, said the AMS hopes the ongoing Blue Chip Cafe renovations “will be able to increase its business revenue year.” Blue Chip Cafe is moving to the former Pie “R” Squared location in the Nest and renovations will be completed prior to the start of the winter session.

According to the budget submission, the cafe is projected to bring in $709,548 during 2023/24. This would be a drop from the 2022/23 revenue of $725,456. However, Lieu and Mishra stressed the budget remains a conservative estimate.

Lieu also said a new Mediterranean restaurant will be opening up this year, but noted no revenue or expenses have been budgeted for as the opening date is not yet set. The new restaurant's construction was approved in November 2022.

Lieu noted the AMS is “not in a great situation budget wise.”

However, Mishra said he wants to “help eradicate the deficit” by creating a long-term financial strategic plan, looking at how other non-profits approach their deficit and seeking out new partnerships and sponsorships revenue.

The 2023/24 final budget was approved unanimously.

Council appointments and Executive Updates

Councillors also voted on appointments to the Student Legal Fund Society (SLFS) board and the Governance Committee. Abhi Mishra will be sitting on the SLFS board until May 2024 and Commerce councillor Thomas Dunsmore was appointed to the governance committee until September 2023.

AMS President, Esmé Decker announced the hiring of Joshua Kim as the new AMS strategy and governance lead. The announcement comes after the resignation of Dana Turdy from the position.

VP Admin, Ian Caguiat said the sale of two pieces of artwork from the permanent art collection has been completed for 2.35 million dollars. Both “Northern Image” by Lawren Harris and "Abandoned Village, Rivers Inlet, BC” by E.J. Hughes were sold through the Heffel Fine Art Auction House.