WMU News

Board approves final 1996-97 budget

June 27, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- The Western Michigan University Board of Trustees June 27 approved a final general fund operating budget of $189,786,970 for the University's 1996-97 fiscal year that ends June 30.

"Such action is necessary due to inevitable alterations in the original budget, which is adopted by the board at the beginning of each fiscal year," said Robert M. Beam, vice president for business and finance. "Changes include the allocation of funds to various operating units within the general fund."

The difference between the two budgets is $10.5 million, reflecting the University's usual pattern, Beam said. The total includes $9 million in funds budgeted for the year but not spent.

"It has been our practice for some time to allow managers to keep unexpended funds for use in subsequent years," Beam explained. "We have found that this results in a much more effective use of the University's resources."

In other action, the board approved a resolution authorizing the University to continue its normal financial operations under the 1996-97 budget until the board can approve a 1997-98 budget. The administration cannot prepare a new budget until the University's state appropriation is known. Final legislative action is expected in July.

The board also authorized the administration to temporarily convey to the State Building Authority the property on which the WMU power plant is located. This is so the SBA can lawfully sell bonds to finance construction on the site. The plant is being renovated in a $21.5 million project. The law allows the SBA to lease the site back to the University during the term of indebtedness. It then will transfer title of the improved property back to the University after the bonds have been paid off.

In addition, the board authorized the administration to lease 108 square feet of office space to the Federal Aviation Administration in aviation facilities WMU owns at the Kalamazoo-Battle Creek International Airport. The FAA will use the space for a weather observation office. The five-year agreement has an annual fee of $3,000.

The board also approved a deferred compensation agreement with WMU President Diether H. Haenicke. It represents the continuation of an existing agreement for another three years, through June 30, 2000. It calls for Haenicke to receive $25,000 in each of the three years between now and then so long as he remains employed by the University. The deferred compensation is in addition to his regular salary.

Finally, the board authorized the administration to implement a collective bargaining agreement with the WMU Police Officers Association, made retroactive to July 1, 1996. The three-year agreement calls for compensation increases of 4.4 percent in the first year, 2.5 percent in the second year and 5.2 percent in the third year. It also tightens the definition of absenteeism and provides for changes in insurance so that coverage is consistent with that of other bargaining units at the University.

The POA represents two detectives and 15 officers in the WMU Department of Public Safety. The association ratified the proposed contract June 24.

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