The $16.5 million supplemental budget for the current fiscal year, approved by the General Assembly March 4, protects full formula funding for the University System and provides $1.63 million in planning funds for a proposed addition to the UGA College of Pharmacy.
“This is remarkable, if for no other reason than it marks the end of the latest round of cutting,” says Hank Huckaby, senior vice president for finance and administration. “The fiscal year 2005 supplemental is the first budget adopted since fiscal year 2002 that did not carry budget cuts for the university, giving us some optimism going forward.”
The budget as adopted also provides $1.6 million to cover the university’s portion of the cost of health insurance for Cooperative Extension Service retirees. The money otherwise would have come from program reductions.
Also, legislators redesignated $9.4 million in funds, previously approved for a project that did not materialize, to reduce the $64 million impact from last year’s one-month payroll shift from fiscal year 2004 to fiscal year 2005.
The Carl Vinson Institute of Government received $175,000 to conduct a local government study in North Fulton County.
“Particular appreciation is due Sen. Brian Kemp (R-Athens) and Rep. Bob Smith (R-Watkinsville), who not only were instrumental in protecting the university from formula funding reductions but also found ways to address these other critical needs,” says Steve Wrigley, senior vice president for external affairs. “To have our local representatives in these key leadership positions is important at times like these.” Kemp and Smith, respectively, chair the higher education subcommittees of the Senate and House appropriations committee.
At press time, work continues on the fiscal year 2006 budget. A $17.4 billion plan approved by the House is now before the Senate.