A $462 million operating budget has been approved by the University of Wyoming Board of Trustees for the coming year, which incorporates the most recent $21.8 million reductions in state funding. With uncertainty about whether more cuts are to come, the trustees took measures to transition the university to a more centralized financial system, designed to give officials more control of revenues and expenditures.
With that, they moved to transfer unspent cash balances into several reserve accounts, which were set up last year. The reserves are designed to cover future costs such as replacing UW’s passenger airplane, upgrading residence halls, and covering unforeseen litigation.
But at a budget meeting Chris Boswell, Vice President for Governmental and Community Affairs, spoke on behalf of President Laurie Nichols asking to delay the transfer of unspent cash so that units could have more time to make sure all costs are covered.
“She is concerned that there could be unintended errors or unintended consequences that might arise from this action,” and Boswell added, “by delaying the formal action by the board that gives the opportunity to make sure that the figures could be vetted again.”
As an example, Boswell mentioned that, “the College of Agriculture alone has some 92 funds that hold these reserve balances.”
The trustees didn’t agree with the president’s concerns and voted to move ahead scraping funds into the reserves.
The attention to the financial needs in the future may help UW employees see a pay bump down the road. The trustees also approved an endowment fund to generate revenues for one-time compensation increases, including bonuses and recruitment and retention incentives.