AMS-specific fee increase approved

Due to increasing financial challenges facing the AMS, including insurance increases, the addition of a new council member and the hiring of a food and beverage officer, the AMS Specific Fee Committee put forward a report proposing a $5.34 increase to the AMS-specific fee.

At the Annual General Meeting on Tuesday night, students voted in favour of the fee.

Students next year will face a $6.70 increase due to the recommendation and an adjustment based on the Consumer Price Index.

Heather Johnson, chair of the AMS Specific Fee Committee and vice-chair of the AMS Board of Directors, said she was happy the report was accepted at the meeting because the implications for the AMS could have been devastating had the fee increase not passed.

“In the short run we would have had to scale back operations and in the long run all student activities would have been negatively affected,” she said.

According to the report, insurance will increase by approximately 152 per cent next year. This increase has various causes,

including the unstable insurance climate and the separation of liquor insurance from general liability insurance.

Johnson said the insurance covers all aspects of activities and operations of which students are in charge of, such as formals, Charity Ball, all campus publications and faculty events.

Other new financial burdens the committee examined was the addition of a student centre officer to the AMS and the new food and beverage officer. The food and beverage officer will be in charge of monitoring food and beverage services in the AMS, in addition to advising managerial staff.

The student centre officer position was established for next year to work with the JDUC and coordinate the Queen’s Centre Student Working Group.

Johnson said the fee will subsidize part of the food and beverage officer’s salary, like those of all permanent staff members.

Responsibility for the funding of the student centre officer will be divided evenly between the specific fee and the JDUC.

Johnson said it was not one individual consideration that made the committee decide to recommend the increase, but the consolidated impact that all the new developments will have on the AMS.

The committee was formed last year and includes representatives from AMS Assembly and the AMS Board of Directors. It is mandated to recommend not only increases, but also decreases in the specific fee, Johnson said.

Questions were raised at the meeting regarding whether or not a referendum would have been more appropriate method of getting the fee increase instead of the annual meeting.

Johnson said that timing and complexity were the two major reasons this decision could not have been brought to referendum.

She said because the committee did not have specific numbers about insurance at an earlier date, they would not have known the amount of the proposed increase at the February referendum.

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