University of North Florida
Board of Trustees
Finance and Audit Committee
January 13, 2005
University Center at 10:00 a.m.
Committee members present
O’Neal Douglas, Steve Halverson, Wanyonyi Kendrick, Judith Solano, Kevin Twomey
Committee members absent
Quorum was established. Chair Twomey asked for comments or questions on the minutes. Trustee Douglas moved to approve them. The motion was seconded by Trustee Halverson and approved unanimously.
Vice President Shuman discussed the parking fees. Each year a committee made up of faculty, staff, and students examines the fee structure for parking and makes a recommendation to the president. The current recommendation had been agreed upon unanimously by the committee members. She reminded the committee that another parking garage would be needed by 2008-09 and that a total gradual increase of about 8.5 percent had been modeled last year. Based on new information, the total increase that would be needed was now only 7.8 percent. The recommendation was to leave the parking fee structure philosophically unchanged. The Parking Committee would like to generate the same amount of revenue for each space, which meant that the University was not charging enough for the designated spaces and was charging too much for the 2nd and 3rd floor spaces. Additionally, the committee decided that the discount lot should be half of the general price, which would raise it from $50 to $69.
Chair Twomey asked about the increase for the discount lot, noting that it was a rather large increase. He asked if this was the only one that was not based on the revenue per space. Vice President Shuman said the only other exception was housing, which paid the general rate. Though parking for housing was pretty much a 1 to 1 ratio and should cost more, the committee had decided not to raise the cost for those spaces yet.
Ms. Shuman said that one of the complaints during the budget process had come from employees who did not feel they should have to pay for parking. The University had offered a parking benefit of $50 per employee, the discount rate, in order to address the complaint. She said the Board would have to make that consideration next year if the program was to continue, but it would not have a lot of impact if so. President Delaney said the cost to continue the program, covering the increase, would be about $30,000.
Chair Twomey said the key to him was the broad acceptance among the constituents. Ms. Shuman noted that Dr. Solano could comment further, as she sat on the Parking Committee. Trustee Solano affirmed that faculty and students had reached accord on this option and staff had no objection. Any other option would have produced discord with at least one of the groups. Trustee Douglas asked where this plan put the University in terms of supporting the bond for the garage. Ms. Shuman said it was right on target.
Trustee Halverson asked if the option of privatization had been explored for managing capital improvement. President Delaney said the labor was fairly low paid, thus there was no particular upside to privatization. He added that it had been tried in the Mayor’s office prior to his service as Mayor and had not worked well. Trustee Halverson agreed that what President Delaney said made sense, but said he had been surprised at the creative solutions that had come up during some applications. President Delaney concurred, offering the Mayport Ferry as an example of privatization that had worked well. He proposed having the University look for a consultant. Trustee Halverson said it would be nice to explore the point before getting into other capital operations as the University grew.
Chair Twomey asked for a motion to recommend the changes to the parking fees. Trustee Solano offered the motion, Trustee Douglas seconded it, and it was approved unanimously.
Vice President Shuman said the LambdaRail was a high speed network infrastructure and that a number of Florida universities had come together as a consortium to work with the national LambdaRail. The research faculty were very much in favor of participation in the LambdaRail. She said Mr. Lance Taylor, director of Information Technology Services, was available to answer further questions, as was Trustee Solano, who had also been very involved in the project.
Chair Twomey asked Ms. Shuman to discuss the financial implications of joining the consortium. Ms. Shuman replied that the universities joined by purchasing a number of units. For UNF it would be two units, whereas most of the other universities paid for four units as they were larger institutions. The initial cost would be $508,000, as if UNF had been part of the consortium from the beginning. This amount could be paid in two installments before June 30. After that, the cost would be $224,000 per year for membership. She said the reason the issue was before the committee was because the consortium had a $6,000,000 loan outstanding. The bank understood that the boards could not give a guarantee, but had asked for a comfort non-binding resolution stating that the universities would budget for the loan.
Trustee Kendrick asked for the value of this investment. She said it sounded great but she wondered if there were other options that would allow for the same amount of information transfer, but for less cost. President Delaney replied that this was the next generation of connectivity to really use huge amounts of data. He said that while one school of thought might be to wait until the next wave or linkage, he thought it was fair to say that UNF’s faculty members were very interested in joining the consortium. He said that virtually every other university in Florida except USF, which was already quite advanced and didn’t require the extra connectivity, had joined the project. The next upgrade was unpredictable in terms of how many years away it was, and President Delaney felt there would also be advantages for the University in contracts, grants, and recruiting. Trustee Solano added that another of the positive outcomes of joining the consortium was that the University could go outside and purchase bandwidth as a consumer of someone else’s resource, but by joining the LambdaRail, UNF became an owner and a voice in further development of the LambdaRail, rather than just a user who must deal with the management decisions of the vendor.
Chair Twomey asked if there were other questions or comments. Trustee Halverson moved to approve the motion, stating that he had a lot of confidence in the administration and faculty’s evaluation of the issue. Further, he thought the financial obligation was acceptable. Trustee Solano seconded the motion. The other committee members, with the exception of Trustee Kendrick, were in favor of joining the consortium. Trustee Kendrick said she would like to consider funding the LambdaRail but wanted to ensure the quantification of other such decisions. Therefore, she voted against the motion. The motion was passed by a majority vote.
Regarding the investment policy, Vice President Shuman said the University had devolved from state system as of July 1 of last year and was thus able to do its own investing. State law required an investment policy that coincided with Florida statutes. She announced that Mr. Michael Neglia, previously employed with Winn Dixie, had been hired as the University treasurer, and said he could help answer any questions about the policy. Trustee Halverson noted that it was a fairly conservative investment plan and said he had no difficulties with it. Chair Twomey agreed, as did Trustee Douglas and Trustee Solano. Trustee Douglas moved to approve the plan and Trustee Solano seconded the motion. It was approved unanimously.
Vice President Shuman said she had promised to provide snapshot reports to trustees when she was hired. This was a draft of one such report and indicated how much cash the University had, how much was invested, the percentage of debt bond, etc. She said that currently the University was doing quite well at matching investment versus debt. She asked if the trustees had suggestions or changes they would like to recommend.
Chair Twomey asked if the cash amount included that held by housing and for other purposes. He asked if it was consolidated cash for the entire University and if it included money from the UNF Foundation. Ms. Shuman replied that the cash amount reflected the entire university operations, not including Foundation. He also wanted to know if the report could include E&G monies and a page for each of the major accounts, such as housing. Trustee Halverson agreed and said he commended Vice President Shuman for the report. Ms. Shuman said she would include the information in her next report. No action was required on this agenda item.
As there were no further comments, Chair Twomey thanked everyone for participating and called the meeting to a close.