Cuts made to NMU budget


This July, Northern administration
presented the NMU Board of Trustees with campus-wide budget reductions which are scheduled to be finalized in September.

The budget cuts, which will account for a 2.9 percent reduction in the general budget, will be finalized by the board on Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. Gavin Leach, the vice president for finance and administration, said that early budget projections feature cuts as high as 4 percent before the board voted to increase tuition by 5.3 percent. Leach said that reductions were still necessary because of
an expected 3.2 percent reduction
in state appropriated money to NMU.

“Our primary sources of funding
are state appropriations and tuition, and the only way to counteract it (a drop in state funding) is budget reductions and tuition increases,” said Leach.

Leach cited increases in state mandated costs, inflationary costs and contractual obligations as other reasons that NMU is implementing cuts. Leach said that departments across campus were asked to identify target areas in their budgets where cuts could be made. From those assessments, the finance and administration office prioritizes cuts based upon the expected impact that they would have on NMU’s educational capabilities, said Leach.

“We look at trying to minimize the impact on the institution,” said Leach. “When the cuts occur, they are never even. There are no across-the-board cuts.”

Sherri Towers, the budget director for finance and administration, said that while the final cuts are not complete, $2 million has already been cut from the total general budget of $100 million.

This constitutes 2 percent of the budget, leaving .9 percent of the budget to be cut before the Board of Trustees votes on the final budget.

“We were going to need to cut $2 million regardless, and depending on what the state does, we’ll probably do more,” said Towers.

The reductions are a combination of cost saving measures and cuts, said Towers. Locking prices on utility expenses like heating and fuel, energy saving projects and negotiating computer lease prices are some of the cost saving measures that are being enacted.

“These projects will save us money in the future,” she said.

Some employee positions have been cut from departments, including $70,000 of the yearly pay for 4.7 full-time employees.

“We tried to keep losses at a minimum,” said Towers, “We’re hoping the effects will be minimal.”

Towers said that reductions will take effect in September after the budget is finalized.

“Things are subject to change, but that’s where we are right now.”

Percentage Cuts by Department

Finance and administration: 63.1 percent
Academic affairs: 32.4 percent
President: 4.5 percent

Cost Saving Measures

Compensation reductions and savings: $482,000 (approximately $70,000 in student
Supplies, services, travel, administrative expenses, etc.: $537,000
Equipment, leases and library
acquisition: $431,000
Utility savings: $375,000
Facility maintenance: $100,000
Utility reserves: $75,000

These cuts are still being finalized and will be a part of the overall general fund budget that will be presented to the Board of Trustees during the Sept. 24 and 25 meeting.

Information provided by the Department of Finance and Administration.