Regents ponder budget woes

By Tony Parra: PNT Staff Writer

With budget numbers on their minds, the Eastern New Mexico University Board of Regents want to see more interaction between the community and athletics programs and more energy-conservation at the university.

The board members emphasized their money concerns during a regents’ meeting Tuesday morning. Board members were concerned with the lack of revenue generated from sporting events.

“We generated $75,000 for all sports combined,” ENMU president Steven Gamble said. “They’re (sporting events) not a money maker.”

Gamble said much of the generated revenue comes from the Greyhound football team.

“We have a marketing person to help increase attendance in basketball and football games,” Gary Musgrave, vice president for student affairs, said. “We don’t charge admission to other sports sporting events.”

ENMU football coach Mark Ribaudo has put in place activities for the football players to interact with Portales residents such as helping with Keep Portales Beautiful, attending City Council meetings and visiting with Lindsey Elementary students.

During the regents meeting, board members approved the 2006-07 operating budget for the university. The instruction and general expenditures are budgeted to increase by 6.8 percent ($2 million), according to an ENMU summary from Scott Smart, vice president of business affairs. The largest increases are: $915,000 for salary raises, $350,000 in utilities, $222,388 for retirement contributions, $283,890 for health insurance.

“Most of the $350,000 increase from the previous budget is for electricity,” Smart said. “We’re not seeing the same type of increases in water and natural gas. It’s staggering. We’ve sent e-mails out asking folks to make sure the lights are off after they leave.”

Smart said ENMU officials are looking into the option of installing motion sensors, but added that type of project would take six to nine months to install.

There is an increase of $2 million in projected revenue that includes $1.931 million from state funding and $348,000 from tuition and fees.