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UW Trustees Approve FY 2018 Budget, Centralize Reserves

June 7, 2017

The University of Wyoming Board of Trustees has approved expenditures totaling just over $462 million for the 2017-18 fiscal year, while initiating a centralized approach to handling the university’s reserve funds.

The board voted today (Wednesday) to adopt the FY 2018 operating budget, which reflects two rounds of reductions made over the past year as a result of a decrease of about $42 million in state funding for the current biennium. The university’s annual state block grant for FY 2018 is down $21.8 million from the FY 2016 level.

The reductions had been approved earlier by the trustees. The board’s annual budget approval today formally lays out expected revenues and expenditures for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“This action closes the chapter of UW budget reductions resulting from the downturn in the state’s economy, and we are moving forward as a leaner, more focused institution,” UW President Laurie Nichols says. “I appreciate all of the hard work and sacrifice that have allowed us to reach this point, and I am excited to take our next steps forward, including implementing our strategic plan that is nearing completion.”

The FY 2018 budget process is the first under UW’s new fiscal management system, which has given the board and administration a more complete look at the university’s finances. That includes significant unspent cash balances among various UW units, which the board has decided to manage in a more centralized fashion.

Last year, the board authorized creation of an initial $50 million operating reserve and an initial $20 million capital facilities reserve. The budget approved today fully funds those reserve accounts from the unspent cash balances across campus units.

An additional $62.15 million remains, and the board voted to use 80 percent of that amount, or $49.72 million, to create a number of centralized reserve and sinking funds. The balance of $12.43 million will remain proportionally in the accounts of various campus units.

The new reserve and sinking funds include:

-- An account to save money for replacement of UW’s passenger aircraft, funded by an initial $1 million, with annual contributions of $140,000 to follow.

-- A permanent risk pool/litigation reserve fund of $5 million, which is almost fully funded already.

-- An account for replacement of UW residence halls, funded with an initial $14 million.

-- An endowment fund to generate revenues for one-time employee compensation increases, including bonuses and recruitment/retention payments. It is funded with an initial $7.4 million -- $400,000 of which is available immediately -- and is expected to generate about $400,000 annually.

-- A special projects reserve/sinking fund “to fund such programs, expenses and other matters deemed important and necessary” by the university. The expected initial funding from FY 2018 revenues is $11.78 million.

“These reserve and sinking funds will help ensure that the university is in a position to address unexpected or unusual conditions, while allowing us to save money for specific purposes central to UW’s mission and in line with our strategic plan,” Board of Trustees President John MacPherson says.

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