2017 Annual General Meeting: AMS optimistic about finances after dismal 2015/16 report

Hosted today in the Great Hall, the 2017 AMS Annual General Meeting (AGM) was dominated by financial updates from the President Alan Ehrenholz and Managing Director Keith Hester’s annual report.

“Last fiscal year was a tremendous year for the society,” said Hester.

He said the AMS turned an approximately $1.25 million deficit in 2015/16 to a $200,000 surplus in 2016/17.

Hester attributed 2015/16’s figure to Block Party’s $200,000 loss, Perch’s poor performance that led to it being replaced by Gallery 2.0 and AMS businesses’ overall operational troubles in the still-new Nest.

Due to 2015/16’s awful performance, last year’s surplus meant a 1,114 per cent improvement for the society’s businesses with Pie R Squared outperforming its budget by 47 per cent and Honour Roll by 32 per cent, according to the annual report. Other departments within the AMS like the Events team further added to the profit by cutting costs.

The Auditor’s Report on Financial Statements was also handed out at the meeting, featuring a general breakdown of the revenues and expenses incurred by the AMS and its services. According to Ehrenholz, both reports will soon be made available online now that they have been passed.

The meeting also featured individual speeches by the executives and the student service manager that touched on their goals and the progress they have made since they assumed office.

Ehrenholz expressed optimism about beginning a “phase of stability” following the society’s governance review that concluded in 2016/17.

“The keys for our executive include this quote from our communications manager: ‘The institution should outlast the individual,’” he said.

“It really sets the mindset of this executive, where we try to have a stable mindset that the AMS — every year — should treat our members and businesses the same way, but every executive should be able to come in and put their individual stamp on the direction of the society.”

Ehrenholz also revealed that a food cart called Stellar Dog will be launched this fall outside the Nest, and Palate will be revamped as an outlet that focuses on hot vegan food called Porch — not Perch for November. Less certain is who would take over the space that used to be Qoola’s, but he stated that there is currently a “potential client.”

Other relevant updates came mainly from VP External Sally Lin, who stated that she has received verbal confirmation from Translink that the 480 bus route will not be cancelled but only reduced to peak hours, as well as a letter of agreement to extend the UPass program with a price freeze until the end of 2019.

Her office also recently sent a budget submission, with recommendations focusing on education affordability and more funding for the implementation of sexual assault policy, as well as recommendations regarding the residential tenancy act to the BC government.

Whether they will be adopted is still unclear.

The AGM concluded after 45 minutes, and no off-the-agenda motions were considered due to the lack of quorum — only about 40 people showed up at 11:30 a.m. out of the required 515 students.

The free food that was promised showed up as the meeting came to a close.