This page provides campus partners and stakeholder groups a basic understanding of the funding sources we leverage in order to perform facilities-related work and programs. All FM departments and units rely on a mix of funding types to carry out their responsibilities and operational activities.
General Operating Funds
Several FM units annually receive a base allocation from the University's central administration. The amount is never intended to cover all of the real or actual costs of taking care of the entire university campus and as a result, other operating fund sources are required to make up the difference. For example, many of the staff employed in day-to-day operational and maintenance work (i.e., Physical Plant and Custodial Services) are not 100% generally funded. Instead, a portion of their wage or salary is covered by other University departments or other auxilliary unit funds -- the two largest being Residential Life and University Event Services/Davis Center.
Cost Recovery or "Other Departments Money"
In addition to the two departments noted above, FM units also directly charge other university departments for special maintenace requests or elective work that is above and beyond what's considered standard level maintenance and operations work. This cost recovery -- sometimes called "charge-back" work-- is handled through Work Orders in our Planon IWMS system which is integrated with Peoplesoft (the University's financial system of record). Physical Plant maintenance teams use a “flat rate” fee structure for charging hourly labor costs against work orders. This flat rate is calculated annually as the average hourly wage (inclusive of fringe and benefit) of the technicians working within the maintenance team. This approach ensures that University departments are being charged equitably for O&M services and repair work.
Deferred Maintenance (DM) Funding
Also known as "Plant Improvements". Deferred maintenance (DM) is defined as major maintenance projects that are not funded within annual operating budgets, and are deferred or postponed to future budget cycles or until needed funds become available. Deferring maintenance (which all institutions do) results in a "backlog" of conditions that, if not attended to now, will likely become more costly to remedy or repair in the future. The backlog of deferred maintenance is incrementally tackled each year through modest funding received from either State appropriation, from UVM Central Administration appropriation, and/or from a base transfer of Physical Plant's own operating budget.
Funding for DM projects fluctuates year to year because there are many competing priorities and others considerations the university must balance. As a result, projects that address building envelope (i.e., roofs, walls, foundations, waterproofing) and life safety systems (i.e., sprinkler systems, generators, fire alarm panels) typically have higher priority. It's also important to note that any capital construction project that leverages State-appropriated funds must comply with State of Vermont statutes governing "prevailing wage".
Facilities Renewal Replacement Reserve
Dating back to 1993, the UVM administration established a perpetual reserve within the university endowment fund and began setting aside monies for the future renewal needs of new buildings.
Every new university facility built since 1993 (beginning with Stafford Hall) has an earmarked reserve for the eventual renewal or replacement of its major mechanical systems. A set amount (calculated as one-percent of the building’s initial construction cost) is transferred into this reserve annually. As certain specific buildings begin to age, we are able to leverage these monies for major renewal projects. This fund is managed by the VP for Finance & Administration who must approve all expenditures.
Purchased utilities include electricity, natural gas, domestic water/sewerage, #2 fuel oil, and propane. The University budget for purchased utilities is handled through a separate budget held outside of the Physical Plant and other O&M budgets.
The cost to operate the Main Campus District Energy Plant (MCDEP) includes all of the program components that directly support the 24/7/365 provision of steam and chilled water to heat and cool campus buildings. This cost is shared among the General Fund, Residential Life and Davis Center using a formula known as the "prorate" which is annually calculated through a combination of metering and building square foot usage.
Energy Revolving Funds
In the late 1980's when UVM first embraced energy efficiency, a modest $125K energy rebate revolving fund was established to pay for lighting retrofits and small efficiency projects whereby UVM could capitalize on nominal energy rebates provided by local utility companies. These projects have relatively low dollar amounts and shorter return on investment (ROI) timeframe. This fund is managed by the Executive Director of Facilities in conjunction with the University Engineer.
In 2012, the Board of Trustees established a $13M “Energy Revolving Fund” from UVM’s cash-on-hand reserves to be invested in larger energy efficiency projects that have a payback of less than seven years with a maximum individual project cost of $3 million or less while paying an interest rate of 5%. The most notable use of the Fund thus far has been the 2017 expansion of the Central Chiller Plant. This fund is managed by UVM Finance & Budgeting Office, and the VP for Finance must approve all projects.
Some university departments and programs are set up as Income/Expense activities, meaning that most all program expenses must be offset by program revenues. The Transportation & Parking Services (TPS) department is a large example of this type of funding model. Their functional areas (Automotive Repair Shop, Parking Services, and Transportation Services) rely on revenues generated outside of the General Fund. For example, repair work done on University department-owned vehicles is "fee for service" and parking on campus requires permits paid by employees, students, faculty and visitors. A smaller example of an Income/Expense activity within FM is the Surplus Property program which relies on modest revenue received from the sale of used furniture and equipment to offset associated program expenses.
None of the above funding sources should be confused with the Sustainable Campus Fund (formerly called the Clean Energy Fund) which is a separate student-fee initiative approved by Student Government to support student-initiated projects. Funding for facilities-related projects is sometimes granted from this Fund.
Version December 2022