Monday, October 19, 2009

Proposed cuts to the AZ Geological Survey

As Chair of the AZ Section of AEG I sat on advisory panel that helped the AZGS figure out what to cut from an organization that needs more support and not less. Below is the press release from the State Geologist that he posted on Arizona Geology.

The Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budget this morning released the lists of state agency programs ( that would have to be permanently eliminated or reduced to meet the state’s budget shortfall. The lists would have to go to the Legislature for consideration. The cuts, if implemented, are calculated for taking effect January 1, 2010.

The Arizona Geological Survey would lose state funding to operate 11 out of a total of 24 programs. Another seven program areas would be reduced by amounts ranging from about 5% up to 50%. The programs were prioritized by an external review panel of AZGS stakeholders (data and service users) that used public input to help guide their recommendations.

Core programs we will attempt to preserve are:

Geologic Hazards
Geologic Mapping
Mineral Resources
Basin Analysis (entirely contract and grant funded).

Most of the eliminated programs have only limited state general fund support to begin with; typically a part of one or two people’s time. AZGS has raised external funds for years to subsidize state-mandated operations. We will continue to seek outside monies to underwrite these functions, but the budget scenario proposes transferring funds from external accounts as well to make up the state budget shortfall, leaving fewer options for us to fund these programs.

Phoenix Branch Office
Energy Resources
Core and Sample Repository
Education, Outreach, and Tech Transfer
Enterprise Geodatabase
Earth Fissures
Information Technology Support
Website Updates

Areas taking additional cuts due to transfer of agency-generated funds are:

Energy Resources
Map and Book Store (closed for walk-in sales; mail/phone orders only)
Inquiries, Outreach, and Tech Transfer
GIS Map Production and Database Development
Information Technology Support
Technical Support for the AZ Oil & Gas Conservation Commission.

We are implementing additional cost-cutting moves now, including reducing the number of vehicles and office phones, renegotiating service contracts, and transferring staff to new contracts and grant funded projects.

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