CBJ considers multiple ways to save money

    Juneau, Alaska (KINY) - The CBJ Finance Committee continues to look at ways to cut the budget this year amid the Coronavirus pandemic.

    Among the suggestions are $7 million in capital projects and over $2 million in cuts to various operations.

    Staff also studied options like employee furloughs, pay cuts, delays in negotiated pay hikes, and a shorter workweek.

    Many of these suggestions would have to be negotiated with union employees, who make up roughly 60% of the CBJ workforce.

    Assemblymember Michelle Bonnet Hale said it is difficult to cut the budget.

    "You have to cut something bid to make an impact rather than make 20 smaller cuts."

    Assemblymember Wade Bryson argued if the CBJ does not make cuts this year they will be forced to make even larger cuts in future years.

    He said cuts to small items can also help.

    "Those little amounts do add up.  We need to knock out the little things that are then permanent savings to the community.  There isn't $1 million in fat on the bone but there is $10,000 worth of fat on the bone.  If we get rid of that, that is how we get our finances under control."

    The capital projects being considered for cuts or delays include the Augustus Brown pool renovation, Centennial Hall, and some utility projects.

    Assemblymember Greg Smith said cutting capital projects could also cut jobs in the community.

    "We obviously have a deficit to fill.  I've talked to people in labor and the trades.  A large share could fall to capital improvements.  That does impact jobs," he added.

    The assembly will get some input and recommendations from the aquatics board on a plan to not renovate Augustus Brown School at this time.

    Manager Rorie Watt said the CBJ has been doing things to save money by keeping positions vacant and moving employees around.

    "Service reductions are another one of your big levers  You have a tough job and I'm trying to give you substantial reduction in workforce and activity.  I'm not going to tell you that we can keep doing everything that we've been doing," he added.

    ]The finance committee meets each Wednesday night at 5 pm to discuss the budget.



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