Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology
Ground-Water Assessment Program
The Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG) is a non-regulatory, applied research and public service agency. It is broadly directed to study, collect and publish information on the State s geology, including mineral, energy, and groundwater resources. The MBMG uses State funding to maintain basic core programs that are the foundation of its research and service; additional investigations are conducted as outside funds permit.
The FY2005 budget for the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology (MBMG) reflects an increase in appropriations of $19,332. This amount represents House Bill 13 funds which were intended to cover the cost of the insurance increase, projected salary increases and any other compensation related increase such as worker s compensation. As noted on the submitted FY05 Budget Update, this will leave the MBMG short approximately $15,211 dollars. This amount will need to come from other operating funds in FY05 or projected excess sales and services revenue from FY04. The FY05 sales and services revenue is also projected to exceed the appropriated amount. Also, increased returns from indirect costs generated by contracts and grants will be used to supplement the operating budgets.
The Ground-Water Assessment Program (GWAP) is mandated to systematically characterize Montana s ground-water resources, conduct long-term water level and water-quality monitoring, and provide data to Montana s citizens through a ground-water information database. This program receives a flat amount that must cover all costs associated with the program. It will need to absorb any salary, insurance or worker s compensation increases within the established $666,000 appropriation. As legislatively mandated, the GWAP Steering Committee adopted the proposed FY05 budget and work plan for Characterization, Monitoring, and Information Center efforts at its June 16, 2004 meeting.
For FY05, the Bureau s allocation of $2,296,388 (including GWAP)is highly leveraged. Typically each general fund dollar generates about $1.50 in contracts and grants. The total from contracts and grants is yet unknown for this year, but typically over half of MBMG s total budget is derived from these sources. Growth within MBMG has been limited to research areas supported by contracts and grants. Thus, newly identified research needs can be incorporated only by shifting personnel from other programs or obtaining outside funding.
Many employees in the MBMG are at or nearing retirement age which may result in a hardship for the MBMG during any of the upcoming years. The MBMG has been trying to establish a designated retirement account for this unfunded liability but have been unable to make any progress due to the lack of increased funding.