HELENA — The Montana Historical Society released a plan on Wednesday to potentially meet a 16 percent budget cut.
The amount slashed from the budget is determined by a bill passed by the Legislature and signed by Gov. Steve Bullock to trigger certain cuts if state tax revenues aren’t met. The Historical Society is one of several agencies that could face cuts if Montana doesn’t reach $2.18 billion by June 30, the end of fiscal year 2018.
The $600,000 in cuts triggered by a shortage of revenue is in addition to cuts already established by the Legislature for $400,000.
Bruce Whittenberg, executive director of the Montana Historical Society, has said the agency is preparing for the worst case scenario. In the plan, which would go into effect August 18, 24 staff members would see reduced hours, be asked to retire or have a change in responsibilities. A total of eight full or part-time employees will be laid off.
In addition to staff reductions, certain programs will be scaled back including:
No guided tours of the Capitol Building
Altered and shorter museum hours
Thursday evening public programs will be discontinued
Some fee increases for services, fewer staff to process requests resulting in delays
No public hours to view photo archives. Services by appointment only.
Reduction in public relations and marketing efforts
All services and programs outside of Helena involving travel expenses will be reduced
Other agencies facing reductions include the Montana State Library which will likely lose services for people with vision impairment and physical disabilities, mental health services, delay of payments to schools and rates paid to providers for low-income healthcare.