Sunday, November 23, 2014

Basement Remodel

We spent the last month or so remodeling the basement of our home. When we bought the house last year we knew we wanted to make it our own and I had a lot of good ideas. The basement is the best kept secret of the house. It has a walk out door, windows, and it's roomy. Last year, we added a pool table down there but we really didn't do anything to make it a room. That all changed in September when I decided to partially finish it off. We've since made the pool table side a man cave and the other side a family room. The previous owners left us a pellet stove and it's now getting plenty of use!

I didn't want to completely finish it off both for connivance and tax purposes. Instead of putting a real wall up to divide the room I put in a Japanese Shoji to separate it. Now, when I want to move stuff inside for the winter I can open the wall and use the other side as storage. When I want to load my wood pellets in for the winter I can just open the wall and do so without a problem!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

This isn't good..

The last few weeks have been unpleasant to say the least. At work, the administration has announced that we currently face a budget deficit of 1.5 million and that number is projected to be close to 3.5 million by 2016. That dollar amount is the equivalent of 54 positions totaling $50k salary and benefits. What does this mean? It means cuts and layoffs. We knew this was coming but we didn't know to what extent and last week our department was told to find a 10% savings or make cuts.

I've been pretty worried about this as I've only been around seven years and am relatively new compared to the people who have been there. I think finding a 10% savings within our department is pretty easy to do but unfortunately I'm not the one making the decisions. Essentially, as with anything, it's out of my hands. In this area, there aren't a lot of jobs so a job loss here could be devastating. If I lose my job it's possible Erin would have to leave hers and we'd have to relocate. It's obviously not fun to think about and hopefully won't happen but at this point I can't rule anything out. Today, you need two good incomes to support a family and being in such a rural area without any real large businesses around makes losing a job very hard.

I've been considering alternate options just in case something does happen but obviously because of our location those options don't pan out to much. The best solution that I can think of is to move; although much of the country is feeling the same kind of problems right now. I do think there are different areas of the country though that are doing better than others. Unfortunately for us, this has been an ongoing problem. In 2008, a few staff positions were laid off due to budgetary reasons. The President back then projected that in 2015 we would be 750,000 in the hole if we didn't "change the way we did business". She tried to take the right steps to make the necessary cuts to put us in a better position as we approached this date but unfortunately people protested her decisions and went nutty forcing her out. The issues were never resolved and instead of 750k here we are at 1.5 million.

I think the biggest problem they have here is that there are literally not many areas they can cut and there certainly are not many employees that can be cut. In the words of a co-worker, "we're bare bones as it is." I don't know what the answer is and I don't pretend to know. My biggest fear is that we shutdown completely and go out of business. I can't see it happening as we have two of the best programs in the country but you never say never in this business. We're driven primarily on the student tuition and if they don't come, they don't pay, and we don't get paid. A large part of this problem stems from a record low number of college students right now. Simply put, people aren't having as many kids these days and unfortunately that is what causes a lot of problems.

When I was going to school ten years ago my class had over 500 students. Today, they're hovering around 400. That's a huge difference if you figure each student has to pay upwards of 20-25k a year. That's a lot of money lost in the overall budget and with small next to nothing state appropriations, the options are limited. People I work with are scared and so are some of the students. These are bug time budget decisions and they could affect me and some my close friends. So, what's the answer? Well, I guess within the next few months we'll find out.

Fingers crossed it's not my job or anybody elses.
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This blog raises money for various charitable organizations through the leeib In The Community program. The program works to give back to the community by reaching out through community involvement, charitable events, various fundraisers and programs aimed at giving. In the past, to reach my goals, I've hosted several giveaways and donated a percentage of my sponsor proceeds to various charitable organizations. In the future, with the help of the members of Nathan's Team, the program will build on previous success by helping the community right now. Nathan's Team encourages members to get involved right away— to provide service to those in need today. Continued service will spread awareness about the program and the causes to which we donate.

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