is hoping for the best, planning for the worst in the
face of possible job losses at USU
February 2, 2009 | As budget cuts may cause Utah State
University to lay off several employees, the city of
Logan feels confident regarding its preparation for
"Anything negative at Utah State, I feel, affects
Logan." said Logan Mayor Randy Watts in an e-mail. He
added, "For the time being we are doing OK, but the
length of the recession will determine our outcome."
"I think it will hurt the valley in general," said
Rich Anderson, finance director for the city, in a phone
interview. "The university is the major employer in
the valley, and anytime they're laying off people, it
is going to adversely affect us."
"There is a decrease in spending when people lose
their jobs," explains Kirk Jensen, economic development
director for Logan, and because of this," sales tax
Compared to the last year, Logan has seen a 1 percent
decrease from the previous year in revenue from sale
taxes as of the latest figures in October. According
to Anderson, the state's average loss of revenue is
approximately 5 percent. He says these are rough figures.
"I think things will slow down a little bit more,"
He estimates that for the rest of this fiscal year,
which ends on June 30, Logan will have negative growth
compared to the previous year. Anderson estimates this
to be between 3 and 10 percent.
"We are always looking at ways that we can reduce
spending and become more efficient," explains Anderson,
"We've done that over the past."
Over the last few years Logan has been evaluating
programs and positions as they became available, to
find out ways to cut spending, Anderson says. One of
the programs Logan cut this year was the vehicle replacement
program. The city has also set aside money in a "rainy
"We built up our reserves as far as they can go legally,"
explains Jensen, stating that that number is at about
18 percent. He adds that the current administration
has been very conservative in regards to its financial
structuring. "At this point, we feel that we've been
prepared for this economic downturn," assures Anderson.
"We are preparing for the worst, but hoping for the
best." There are some positive things happening in Logan,
according to Jensen and Anderson. "Building permits
are showing a little bit of life," says Andersons. There
are several projects in Logan both under construction
or soon to begin. Among these are a new Walmart store
and the development surrounding it, as well as development
around a new hotel and conference center in town. Other
new businesses opening soon include a Walgreens and
several new restaurants.
"I think Logan, historically, and certainly that's
the case now too, has typically weathered economic downturns
pretty well," said Jensen. "You can describe the economy
here as being somewhat resilient that way." He says
Logan has a diverse economy, without extremely large
concentrations of employment in any one sector, which
he considers to be a good thing.
"I've always been an optimistic person and this will
pass," says Mayor Watts. "We need to stay positive."
"I do think we have some positive things happening
in our local economy," says Anderson. He believes there
could be a "significant turnaround the second half of
In a related story, Utah State University students,
along with students from other public state institutions
of higher education, met for a rally at the state Capitol
building Jan. 30.
The students wore there to encourage House representative
and state senators to lessen the cuts which have been
proposed for higher education. Thoes cuts could be as
high as 7.5 percent for the 2009 year.
Snow College President Scott Wyatt said, "We are not
the problem, we are the solution," as he addressed students
regarding the budget cuts. Wyatt said the future of
the state depends on having educated people, and that
future depends on reduced cuts to the state's public
colleges and universities.