YONGSAN GARRISON — Tuition assistance money has dried up, and garbage is still piled up here as military officials face depleted accounts before the budget year is halfway over, according to the peninsula’s top enlisted soldier.

“Right now, funding is tight because of the global war on terrorism,” U.S. Forces Korea Command Sgt. Maj. Troy Welch said Friday morning during his monthly radio call-in show. Tuition money “for the second quarter has been exhausted,” he said.

Welch said the tuition money should be restored by the end of March or early April. “I think it will all work out,” he added.

Still, budget crunches are being felt on bases throughout USFK. Nearly a year ago, the Army command that manages installations worldwide acknowledged it had exceeded its $8 billion budget by $2 billion and asked bases to implement a series of cost-saving measures.

This year, some of those budget woes can be seen in overflowing outdoor trash bins. In the past few days, complaints have gone to Area II commander Col. Timothy McNulty about garbage piling up around Yongsan. The landfill the military uses had filled up, and his office was working to make other arrangements during the budget crisis, he said last week.

Welch also spoke about the popularity of the Assignment Incentive Pay program. Program rules changed last month, allowing soldiers nine months — instead of three — to consider staying in South Korea for an extra year or two. In the past month, he said, about 1,400 people have applied for the incentive, which awards $300 to $400 extra each month in exchange for the longer tour.

Welch also addressed complaints about the Army and Air Force Exchange Service taxi service. One caller said he was told it would take as long as an hour to pick him up on-post. Welch said he understands that AAFES has had problems recruiting drivers, but that he would follow up with the cab service’s management.

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