County facing $2 million budget deficit
STANTON, Mich. (WOOD) — The Montcalm County Board of Commissioners has OK’d sweeping staffing cuts, the largest concentration of which will be to public safety, as the county attempts to get its budget back in order.
Consultants Clark Hill and Rehmann Robson proposed the cuts that the commission approved during a Monday meeting. In all, the board agreed to eliminate 22.5 full-time equivalent positions (two part-time positions generally equal one full-time position):
- Four in the in judicial branch to save $267,203
- 5.5 in general government to save $515,583
- 10.5 from public safety to $849,221
- Two from the Commission on Aging to save $100,000
- 0.5 from the Friend of the Court to save $30,964
That adds up to more than $1.76 million in savings.
>>PDF: Slides explaining the budget situation and cuts
Consultants said the recommendations were “designed to minimize the impact on service delivery, as much as possible.” They are not expected to affect positions with other funding sources.
Consultants explained last week that the county has budgeted in a deficit during 12 of the last 13 years as county leaders overestimated how much money they would take in and didn’t decrease spending to square with actual revenue. Further, the consultants, said, leaders weren’t keeping a close enough eye on how the spending was affecting the general fund. As a result, the county is now some $2 million in the hole.
In addition to the staffing cuts, the board will have to eliminate deficits in the budgets of several departments. The Board of Commissioners will meet next week to work on a preliminary budget, a 24-month cash flow projection and a deficit elimination plan to be filed with the State.
Consultants also recommended that the county consider adding one or more voter‐approved millages to restore previous service levels.
>>PDF: Proposed 2017 budget