2012-08-02 / Front Page

2013 budget uncertainty for county

Funds, invoice issue discussed at meeting

MANISTIQUE – The Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners discussed an anticipated budget shortfall, as well as an invoicing issue during Thursday’s meeting. Currently, commissioners expect a $285,000 deficit for the 2013 fiscal year.

According to Commissioner Dan LaFoille, following a recent budget committee meeting, it was determined there is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding the 2013 budget.

“Right now, as things stand, we’re right around $285,000 short for 2013,” he said. “We still have to see where we end up in regard to medical. We’re putting in a 25 percent increase there; it may or may not happen.”

By anticipating the increase, LaFoille explained, the county will lessen the likelihood of encountering an even bigger deficit.

“We still have to see how this year finishes out – that’s an ongoing process,” he said.

Adjustments within the county sheriff’s office budget could also have an affect on the overall budget, LaFoille added. Currently, the budget reflects an approximate $30,000 savings from reducing the hours of part-time employees.

“We’ve only budgeted $40,000 instead of $70,000 for part time wages next year,” LaFoille said. “That’s maybe a little iffy too at this point, depending.”

One potential money saver will be the Schoolcraft County’s Child Care Fund. The fund covers 50 percent of the cost incurred by the 11th Circuit Court - Family Division in handling neglected, abused and delinquent youth in the county.

“That’s probably our ‘ace in the hole’,” he said. “Keep your fingers crossed that something bad doesn’t happen there.”

Until some of the final figures trickle in as the end of the 2012 fiscal year approaches on Oct. 1, LaFoille pointed out the county will remain in the dark.

“As usual, it’s still an uphill battle, so we’ll continue to work on it,” he said. “We’ve done everything we can do through the year to try to trim our costs and keep control of things.”

In other business, the board voted unanimously to have Schoolcraft County Prosecuting Attorney Tim Noble review an invoicing issue. The issue relates to invoices submitted by Schoolcraft County Undersheriff Robert Madden for reimbursement on mileage incurred for Emergency Management meetings, explained Chairperson Alan Grimm. Madden currently serves as the county’s Emergency Management Coordinator.

Grimm explained that the county is only looking into the matter at this point, as there is some discrepancy over which vehicle – the county van or Madden’s personal vehicle – was used for each trip. He noted that the county wouldn’t reimburse for trips taken with its van.

It is noted in the board’s meeting minutes that the matter, if Noble chooses, may be referred to the Michigan State Police or Attorney General for investigation.

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