2012-09-06 / Front Page

Budget presented, public hearing set

Deficit filled, county awaits final numbers

MANISTIQUE – The county is putting the final touches on the 2012-13 fiscal year budget. A public hearing will be held on Sept. 13 before it will be adopted, according to county officials.

During a recent meeting of the Schoolcraft County Board of Commissioners, Audit Finance Chairperson Dan LaFoille said that the budget, constructed by the finance committee, is balanced at this point.

“It’s a journey, as usual,” he said. “The only thing I can say … it’s balanced and it’s going to be under review, certainly through the whole month of September.”

Changes will likely be brought forth during the public hearing, when more information is available, LaFoille added.

The budget originally had a deficit of approximately $270,000, he explained. In order to correct this, since county budgets must be submitted balanced, per state law, the county took $107,000 from their budget stabilization fund. This fund, said LaFoille, is created by using funds saved elsewhere in the prior year’s budget.

The county also estimated a $100,000 fund balance from the 2011-12 fiscal year, ending this month, and applied that toward the deficit. The remaining $72,861 was taken from the county’s Delinquent Tax Revolving fund.

“We have to put the numbers into these positions to propose a balanced budget, and so that’s what we’ve done at this point,” LaFoille explained.

Contributing to the deficit for 2012-13 was a loss of nearly $25,000, explained County Treasurer Julie Roscioli. Manistique Papers recently had a review of their personal property, and its value was reduced by approximately $4 million, she said, affecting the amount they pay to the county.

The county’s medical expenses were another financial burden, said LaFoille, as a 25 percent increase was built into the upcoming budget.

“What we’ve been told is it will be somewhere between 20 and 40 percent, so we’re hedging our bets there,” he said. “We’re trying to be responsible, but … it could come in a tad bit better or it will come in worse and we’ll have to make adjustments.”

County Clerk Dan McKinney noted a copy of the budget is available in the clerk’s office for public review.

In other business, the board received three applications for the Emergency Management Coordinator position. The position was left vacant after the resignation of Robert Madden in August. Chairperson Al Grimm explained that once the applicants are given an “enhanced” job description, an interview process would be scheduled.

Commissioners also agreed to sign a contract with Health Professionals, Ltd. and move forward with the implementation of their services. HPL was brought in last year to privatize the Schoolcraft County Jail’s inmate medical care.

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