County approves 2014 budget
STANDISH — The Arenac County Board of Commissioners approved a 2014 general fund budget projecting about $5,659,071 in expenses and revenues.
The budget, which was approved unanimously during the board’s Dec. 17 meeting, estimates expenses and revenues to be down about $24,500 from 2013.
Commissioner Mike Snyder said the budget was trimmed about as much as it could be for next year.
“As far as I’ve concerned, being as fiscally conservative as I am, I think this budget is as frugal as this body could get it,” he said.
Treasurer Dennis Stawowy said county departments would have to continue to run as they have over the past year due to the budget.
“No one should expect any new program offerings,” he said. “We’re pretty much set at the status quo.”
The budget includes contingency monies for possible wage changes for one Teamsters county bargaining unit that is currently negotiating a new contract with the county. The group includes 15 employees, some of whom are not full-time or paid from general fund dollars, according to County Clerk Rick Rockwell. He said there are also six Chemical Workers employees who are in a multicounty bargaining unit with Iosco County employees, and that unit is negotiating a contract too.
Stawowy said if the employees in those groups have a wage increase, there is money to cover it up to a certain amount.
“If contract is settled for what the board anticipated, contingency in the budget will cover it,” he said.
County employees belonging to the Police Officers Association of Michigan, the Teamsters supervisor unit, Government Employees Labor Council and the United Steelworkers unions have their contracts settled for 2014, according to Rockwell. Those employees were approved of a 1-percent raise in their ratified contracts.
Although many county employees are scheduled to receive a pay increase next year, the county was still able to reduce expenses in next year’s budget. The county budgeted $10,000 less in its family court child care budget, and the jail budget for 2014 is about $706,000 as opposed to $724,740 in 2013.
Savings in the jail budget included $8,000 on utility costs and $2,100 on laundry services, as well as smaller savings on other line items.
In the circuit court budget, a longtime employee retired and received a vacation- and sick-day payout in 2013, and was replaced with an entry level employee, according to Rockwell, which created a savings in that department despite the 1-percent raises.
The general fund was only one of many budgets approved by the county commissioners Dec. 17, as the all-funds budget also included budgets for the road commission, and ambulance and 911 services, and other departments that operate within the county but are not solely funded by the county.
The road commission projected a budget of $4.7 million for 2014, which is $300,000 less than was budgeted in 2013.
County ambulance service expenses were increased by about $23,000 in 2014, with the budget approved for $400,000 as opposed to the $377,000 that was budgeted for 2013.
The 2013 amended budget for the county’s 911 department was approximately $874,675. In 2014, the 911 budget was approved for $816,600.
Overall, the all-funds budget, including revenues and expenses via road patrol and senior citizen millages, was approved for $17,897,550, which is about $300,000 less than the amended all-funds budget for 2013.