Washtenaw County commissioners to hold special board retreat to discuss $20M structural deficit
Conan Smith says a number of county programs and services will be critically analyzed for elimination or restructuring as part of the upcoming budget process.
The chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners has called for a special board retreat from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Jan. 29 in the county building at 220 N. Main St.
Commissioners will use the meeting to talk about the county's next steps to address a $20 million structural deficit for 2012 and 2013, and give direction to the county's administration.
Smith, D-Ann Arbor, said one of his goals is to find ways for commissioners to connect and understand each other's priorities.
County Administrator Verna McDaniel plans to present a two-year budget to the county board in September, giving commissioners a proposal to debate this fall.
Smith said there also are big savings to be had with the juvenile court move from Platt Road to the Washtenaw County Courthouse in downtown Ann Arbor, along with possibly some restructuring or reductions of the juvenile detention program.
Another major issue commissioners will be discussing in the coming months is the price that municipalities will pay for a contract sheriff’s deputy after this year.
The board passed a resolution in December that established a 2011 contract price of $150,594 per deputy. That's a 4 percent increase from last year's rate.
County officials recently calculated the actual cost per deputy at $168,584 — plus an additional $7,524 in overhead. The difference between the cost to the county and the price municipalities pay comes out of the county’s general fund right now.
"Now we're debating what to charge, which will be driven in part by how many deputies are contracted for in total and in part by a discussion about the appropriate county investment in meeting our mandate," Smith said.
The union that represents Washtenaw County sheriff's deputies and corrections officers recently agreed to a freeze in pay for the next two years and other concessions expected to save the county nearly $4.43 million over the next four years. County officials are hoping for similar success in negotiations with the rest of the county's 17 collective bargaining units.