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Posted on Thu, May 16, 2013 : 1:38 p.m.

Board of Commissioners evaluates budget priorities as it faces nearly $7M needed in cuts

By Amy Biolchini

Facing nearly $7 million in structural budget cuts needed during the next four years, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners will be meeting Thursday night to establish its service priorities.

The county adopted developing a four-year budget for the first time this spring, at the request of County Administrator Verna McDaniel in the name of adding to the long-term financial stability of the county.


Verna McDaniel file photo

The four-year time frame requires the board to face $6.99 million in cuts, according to the updated financial state of the county presented by McDaniel to the board Wednesday.

That’s similar to the $6.88 million in structural cuts McDaniel proposed in January when she introduced the idea of a four-year budget, even though the county has had several positive surprises in its budget development process this spring.

Property values were higher than expected, contributing an additional $2.3 million in tax revenue to the general fund. Operations in 2012 also cost less than expected, contributing an additional $372,607 to the general fund.

The recent closure of the county’s pension and health care plans due to expedited union contract negotiations caused the county’s annual payment to increase - thus offsetting the general fund additions, McDaniel said.

McDaniel asked the commissioners Wednesday to present what levels of service they want the county to make priorities Thursday meeting.

The directives will help the county’s administrative staff target cuts more strategically as they draft a 2014-17 budget.

The Thursday budget meeting will not be at the county’s typical board meeting room in the County Administration Building downtown Ann Arbor.

Instead, the commissioners will meet at 6 p.m. Thursday at Washtenaw County Library Learning Resource Center at 4135 Washtenaw Ave. The meeting will be videotaped and aired at a later date on CTN.

The meeting is open to the public, and there will be a time for public comment.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.


Rick Stevens

Fri, May 17, 2013 : 1:49 a.m.

How about stopping funding SPARK? Just a waste of taxpayer money (that SPARK feels they don't even have to acknowledge).


Thu, May 16, 2013 : 9:12 p.m.

LOL - Sign 10 year unaffordable contracts and then try to figure out how, without breaking the contract to make the budget work. Well done!

Dog Guy

Thu, May 16, 2013 : 9:11 p.m.

The meeting is tonight, so I trust that the unions have let the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners know what service priorities are acceptable.