Archived Story

Berrien County faces more budget cuts in 2013

Published 3:28pm Thursday, March 22, 2012

ST. JOSEPH — A potential significant loss of funding has Berrien County looking at damage control.

Bill Wolf, the county administrator, told the administration committee Thursday that he anticipates a cut of $1.8 million in revenue sharing from the state in 2013.

“Or it could be worse if you roll in a personal property tax loss. It could be $2.5 million right off the top going into 2013,” Wolf said.

The state Legislature is considering phasing out the personal property tax, which provides funding to municipalities and counties. Although Senator John Proos, R-St. Joseph, told the Star this month he doesn’t see the PPT being eliminated without a replacement source of revenue, local officials are still worried and beginning to prepare.

Wolf asked commissioners Thursday to consider holding a workshop to discuss the general fund, 911 fund and infrastructure and capital improvement funds.

Wolf said the county 911 service needs additional funding to keep providing its current services.

There are several options for solving the problem, including charging local units for 911 services, dipping into the general fund, increasing the 911 service millage or charging $1 a month to cell- phone users.

“The board needs to discuss how to deal with this,” said Wolf, who also wants to discuss the new animal control shelter, which has $1.93 million set aside for its construction.

But that’s not enough to fully fund it, Wolf said. The county also has to consider renovations at the jail and improvements at health department buildings.

The board also will discuss renewal of expiring millages.

A workshop will likely be scheduled in April to discuss the budget issues.

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