Archived Story

County board approves 2013 budget

Published 6:10pm Sunday, September 23, 2012

The Cass County Board of Commissioners approved a general budget for the 2013 fiscal year, improving a deficit by more than $156,000.

During the regular meeting of the board Thursday evening, commissioners discussed whether to approve the budget or continue talks and hold a special meeting before the Sept. 30 deadline.  With two commissioners absent during the meeting, the budget was approved 11-1 with Commissioner Gordon Bickell voting no.

Interim Administrator Louis Csokasy presented the resolution to the board due to Commissioner Robert Wagel being absent from the meeting. The resolution explained that, after calculating a $685,394 deficit in the proposed budget, that number dropped to $529,221, improving the overall budget by $156,173. Because state law says counties cannot approve a deficit budget, the county will use $1,009521 of its $8.6 million in fund equity to move forward with the fiscal year.

Commissioner Annie File expressed concern in approving the budget Thursday evening, stating the budget still hasn’t been explained in full and she wouldn’t feel comfortable approving it with outstanding questions.

Commissioner Johnny Rodebush contested, saying this year’s budget preparations have been more open and in-depth than previous years. Other commissioners also stated each person on the board was free and encouraged to meet one-on-one with Csokasy to have questions answered.

“We have went through this budget line by line like never before,” Rodebush said.

Csokasy said, after two public meetings and a preliminary budget meeting in August, he felt the board was ready to move forward.

“It’s a difficult situation we’re in,” Csokasy said. “In the course of the next year, we’ll work to fix our structural spending.”

Commissioner Ed Goodman reminded the board that approving the budget wouldn’t prevent the passage of any amendments

“The budget is not set in stone once we approve it,” Goodman said. “We can amend it later.”

An annual meeting of the board of commissioners is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 4.

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