Commissioners considering three policies

Published 12:45 am Monday, March 27, 2006

By By JOHN EBY / Cassopolis Vigilant
CASSOPOLIS - With Michigan's system of funding county government “broken” and Cass County's projected general fund revenue down 2.5 percent, County Administrator Terry Proctor last Thursday presented the Board of Commissioners with three policies to consider.
Proctor recommended utilizing fund balances wisely, renting jail cells to generate revenue and adopting more “user-pays.”
Proctor arrived at his general fund revenue estimate for 2006-07 of $12,992,874 by a process that began with elected officials and department heads projecting 2005-06 year-end revenue and income expected in 2006-07.
He removed $558,718 in jail capital equipment. “That's a one-time cost,” Proctor explained. “Next year that line item in the budget will be zero.”
A “key point” in his financial calculations is that the state approach to funding county government is “broken and we have very little flexibility on making changes.”
Proctor said Michigan continues to cut grants to county government.
The federal government proposes slashing grants for child support collection. “If that gets through Congress and to the President's desk and gets signed, we'll have a big cutback in our Friend of the Court program. Some real tough choices have to be made.”
The 2.5 percent decline is “just the revenue side,” Proctor said. “We're not talking about the expense side. The current budget which began last Oct. 1 through Sept. 30 this year anticipates $13,351,343 in revenue.