LAKE CITY — Missaukee County commissioners have approved an $11 million budget for Fiscal Year 2020.
While the budget predicts outspending the county’s revenue by nearly $73,000, there’s reason to believe the county might wind up in the black.
“Budgets are a living document,‘ said Pamela Niebrzydowski, a county commissioner.
Most months, commissioners tweak the budget, representing actual spending and revenues instead of mere predictions.
But commissioners and Missaukee County Administrator Precia Garland say that they budget conservatively, and have a history of finishing the year close to balanced, even when they’ve predicted they will overspend.
The general fund accounts for more than $5 million, while the county’s various special funds account for $6 million.
Fiscal Year 2020’s proposed budget saw a $9,300 increase at the last minute when board members approved the budget during August’s regularly scheduled board meeting.
The last-minute increase will go toward lawyers; the newly hired assistant prosecutor will get a larger raise than was proposed (now set to earn $36,365) and the lawyers hired to represent indigent juvenile defendants will also be paid at a higher rate (the total spending there is budgeted at $60,000).
While the county had hoped to spend less money on juvenile indigent defense, one attorney had already quit because of low pay, noted Frank Vanderwal, another county commissioner.
“We were going to have to pay more one way or another to keep them around,‘ Vanderwal said. “We didn’t have much choice on that one.‘
Niebrzydowski pointed toward unfunded mandates as a difficulty the county faces in balancing its budget, and pointed toward indigent defense as an example of an expense the county must pay without getting additional funds from the state.
“We continue to work on having a balanced budget ... that remains to be a challenge in every county in the state of Michigan,‘ she said.