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Barry County $17.1 Million Budget

Barry County $17.1Million Budget

Barry County will operate on a general fund budget of $17.1 million next year, Barry County Board of Commissioners decided in a short meeting Tuesday.

This year's general fund budget was $16.6 million.

“The county has not ever had to adopt a deficit budget,” County Administrator Michael Brown said in an interview Wednesday. “The fund balance had not ever gone backwards.”

Both revenues and expenditures are up 2.6 percent in the 2019 plan, Brown said. The primary driver of that growth is new home construction.

“Due to new construction and taxable value going up at the rate of inflation, we see additional revenue,” he said, noting that the growth is fairly consistent with previous years.

The 2019 budget will require a tax levy of 5.3521 mills, which is the maximum allowable after the Headlee Amendment rollback is applied. That levy is down slightly from this year's 5.3834 mills.

The county's total budget for all funds (including special revenue, debt, construction, enterprise and internal services) will exceed $48 million in 2019, according to Brown.

Property taxes, the single largest portion of the county's annual revenue, will provide $11.8 million. Federal and state revenue provides almost $2 million, while charges for services, licenses and permits, rents and interests, fines and forfeits and other miscellaneous revenue amount to $3.3 million.

Expenditures are based on current staffing and service levels, Brown said. This year, requests for funds were almost $1 million more than proposed revenues. Thirteen new positions were requested. Of those, the board approved one – upgrading the part-time post held by parks and recreation administrator Ron Welton from 0.25 to 0.50.

Tuesday's vote, which was unanimous, capped a six-month process that Brown characterized as “quite thorough and exhaustive.”

“Now we'll begin to work on closing the books on the 2018 process with an audit,” Brown said.

And, once that 2018 audit is completed, they will start the 2020 budget process.

The approved budget is posted on the Barry County website,

Commissioners also approved the creation of a three-member ad hoc committee to investigate the total cost of operating the Barry-Eaton District Health Department and the total cost for health departments in comparable counties, along with which services and staff positions are required.

No more than $6,000 will be appropriated from the contingency fund so that a committee of commissioners Dan Parker, Jon Smelker and Heather Wing may conduct their review and consult an independent professional, such as an accountant, if necessary. The findings will be reported in writing to the board before Dec. 31.

The creation of this committee, a contentious topic at last week's committee of the whole meeting, was approved in a unanimous vote.

In other action, the board approved:

- Steve Essling for re-appointment to the post representing the recycling industry and Jerry Czarnecki to represent the City of Hastings on the solid waste oversight committee. Each will serve three-year terms, beginning Nov. 1.

- Joe Sancimino for a partial term ending Dec. 31, 2019; Sarah Nelson for a partial term expiring Dec. 31, 2020; and Jack Miner as citizen at large for the planning commission for a term ending March 31, 2021.

- Equalization Director Tim Vandermark's 2018 county apportionment report.

- Fiscal year 2019 grants for all drug and specialty courts, including adult drug court, juvenile drug court, sobriety court, Swift and Sure Sanctions probation program and the office of community corrections.

- The Public Act 116 request by Boyd and Lydia Endsley in Castleton Township for their Michigan Department of Agriculture Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program application.
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