Day two flies by in county budget hearings

PLYMOUTH — “In all the years I’ve been looking at budgets these are the best I’ve ever seen.”
Most of the Marshall County Council could echo the sentiments expressed by President of the Council Matt Hassel as it concluded the second day of budget hearings for the coming year. The reason for the feeling was simple.
“These were serious, bare bones budgets,” said Hassel. “I think it proves that all our department heads are aware of the kind of economy we still face and are willing to work with us to get done what we have to get done.”
Nearly every county department was able to maintain its budget at or near 2011 numbers and still give all employees in Marshall County a 2 percent raise, something that hasn’t been budgeted in several years.
Even with budgets at bare-bones level, the Council was able to find $85,513 in cuts on the first day and was urged by Hassel to find more before final adoption next month.
“I would like to ask you to try to look at this and find another $250,000 in cuts,” he asked his fellow Council members. “I really feel we need to take at least one of our jail employees out of the CAGIT (County Adjusted Gross Income Tax) and into the general fund.”
Currently the special CAGIT for the jail pays the salary of nine employees. Plans were to bring all of those employees salaries out of the fund and into the general fund before the CAGIT ends in 2025.
“We don’t want leave that problem for a future Council to deal with when that fund comes to an end,” said Hassell.
Council member Judy Stone joined Hassel in praising county employees and department heads for their work on the budget and had earlier stated that her goal was that the Council could find a way to take two of the current jail employees into the general fund this year.
The two days of hearings ended in what could possibly be record time for the Council. After an extremely easy day one, just four budgets remained to be examined on day two.
Official adoption of the budget for the coming year will take place at the September meeting of the Council.