County faces million dollar budget cut

Grand Traverse County commissioners are putting together a strategic plan for 2012.

It includes goals, objectives and strategies for the next two years. But several challenges stand in their way. They are facing the threat of future budget cuts and expenses that are weighing the county down.

As they plan for the future, the County is already projecting a million dollar budget cut in 2013.

â??I think we have some big challenges moving forward for 2012 and 2013. One of them is the continuation of the loss of revenue we were receiving from the assessed value from the Michigan tax tribunal,â?? said Larry Inman, Grand Traverse County Commission Chairman.

For now, commissioners must work with what they have.

Inman said this year the County hopes to finally cut losses by addressing their waste treatment plant. The facility has been a drain on their budget for years.

â??We hope to have a resolution this year on stabilizing and making payments so local units of government are not concerned about making up the difference of lost revenue,â?? said Inman.

Paying off the Countyâ??s new Health Department Building is also in commissionerâ??s strategic plan.

That project is expected to be completed in 12 months.

â??We will place the Garfield building, currently housing the Health Department, for sale and offset that sales revenue against the project. We are going to use this along with the lease payment from Dental Clinic North and the Emergency Management Grants to pay for the building,â?? Inman said.

Inside the commission itself, there are challenges to planning ahead.

The County will soon be without a county administrator.

Commissioners said they do have strong candidates in line, and hope their strategic plan sets the tone once the replacement in brought on board.

â??We are going to be hiring a new county administrator and this will be an opportunity to convey what we whish to do going into the future,â?? said County Commissioner Christine Maxbauer.

Another thing that could impact strategic planning, in the future, the board will be cut from nine commissioners to seven.

Chairman Inman said it will add work to commissioners who represent a county that is experiencing an increase in population.