ARENAC COUNTY — County budgets for the year 2009 must be submitted to the state by Dec. 31. However, the budget process is still in its early stages in Arenac County.
“I would say they’re (Board of Commissioners) about two or three weeks behind,” said Arenac County Treasurer Dennis Stawowy. “I’d say it’s time to knuckle down.”
Board Chairman Raymond Daniels says some movement has been made on getting closer to approving next year’s budget, but said several department heads, who submit their department’s budget requests to the board, were late or waited to the last minute in submitting the requests.
“I thought the cut-off date (for requests) was the tenth of October or so, so I don’t know why some people wouldn’t have theirs in,” Daniels said. “I don’t really know what the delay is. Hopefully we get going here pretty quickly.”
But Stawowy says to his knowledge, department heads, for the most part, are prepared and looking forward to appearing before the board to lobby for 2009 department requests.
“All the department heads are ready with their answers,” he said, adding the Board could set aside only three or four days to meet with the department managers, hear the spending requests for next year and have a good idea in regards to which departments will receive which requests.
Stawowy says the delay with the board could be due to the fact that Arenac County is nearing the end of a sizable election cycle and union negotiations, especially with the county Steelworkers’ Union and the Police Officers’ Association of Michigan (POAM), haven’t went smoothly this year.
“They (POAM) wrote us a letter basically saying they’re not going to sign before the election (of a new sheriff),” Stawowy said. “They’ve (Steelworkers’) gone a whole year without a contract.”
He added that the budget could see some difficulties arise from the Steelworkers’ contract situation, since the county won’t be fully aware of how much it stays in the black or goes in the red this year until the contract is approved and retroactive payments are paid back to the Steelworkers. Also, the amount to be paid to the Steelworkers next year hasn’t been determined, meaning it would be more difficult in knowing exactly how much to approve in next year’s budget.
The county, perhaps because of the slow union negotiations, also hasn’t approved a salary resolution for next year.
“The salary resolution should’ve been done at the beginning of October,” Stawowy said.
Read more in the Oct. 29 issue of "The Arenac County Independent."