Washtenaw County board of commissioners budget working session (June 16,2011): At its June 1, 2011 meeting, county commissioners added five new working sessions to their schedule, all focused on the 2012-2013 budget. The first one was held on Thursday.
Verna McDaniel, Washtenaw County administrator, at the June 1, 2011 board of commissioners meeting. At a June 16 working session, McDaniel updated commissioners on the county's progress in developing a budget for 2012-2013. (Photo by the writer.)
County administrator Verna McDaniel updated commissioners on the budget process, including expedited labor negotiations that began formally on June 9. The county has targeted $8 million in concessions from employee compensation and benefits to help address a projected $17.5 million two-year deficit in 2012-2013.
Also in the works are business plans being developed by the managers of each county department – the goal is to get another $8 million in cuts from organizational changes and departmental reductions. Outside agencies – including human services nonprofits – are targeted for $1 million in cuts.
After her presentation, McDaniel fielded questions that covered a range of issues and concerns. She was asked to provide an update on efforts by former county administrator Bob Guenzel and local health care providers to develop a broad-based health care plan for Washtenaw County. She conveyed few details, but noted that the board would be briefed on the plan – called the Washtenaw Health Initiative – at their Sept. 8 working session.
Related to labor issues, commissioner Dan Smith urged the administration to identify potential layoffs as early in the year as possible. Saying that the board was resigned to the fact that there would likely be layoffs – though they hoped to keep them at a minimal level – Smith said it would be better for affected employees to know sooner rather than later, so that they can plan their next moves. [Full Story]