Ingham County Budget Cuts Discussed

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

$6.4 million: that's how much Ingham County needs to cut to balance the 2011 budget. The controller released her ideas of how to do it.

Among them, an 8-week hiring delay saves about $450,000. Reducing positions saves about $139,000. She also plans to decrease funding to the parks and the department of human services.

By far the biggest cut goes to the county's health department at $1.2 million.

"It's not good news, but we know the economy is suffering," Dr. Dean Seinko said.

Seinko said the department made cuts and reorganized behind the scenes mostly, so the average resident should not see a drastic change in services next year.

"We lose our nimbleness a bit," Seinko said. "For instance, when something like H1N1 comes out of no where, we lose our ability to respond to that."

The most contentious cut this year is the elimination of the road patrol. That will save the county about $1 million, but the sheriff asks at what cost?

"The assault on public safety has gotten worse," Sheriff Gene Wriggelsworth said.

The sheriff said he's lost 31 positions in the past three years. This year it's 15 positions, which includes closing a post at the jail.

"Public safety has been compromised in my opinion," he said. "I can no longer ensure the safety of the residents with the staff I have."

At least nine of those positions could be saved -- some added even -- if the 13 outlying townships choose to contract with the sheriff. All of them have a millage or a special assessment on November's ballot.

The Controller said the only constant right now, is that 2012 and 2013 don't look any better.

County Commissioners now meet in sub committees to discuss the controller's budget recommendations. The law enforcement committee met Thursday to discuss the road patrol issue.

The full board could vote on next year's budget as early as October 26th.

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  • by Pat Location: Eaton Rapds on Oct 9, 2010 at 09:12 AM
    What about looking at those pensions and retirement health care? Most of their constituents don't have these benefits, why should we pay for them for others? What about reducing some county salaries? After all the 'company' they work for, the taxpayers, are going through hard times. It doesn't make sense that the people paying the bills get so little say in what their 'employees' make or how the money is spent.
  • by Ricardo Location: Lansing on Sep 3, 2010 at 09:27 AM
    Ah yes. Here comes then shake down for even more money from taxpayers. This deal with them road patols has been getting set up for months. Good ol' Gene is going to use every scare tactic he can think of to bleed even more money from the people. I fail to see why the small communities should have to hire the sheriff to patrol, when they are already paying county taxes to do so now! Get real and adjust the budget and live with what you have instead of trying to bleed the people even more! Thank You. Ricard0
  • by Douglas Location: Webberville on Sep 2, 2010 at 04:20 PM
    Maybe instead of cutting road patrols in the county we should close the Potter Park Zoo. Seems to me that public safety, an essential service, should be a priority. How much tax dollars are spent maintaining a zoo that most out county residents don't use but are forced to pay for?
  • by Paula Location: Ingham County on Sep 2, 2010 at 04:04 PM
    I am curious to see how much the Ingham County Commisioners get payed including benefits. Maybe their salaries could be cut a small percentage.
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