Macomb County commissioners pass 2019 budget

Policies adopted to ensure future financial health

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published November 15, 2018

MOUNT CLEMENS — On Nov. 8, the Macomb County Board of Commissioners approved the balanced fiscal year 2019 budget of $769 million, $246.4 million of which is general fund dollars.

The adopted budget reflects the guiding principles set into place by the board earlier this year, which include reviewing the budget based upon the evaluation of goals and programs proposed by each department, comparison to historical budget proposals, actual year-to-date spending, evaluation of best practices and implementing a strategic vision.

Prior to the Nov. 8 meeting, the board held 25 meetings that included 39 department, agency and program reviews.

“As this county’s legislative body, we are charged by the charter to oversee the budget,” Board of Commissioners Chairman Bob Smith stated in a press release. “We committed ourselves to a thorough review of the budget to ensure tax dollars are being allocated efficiently and where needed.”

Also at the Nov. 8 meeting, the board adopted fund balance and capital improvement policies.

The fund balance policy states that the minimum level of unrestricted general fund balance shall be maintained at a range of 15-20 percent, in line with national government accounting standards.

The capital improvement policy reflects a funding approach that will stabilize what money is available for capital projects, enabling the county to better plan for project implementation and completion.

“I am proud that this board continues to work to implement policies that will ensure the long-term financial health of the county,” Smith stated in the release.

Both policies passed in a 12-1 vote, with Commissioner Andrey Duzyj voting against both.

The fiscal year 2019 budget passed 11-2, with Commissioners Leon Drolet and Rob Mijac voting against it.

The two commissioners’ messages related to the budget were similar, saying they did not feel comfortable spending $8.8 million from the county’s fund balance to cover expenditures.

“This is a time when we are supposed to be saving,” Mijac stated.

The county is not deficit spending, but rather spending from its savings that are funded at levels consistent with national government accounting standards.

With the approval of the fiscal year 2019 budget, the county’s fund balance will be at 18 percent, or $44.8 million.

Smith said he is confident that the fund balance policy will allow for further consistency in responsible spending and savings for the county.