– September 7, 2014Posted in: Stories
With an eleventh-hour settlement reached between Wayne County and the Prosecutor’s Office, the Wayne County Commission on Thursday unanimously approved a $1.68 billion budget for the county for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which begins Oct. 1.
The 2013-14 adopted budget was approximately $1.43 billion, meaning that the 2014-15 budget grew by about $256 million, or 15 percent.
The county and Prosecutor’s Office agreed late Monday to settle litigation in exchange for the Prosecutor’s Office receiving about $1.3 million more than the administration had recommended, Commission Chairman Gary Woronchak (D-13th District) said. The Prosecutor’s Office had an adopted budget of about $36.9 million for 2013-14 and was asking for nearly $46.5 million. For 2014-15, it will receive about to $40.7 million.
As part of the settlement, which the commission approved Thursday by a 12-1 vote, the Prosecutor’s Office, operating in deficit spending in 2013-14, agreed to spend within its budget, but can ask for budget increases from the commission during the fiscal year. The roughly $1.3 million will come from the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund operated by the Treasurer’s Office.
The county plans to hire consultants to recommend efficiencies, along with a to-be-determined number of assistant prosecuting attorneys.
The commission’s Committee on Ways and Means held hearings over the span of nearly a month to deliberate the budget on a department-by-department basis.
“I’m pleased with the hard work from our committee members and approving of a status quo budget that includes some meaningful changes for the county,” said Commissioner Laura Cox (R-9th District), Ways and Means chairwoman. “The process overall this year was much smoother than in recent years.”
During the departmental hearings, the Committee on Ways and Means also heard pleas from the Sheriff’s Office for additional funding. The Sheriff’s Office adopted budget for 2013-14 was about $143 million, and it requested about $181 million for 2014-15. The Sheriff’s Office will receive about $145.4 million.
The county will invest $2 million in jail repairs and about $225,000 in a three-month drug enforcement pilot program that the Sheriff’s Office said will generate revenue.
The overall budget marked a continued reduction in the county’s deficit.
The county had roughly a $97.5 million budget deficit late in the 2013-14 fiscal year, down from about $175 million at the end of 2012-13. A major factor in the reduction was the Treasurer’s Office agreeing in May to transfer $150 million from its Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund, much more than the original $82 million that had been pledged as part of the deficit elimination plan.