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Branch County May Have To Cut Personnel To Balance 2013 Budget


COLDWATER (WTVB) - Branch County government’s projected budget deficit for 2013 has been reduced to three-quarters of a million dollars. However, County Commissioners heard yesterday there’s hardly anywhere else to make cuts, except for employees. Back at the end of August when the first draft of the general fund budget was presented, there was a 2.6 million dollar gap between proposed expenditures and anticipated revenues. Finance Committee Chairman Commissioner Rod Olney said department heads have been advised there’s very little wiggle room to further rollback spending. Olney said generally, personnel takes up 75% of the budgets and in Branch County, it’s 80% and as high as 90% for some departments. A major factor moving forward in determining possible job losses will be the outcome of the county’s November ballot proposal for three quarters of a mill to fund the Sheriff’s Department Secondary Road Patrol. County officials have stressed that if the tax hike passes, those monies can be earmarked only for the road patrol positions.