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Commissoner speaks out against 2014 Branch County budget plan

COLDWATER, MI (WTVB) - No one from the community spoke at yesterday’s county commission public hearing on Branch County’s general fund budget for 2014 but one Commissioner left no doubt that he’s not in favor of some parts of the spending plan. Second District Commissioner Dale Swift of Bronson said he feels the budget falls short of the needed funding for the Sheriff’s Department to provide adequate public safety to the people of the county. Swift also says the same regarding funding for MSU Extension, especially for youth services.

Road patrol monies for the Sheriff’s Department were drastically cut at the beginning of this year with the patrol slack being taken up with the assistance of the Michigan State Police. Swift believes the county has adequate reserve funding for the sheriff’s department and MSU Extension and can use it without jeopardizing the county’s reserve funds.

In order to balance next year’s budget and erase a projected million dollar deficit, the county has to use $550,000 from their rainy day fund and $450,000 from the delinquent tax fund. Final adoption of the 2014 budget is slated for the Board’s second December meeting at the end of the month.