Positive Yearly Budget Outlook for Grand Traverse County Officials

“We’ve been working on the budget for quite a while,” says County Administrator, Tom Menzel.

The end of a year and before the New Year begins, Grand Traverse County needs to approve a budget.

Tonight the County Commission started going through the budget proposed for 2017.   

Each year each county department submits a budget, hoping the county will fund them at the levels they request.

County administrators hoped to present the budget in November, but several pages were deleted.

That delayed the process.

Wednesday night, the county board of commissioners met and got their first look at the budget.

In continuing coverage, 9 and 10’s Megan Atwood and photojournalist John Harrington talked to the county administrator and commissioners about getting the job done.

After taking a look at this budget for the first time, commissioners say they have a positive outlook.

“We’re not using our savings to balance the budget and we are also not reducing or losing any employees or losing any services and we are doing it on time, on budget,” says Dr. Dan Lathrop, the Vice-Chair of County Board of Commissioners.

Grand Traverse County’s next budget won’t be like the last, after having to borrow half a million dollars from their reserves for 2016.

“The key is we’re going to be paying off our pension obligations and we’re not having any cuts in positions. We’re not adding any positions but we’re not laying anyone off, and we’re able to maintain those new costs that we have to deal with,” continues Menzel.

But the administrator and commissioners say it’s the department heads that made this budget happen.

“The staff and department heads have been very cooperative in knowing the financial situation we are in and being realistic in what they are asking for,” Menzel goes on to say.

Finance Director, Jody Lundquist spoke at Wednesday night’s meeting, giving a presentation on the budget. She says, “They’ve done tremendous work in the review again with the role of conservatism and looking at what is available to spend.”

“I think our department heads have the wisdom to help come to the counties aid,” continues Dr. Lathrop.

The commission has until December 31st to approve the budget, but they hope to have it approved by December 14th.