County budget work for fiscal year 2013-14 continues

ESCANABA – Budget work for fiscal year 2013-14 continues for Delta County officials. Members of the Delta County Board of Commissioners met with probate court officials earlier this week to discuss the department’s needs for the coming fiscal year.

Probate Judge Robert Goebel Jr. and Juvenile Agent Perry Lund met with the board to discuss the department’s budget requests and provide an update on their department and how they have been saving money.

“Perry Lund has been involved for close to three years now on a lot of litigation involving Title IV funding and administrative rates,” said Goebel. “That’s all come out very successfully. We’ve won every case. The state is now no longer trying to impose the $37 a day administrative rate for every child we have in foster care and they’re no longer trying to disqualify us from our federal funding thanks to Perry, who has put a tremendous amount of work and research into it.”

According to Lund, Title IV-E funding is a combination of federal and state funding used for foster care placement of children, usually due to cases of neglect or abuse. Once a case becomes Title IV-E qualified, they are not required to take any money from the county’s child care fund. Lund said as a court, they want as many cases as possible to be Title IV-E qualified to save taxpayer money.

By doing so, the department has saved the county roughly $31,000 per month, due to Title IV-E qualified cases.

Lund also said they are no longer paying administrative fees for children in foster care, which saves approximately $13,500 a year.

“We’re probably one of the very, very few that have challenged this and are not paying that administrative rate,” he said.

As for the budget, Goebel noted Probate Court may be short in three line items – transcripts, office supplies, and printing.

“We’re using a lot of transcripts money but it’s something I don’t really have any control over,” he said.

Goebel requested increasing the line item by $2,000 – from $3,500 to $5,500.

“Under office supplies, we buy as much as we can through the child care fund because we can get half back, but some stuff we can’t charge into the child care fund, like court rules,” said Goebel.

To make up for this, he suggested adding $700 to the current $1,000 office supplies budget, so the department can purchase five court rule books that cost approximately $100 apiece.

Goebel also requested an additional $550 in printing costs, of which currently $450 is allocated.

The next county budget hearing is scheduled for May 30 at 3:30 p.m. in room 222 of the county courthouse.