Board breaks down 2013-2014 budget

ESCANABA – As Delta County moves toward approving its budget for the 2013-14 fiscal year, a public hearing held Tuesday showed just how the county spends its money.

Revenue from property taxes accounts for the biggest bulk of the county’s general fund, according to Delta County Administrator Nora Viau, who also noted tax revenues have remained flat in recent years.

Property tax revenues were at approximately $3.8 million in 2001 and reached a high point in recent years of $6.1 million in 2009. The proposed property tax revenue for Delta County in 2013-14 amounts to approximately $5,550,649. All other revenue in the general fund is approximately $3,628,109.

“Property taxes amount to 64 percent of the total general fund expenditures, where other revenues is 36 percent,” said Viau.

Of all general fund expenses, 30 percent goes toward funding public safety, 26 percent to appropriations, 22 percent to the courts, 8 percent to appointed departments, 7 percent to elected departments and 7 percent to other expenses.

Sixty-two percent of the public safety budget goes toward sheriff’s department corrections expenses, 19 percent to the prosecutor’s office, 14 percent to sheriff’s administration, 2 percent toward the medical examiner, 2 percent toward emergency management, and 1 percent toward sheriff’s marine.

Within the elected official portion of the budget, the county clerk’s office accounts for 26 percent of funding, the treasury department 25 percent, board of commissioners 21 percent, register of deeds 15 percent, elections 13 percent, and the drain commissioner’s amount totaling 0 percent.

Within the court budget, 31 percent goes toward district court, 28 percent to friend of the court, 17 percent to probate court, 16 percent to circuit court, 8 percent to probate juvenile expenses, and a small percentage totaling 0 percent toward the jury commission.

Forty-six percent of the appointed department budget goes toward building maintenance, 38 percent to administration, 7 percent to Michigan State University Extension Office space, 7 percent to equalization, and 2 percent to veterans affairs.

The appropriations portion of the budget is allocated as follows: 22 percent to Public Health – Delta & Menominee Counties, 14 percent to the Delta County Airport, 14 percent to child care, 14 percent to debt retirement, 11 percent to Pathways Community Mental Health, 2 percent toward park commission, and all other appropriations under $50,000 totaling 23 percent.

The county’s 2013-14 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

During public comment as part of the budget hearing, the board heard from MSU Extension educator Julie Moberg, who spoke on the roles of her position, as some commissioners questioned whether her position duplicates other services provided in the community. Two others spoke on the impact and importance of MSUE’s Welcome Newborns Program.