Heated discussion regarding Montcalm County budget

STANTON, Mich. –Both elected and city officials in Montcalm County have growing frustrations regarding the county’s budget approval for 2020.

At the county commission meeting Monday evening, a motion to pass the budget failed 5-3. Commissioners in favor of the delay say while they may not be able to change anything, they are going to take all the time they can to review the budget.

They have a month before a final budget is due in September.

The root of the problem is largely because they are still reeling after operating at a deficit from 2008-2016. 

In 2016, the county needed to make $1.5 million in cuts in order to balance the budget and they’ve had a hard time staying afloat since.

It affects things like the county clerk’s office, which only has two working employees. The county clerk said on election days, there is no one there to run the clerks office to answer questions.

That’s not the only department that is understaffed, but the county says there’s not much they can do about things.

“I know the department heads are frustrated. And elected officials are frustrated. But believe me they’re not any more frustrated than we are. There just simply isn’t enough money to go around in the general fund,” commissioner Patrick Carr said.

For the clerk’s office, that answer isn’t good enough. They say that at current staffing levels, they are simply spread too thin to do the demands of the job.

“I have worked understaffed in our office for four years. I don’t feel I am doing the community a service. I am here on my own accord. I am tired of running the floor downstairs. It’s very emotional,” Deputy Clerk Nan Hagerman said.

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