The Monroe County Council held its last day of budget hearings September 19th. The Council continued to push departments to cut back on spending next year.
At the beginning of the final hearing, County Treasurer Cathy Smith asked for permission to hire a fifth full-time employee for her office.
“Frankly we have a lot of new work and have our hands full,” Smith said, “The only way we can keep a balanced budget with the new requirements is if we cut an employee.”
Although Smith said the fifth position was necessary, due partly to new state and county laws that require more work from her office, Council members said it seemed the office would manage with less staff.
Council member Rick Dietz asked how Smith would handle the new work.
“We’d have to have someone part-time to be able to handle cash,” Smith said, “We have to be very diligent about taking money correctly, and the only way we can do it is have that part-time personnel.”
The Council agreed to budget an extra $1,500 to help the office pay part-time staff.
Later in the hearing, the Council debated whether to add another $10,000 to its community grant service program, which was recently renamed in honor of former Council member Sophia Travis.
Council member Cheryl Munson said it was important to increase the budget each year. “I support this proposal because I think it’s important to increase the community service funding every year, which it has not,” Munson said, “It hasn’t kept pace with the yearly increases in the county’s growth rate. Our county grows at a consistent rate than the state does.”
The Council later approved the increase despite opposition from members Ryan Langley and Marty Hawk. At the end of the hearings, the County still had a projected budget deficit of $316,000.