Budget deal restores millions that aid basic county services

Legislative action on Wednesday to restore approximately $60 million in vetoed state funding for key county services was encouraging, said MAC’s executive director.

“It’s late and coming after a great deal of stress for our members,” said Stephan Currie, executive director of the Michigan Association of Counties, “but the supplemental spending bills agreed to this week restore the vital funding for our members. We look forward to final passage in the Legislature and Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s signature – and we applaud her and legislative leaders for finding a compromise that puts people over politics.”

 The deal announced Dec. 3 will make modifications to the legislative budget process and the governor’s use of the State Administrative Board. Whitmer’s use of that board in the fall had been the key sticking point in resolving the budget impasse arising out of 147 line-item vetoes that, among other things, struck down an array of key county funds.

Now to be restored in new spending bills are:

  • $27.4 million in PILT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) for local governments
  • $14.8 million in county jail reimbursements for the housing of state prisoners
  • $13.1 million to aid Secondary Road Patrol services by county sheriffs
  • $4 million in grant money for veteran services
  • $3.5 million in payments for foster care services provided by counties
  • $400,000 in community corrections funds

The spending bills raced through legislative votes on Dec. 3 but cannot be finalized until next week.

The vetoes and subsequent stalemate had forced counties to begin identifying service cutbacks and layoff targets to balance their fiscal 2020 budgets, as most counties start their budget years on Jan. 1, 2020.

“The focus today is on getting this deal done and helping our members ensure uninterrupted delivery of public safety, social welfare and other basic services,” Currie said.

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