Budget will be focus of workshopGoodhue County commissioners will hear employees' ideas Tuesday about balancing the county's budget and successfully navigating through tough times.
By: Jen Cullen, The Republican Eagle
Goodhue County commissioners will hear employees' ideas Tuesday about balancing the county's budget and successfully navigating through tough times.
Commissioners will meet with more than 10 department heads to discuss goals - commissioners set theirs last week - and the coming year. Much of that conversation, Commissioner Richard Samuelson said, will fall back to the county's budget.
Staff say the county faces a projected $2.1 million deficit next year - assuming the state comes through with its semiannual state aid payments that have been targeted for cuts in the past.
Officials also will be limited by state-mandated tax levy caps.
Commissioners Fridaysaid they hope Tuesday's meeting generates some creative ways to deal with the deficit.
"The management team looks at these things through a different set of eyes," Commissioner Jim Bryant said. "They deal with these issues on a day to day basis."
Samuelson said the workshop also gives staff the chance to ask commissioners questions.
"There's always anxiety at the beginning of the year about what we commissioners will do or won't do," he said. "It's great that we do this workshop. We'll be real candid about everything hopefully."
Bryant and Samuelson said elected officials and county staff must continue providing necessary services with less money. The county has already eliminated programs - most notably Public Health Service's homecare program - and not filled positions to save money this year.
Goodhue County Administrator Scott Arneson told commissioners last week that some external agencies and programs the county is not required to fund may need to be cut.
"What's left to cut? What can we do?" Samuelson said. "I'm looking for ideas from our employees. I know they spend a lot of time thinking about this.
"It's always nice if we can get some cooperation. It works both ways of course. We all have to give a little."
Commissioners last week said the budget will be their No. 1 priority this year.
"We need everyone's ideas to get through this," Bryant said. "There are some innovative ways to do things out there."
The County Board/management team workshop will be 9:45 a.m. Tuesday at the Government Center information technology conference room.