MACOMB (WWJ) – Several key Macomb County programs may be shut down if the Board of Commissioners does not approve a budget before the start of the new fiscal year on Monday.
Speaking live on WWJ Newsradio 950 Saturday morning, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said a balanced budget was sent to the commission 90 days ago, but they have failed to pass it.
“The reality is, we met our obligation to get them (the commission) the balanced budget. The problem is that they have not met their obligation of passing a balanced budget. They have not passed a budget that meets these standards by law, that is the problem. So, it’s not that there is a budget battle, it’s that the board hasn’t met their obligation by law,” said Hackel.
Hackel said an ordinance including a special revenue funds budget was agreed upon on Thursday. But by Friday, the board apparently added six line items to the ordinance, left those spaces blank and therefore failed to properly approve the budget.
Hackel believes a few members of the commission are responsible for holding up the process, and their motives might be questionable.
“There are few on that board that are more interested in not just making appropriations, which is a very simple thing because they’ve got all the information on every penny that’s spent in this county, but the problem is there’s one or two of them that want some line items in there to give them more control after the appropriations. And that just can’t happen. That is not how county government runs, it’s not how state government runs.
“I think they’re looking to have a form of government that, I guess, mirrors that in Wayne County and that is not what we’re accepting here in Macomb County,” he said.
Hackel said unless the commissioners reconvene prior to Monday morning to adopt a budget, several unappropriated county operations will cease.
“We now found out that they’re having an emergency meeting today (Saturday) I believe at 10 a.m. to fix what they haven’t done. And if they don’t fix it, there are going to be services shut down by many of the pretty important organizations that provide services to the county,” he said.
And Hackel couldn’t stress enough the importance of those services that are now in jeopardy.
“We’re talking about the sheriff’s drug unit, we’re talking about marine patrols, the juvenile justice center, the friend of the court, the community of mental health, we’re talking about the department of roads. I mean, these are some serious issues that could be a problem,” he said.
Hackel, however, is optimistic that county leaders can come together and make a decisions that won’t force those services to shut down.
“I think most of them are going to sit down and go ‘Okay, wait a minute. We’ve been given some bad advice here. Lets make the proper appropriations and move forward so that we don’t have to shut down county government starting Monday.’ I can only be hopeful,” he said.
Stay with WWJ Newsradio 950 and CBSDetroit.com for continuing coverage.