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Budget approval continues county's progress

Wayne County enters its new budget year with a balanced $1.45 billion budget that continues progress made last year in reestablishing the county's financial stability.

"There are still challenges that remain for us, but we have balanced this budget without cutting any of the services county residents expect and depend upon," Commission Vice-Chair Alisha Bell said.

"We have even been able to expand funding in some key areas."

One of those areas is the county's Meals on Wheels program for homebound senior citizens. Continuing on the efforts made last year, the program will see a budget increase to ensure continuation of the program many seniors depend upon.

The 2017-18 fiscal year budget also represents a reduction from the $1.56 billion budget approved last year.

The county has also trimmed spending by roughly $185 million over the past four years. In addition, it has eliminated its structural deficit, which once ran as high as $52 million a year, nearly eliminated $88 million in accumulated debt, and increased funding for the county pension system.

Commissioner Bell serves as vice-chair of the Commission's Committee on Ways and Means, which held several hearings this summer on the budget. At those hearings, each county department head presented a proposed budget for their respective department to the committee members.

The committee then gave recommendations to the Commission's Committee of the Whole, which provided further review before forwarding the budget to the full Commission for a final vote.

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