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| 2 min read | from Washtenaw Co Board of Commissioners |

At their meeting last evening, the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners amended and approved the County’s $300 Million 2020 budget to provide additional funding to specific programming, as well as to provide additional funding to some of the non-general fund departments to sustain or enhance programming for the residents of Washtenaw County. 

Chair of Ways & Means Katie Scott states, “Through careful financial stewardship, we were able increase the budget to public health, OCED, and CMH from our undesignated allocation. We have seen the federal government gut funding for programs that focus on health and human services, like Title X funding. I am so pleased we can send more money to public health to help them with providing services for women’s and family health. It’s not only my priority, but the board’s priority as well to make sure people in Washtenaw County are taken care of. This was an important step in realizing that goal and I look forward to finding more ways we can continue increased funding that puts people first.”

Through a series of conversations at the meeting, the Board of Commissioners ultimately made structural adjustments for 2020, to provide additional funding as follows:

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            Community Mental Health                                            + $ 50,000

            Health Department                                                        + $300,000

            Office of Community & Economic Development            + $125,000

The newly seated Youth Commission received an additional $25,000 in structural, annual allocation. 

“Our 2020 Washtenaw County Budget shifts funding to human services to ensure we are better serving the needs of our residents”, said Board Chair Jason Morgan. “When this Board took office in January, we committed to being boldly progressive, pragmatic and thoughtful, and I believe this budget reflects our shifting priorities and is only the beginning. By investing in community mental health, public health and community services through economic and community development, we are prioritizing those who are most in need in our community. We are also investing in our youth by providing structural (ongoing) funding for the Washtenaw County Youth Commission and supporting our rural residents by investing in advancing the expansion of broadband internet services, among many critical priorities reflected in this budget.”

The offset was garnered through the elimination of a vacant position as well as other expense reduction in the support services departments.  County Administrator Gregory Dill assured the Board that he was fully supportive of the budget adjustment in order to provide additional resources for those departments who serve our most underserved residents and assured the commissioners that the cuts would not impose an unnecessary hardship on the affected departments. 

One of the items built into the 2020 budget is the Board’s continued commitment to Broadband equity in Washtenaw County by 2022. Sixteen of the county’s rural townships lack reliable access to the internet, leaving the residents of those communities with disparities in education, commerce, real estate values and the ability to utilize medical monitoring devices.

Jason Maciejewski, Commissioner representing District 1 states, “The Broadband Task Force will be able to collect and compile critical data in preparation for future grant applications that would allow broadband internet service to be available throughout the county.  A lack of internet service impacts education, economic development and health care opportunities.”

District 3 Commissioner Shannon Beeman added, “Including funding for the Broadband Task force solidifies our commitment as a Board to ensure all Washtenaw County residents have access to the resources necessary to succeed.  From education to economic development, access to high-speed internet is critical for the prosperity of our rural townships.” 

Washtenaw County has created multi-year budgets since 1993 and began budgeting on a quadrennial basis in 2014.  Reaffirmations of multi-year budgets are required to be in compliance with the legal requirement for an annual budget adoption, and to update the budget for any significant changes.  The County monitors the budget on a monthly basis with quarterly updates provided to the Board of Commissioners throughout the year.  Prior to the adoption of a budget, a public hearing is held, therein allowing members of the community to share their thoughts on the county’s allocation of resources and expenditures. 

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