Gladwin slashes budget, now Clare’s turn

November 7, 2011

If the Clare County Board of Commissioners truly wants to get the County budget in order, they need to look no further than a stone’s throw down M-61. Gladwin County is facing the same budget crisis and has already drawn first blood.

As of Monday, October 31, several departments including the Board of Commissioners, the Treasurer’s office, Register of Deeds, the Prosecutor, the Zoning Department, Construction Codes, Drains, Equalization, and Animal Control are now only open four days- Monday through Thursday.

Commissioners expect the Friday closings to save the county over nearly $200,000. That’s on top of a round of cuts that occurred a few months ago totaling $230,000.

Gladwin has decided to keep the County Clerk’s office open on Friday, because that is typically a busy day for them. The District and Circuit court offices will remain open as well- not because the County wants them open but because the State mandates a five-day work week for the courts.

“If the county could close the courthouse on Friday, we would see tremendous savings,” said Board of Commissioners Chairman Josh Reid. “Snowplowing wouldn’t have to be done until Monday; lights could be turned off for the long weekend…..”

Another savings of over $118,000 annually was realized by Gladwin, when they shopped their health insurance and realized the savings by moving to Blue Care Network from their current provider.

Clare County Board of Commission Chairman Don David has made the comment, “I kind of feel like I’m officiating over the demise of Clare County, because it’s really unbelievable what we’re up against.”

By that David supposedly means the combination of lower taxable values and the rollbacks that lessen the amount of millage money the County receives. In some cases values have decreased by 30 percent. That not only hurts the homeowner, but taxing authorities as well.

Well I would humbly suggest, it’s nothing more than what private businesses have to deal with when their revenues are greater than their expenses- you have to slash expenses, and you have to do it quickly or your firm will likely go bankrupt.

Gladwin County realized that. Clare County or at least Don David realizes it. Now it’s time to act. Gladwin has provided the template. Clare needs to follow suit.

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