Marquette County

From the Portage Daily Register 11/15/11

The administrative coordinator and accounting director, respectively, were preparing for a decrease in state aid and a negative property value trend from the last three years. But without having to spare expenses by cutting personnel or programs, Miller and Jahns-Grams were able to present a balanced budget.

Despite all those cuts in state funding, Gov. Scott Walker was able to deliver something to the county that was critical in balancing the budget.”In Marquette County, we would not have been able to balance the budget without the budget-repair bill,” Miller said in a phone interview. “One of the things we would have had to look at is eliminating programs; eliminating personnel.

“That would have been a difficult task, he said, because the county is already running “near a barebones minimum.”The loss of more than $300,000 in state aid and grants would have put the county into a really tough spot, Miller said. A more than $28 million, or 1.75 percent, decrease in the county’s equalized property value to less than $1.6 billion also would have been crippling, he said.

Instead of having to lay off public workers and eliminating programs, county employees, except for those working for the sheriff and fire departments, will have to give up a little more of their paychecks toward health and retirement benefits to save the county a lot of money that will more than make up for those losses in aid.

Miller said the savings for employees paying 12 percent of their retirement benefits comes to $267,730. The 5.8 percent employees have to pay toward health insurance will save the county $200,999.Those elements, which were part of the budget-repair bill, add up to $468,729 that will help Marquette County balance its budget for 2012.