09/11/2019- Menominee County’s new budget is in place and it’s likely to result in some significant changes to one department. The county’s Board of Commissioners approved the 2019-2020 budget Tuesday night. A public hearing before the board meeting offered a platform for residents to weigh in on the document and many sounded off on the proposed $25000 cut to the county’s library system. Karen Kovac of Wallace calls the move arbitrary and unfair and asked the board to reconsider.
“I’m asking you not to cut the $25000, just for a year, and give everybody- the library board, the county board, citizens like myself- time to find the win-win solution. We can do this. Surely you can find, for one year, $25000 in a budget of 8.89-million and some change…The cut was too selective, too steep, and too sudden to be worth of any sense of foresight on your part and responsibilities toward the county.”
Even with this funding cut, however, the county is still facing a $140000 structural deficit and County Administrator Jason Carviou stresses that while they are financially stable with a three-point-five million-dollar fund balance now, the county needs to start thinking long-term.
“Economic development in Menominee County has been stagnant. We haven’t raised revenue in 38 years and we’ve just sort of taken a back-seat approach of ‘things are they way they are and we’re happy with where that is today.’ We have the potential for growth. We have potential for economic development. We have potential for the citizens of this community and this county, but it’s going to be difficult getting there. We’re going to have some difficult years.”
A proposed amendment to restore the library funding to its previous level was defeated before the budget as a whole went to vote and it’s not certain yet just how those cuts will impact the library system. The Menominee County budget was approved on a 7-to-2 vote.