(03/25/14) - Road crews have been busy patching pot holes for the last few
weeks, and they will get busier as the weather warms up.
Saginaw County Road Commission officials will be also busy. They're trying to find a way to do all the work and eliminate a budget deficit.
Last week, we reported layoffs and furlough days are possible.
At the Road Commission's board meeting Tuesday, employees presented some of their own ideas on how to cut into the budget deficit.
The hot topic at the Saginaw County Road Commission meeting - a million dollar budget shortfall, mainly due to this harsh winter. The deficit is still growing as winter is still holding on, and the figures don't include projected costs for November and December of this year.
The state is helping with $800,000 for road maintenance.
"We still have a six or $700,000 problem we have to correct," said Todd Hare, chairman of the Saginaw County Road Commission.
Hare says layoffs and furlough days are options.
"I would hope we can avoid those. We would rather not to do that, that would just impact the service to the public," he said.
Elmer Shepherd is a union road commission employee, part of a group that submitted a list of other ways to cut the budget without laying off workers.
"There is a lot of work to be done out there," he said.
"These are ways from all the members of the union, the men and women who do the work, we see how the money is spent," said Scott Peters.
Their suggestions include a freeze on buying equipment and limiting overtime. The group also takes aim at a management-only pension plan. It's now closed, but Peters believes it is still adding to the budget woes.
"What common sense cuts they can make, and that is one of the things on the list that is a very expensive item," he said.
Hare says the union's ideas will be looked at.
"Cutting as much as we can for this hopefully one year and not reduce any employees from the staff," he said.
Hare says that extra $800,000 from the state gives the road commission a little extra time to figure out how to cut that deficit.
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