County eying major budget cuts, tax increases and layoffs
Pulaski County officials are beginning the process of fixing a broken budget and the solutions are not pretty.
The commissioners and county council members listened as Jeff Peters, of Peters Municipal Consultants, spoke about the poor state of the county finances during a special joint session Monday evening.
Last year, the county hired Jeff Peters, of Peters Municipal Consultants, to review the county finances and to create a financial plan for the future. It was discovered that the county, towns, townships and libraries are losing money because of a levee tax freeze.
Peters again gave the officials a look at the last three years financially, the current state of the county finances and the projected state. Peters said the county has solid cash reserves on hand at this time but a trend of spending more money than bringing in has the county in a crunch.
He made several suggestions that the county can look at to fix the problem including making significant budget cuts, raising taxes and talking with the legislators regarding a special income tax. That special income tax will expire in 2020 and brings in about $1.5 million.
Councilwoman Kathi Thompson said she is not in favor of increasing the income tax.
Council president Jay Sullivan said the council is in discussion of what should happen next and believes the county is in good shape for 2019. He would like to see what the budget will look like if there is a tax increase and what will happen if legislators agree to continue the special income tax that pays for the jail.
Councilman Rudy DeSabatine said he has several suggestions regarding the different county departments and cutting the budgets.
Thompson made a motion that the council meet with department heads to talk about budget cuts before the regular budget hearings in September. Thompson’s motion was approved.