[Audio] Pine County Forced to Cut More than “Paperclips and Pencils”
The clock is winding down and the Pine County Board is still trying to figure out what to do with the budget. The board agreed, Tuesday, to sit down again with department heads to figure out where to cut expenditures because they are anticipating reductions in program aid from the state.
The county is owed $650,000 in program aid and another $700,000 in Market Value Credits. Interim County Coordinator Mark LeBrun expects a 10 to 25 percent cut in these payments, money which the county already spent.
The County is also expecting $1.5 million in program aid for 2009. LeBrun says it is likely all of this money will be taken away due the Minnesota’s budget shortfall. County Chair Steve Hallan says the county is going to have to consider significant cuts.
Minnesota’s over $5-billion shortfall and the entire state of the economy was the main reason commissioner Doug Carlson voted against a raise in commissioners salaries and per diem, which was discussed at Tuesday’s board meeting.
The board voted 4-1 to keep salaries and per diem at the current rates, instead of a three percent increase. The vote also sets mileage at $.505 or the federal level, whichever is lower.
Carlson says he will vote for an increase of commissioners pay in the future, but noted that now is not the time.
Hallan gave the one vote in favor of the changes. He says since the county no longer has a full time coordinator, commissioners are doing more, and says they should be compensated for their efforts.
Salary for Pine County Commissioners for 2009: $21,208.00
Per Diem Rate per Meeting for 2009: $75.00
Other County Commissioners Pay (Numbers from Star Tribune)
The board will revist the budget at a special meeting on December 30th in Pine City at the courthouse.