County braces for end-of-the-year cuts in state aidWashington County recently approved its budget for 2009, but it will likely be making some adjustments to its 2008 budget, as many counties and cities across the state brace for a cut in state aid before the end of the year.
By: Hank Long, Woodbury Bulletin
Washington County recently approved its budget for 2009, but it will likely be making some adjustments to its 2008 budget, as many counties and cities across the state brace for a cut in state aid before the end of the year.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced last week that local government aid checks to counties and cities will be reduced by $110 million. About $44 million of that would have gone to counties.
As a result of the announcement, Washington County is bracing for a $1.5 million cut to its state aid check that is scheduled to be sent to the county on Friday, county administrator Jim Schug told commissioners at a Dec. 22 county board meeting.
“We were expecting a county program aid check of $3.2 million, but based on that reduction, the payment will instead be $1.8 million,” Schug said.
On Monday, Schug and deputy administrator Molly O’Rourke met with county department heads to discuss the affect the cut in state aid would have on this year’s and next year’s budgets.
Although the reduction makes up less than 1 percent of the county’s budget for 2008, it will impact several departments, including community corrections, human services and public health and environment departments, Schug told commissioners.
As a result of the anticipated state aid cuts, county department heads were instructed to put a hold on any vacant positions for further evaluation, indicating an informal hiring freeze.
More cuts to state aid are anticipated in 2009 and even 2010, Schug said, leading to the county to most likely make adjustments to its 2009 budget.