Muskegon County 2018 Budget Cuts: Layoffs & Medical Facility Closing

Muskegon County 2018 Budget Cuts
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The Muskegon County Board of Commissioners has approved a large number of budget cuts. County officials need to deal with a financial crisis, and one way to do so is by cutting $2.9 million from the fiscal 2018 budget (starting July 1, 2017). The cost-saving measures include reducing the budgets at the county’s Child Care Fund, public health department, Sobriety Court, and public defender’s office. Some of the Muskegon budget cuts will also lead to layoffs.

2018 Budget Cuts, Layoffs: Muskegon County Departments Hit

Muskegon County, Michigan is being hit with massive budget cuts. The County Board of Commissioners approved budget cuts that will help plug a budget deficit and save the county $2.9 million.

The cost-saving measures include reducing the budgets at the county’s Child Care Fund, public health department, Sobriety Court, and public defender’s office. Many of the cuts are a result of the failure of a millage request (property tax rate) to support youth and family criminal justice services. A large majority of Muskegon County voters rejected the Youth-Family millage back in November.

Optimistic Muskegon County administrations said the adopted 2018 budget was designed under the assumption the millage would pass. The millage would have netted $6.0 million annually and supported a number of funds that draw around $12.0 million from the county’s general fund.

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But the millage didn’t pass, so Muskegon County has to cut $2.9 million from the 2018 budget. The county’s current spending model is unsustainable. Without changes, including spending cuts, the county’s general fund would be in the hole by $38.0 million by 2022.

As with any big budgetary cuts, the move will lead to job cuts in Muskegon County. Eleven positions are being permanently eliminated across a number of departments, including 60th District Court, the Muskegon County Department of Veterans Affairs, the public health department, and the Muskegon County Airport.

Eight of these positions are currently filled, but will be vacated in February 2018. Three positions are currently vacant, and will not be filled.

The layoffs include:

  • Two district court clerks
  • Two sobriety court case managers
  • A district court chief collections officer
  • The equal employment opportunity officer position at the VA
  • An administrative analyst working for the public health department
  • A disease intervention specialist working for the health department

Patrick Finnegan, the 60th Court Administrator, commented, “(Wednesday) was one of the toughest days I’ve had in my career as a district court administrator. Never have I had to inform people that their positions will be eliminated.”

These are not the only budget cuts that Muskegon County has faced in 2017. Back in June, Muskegon cuts its fire department budget by nearly $690,000. The move slashed the fire department’s budget from $4.0 million to around $3.3 million. The cuts are a result of the rising costs of pensions and health care.

Brookhaven Medical Facility to Close as Part of Muskegon County Budget Cuts in 2018

The Muskegon budgetary crisis also led to the closure of the Brookhaven Medical Facility. The 120-bed facility will shutter its doors after the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners announced a number of expenditure reductions.

The nursing home facility will close within the next 75 days, meaning Brookhaven will close no later than mid-February 2018.

The closure of Brookhaven Medical Facility comes as Muskegon County struggles with a budgetary crisis that was exacerbated by the failures of the county-wide millage.

The county’s 2018 budget planned for $12.6 million in expenses in Brookhaven with revenue of $11.3 million. It expected to have a 2018 deficit of $1.2 million and an accumulated deficit fund balance of $8.7 million.

County Administrator Mark Eisenbarth said the closure of the Brookhaven nursing home was prompted by “continuing changes in healthcare” and “the overall growing financial hardships of the facility.”

The Brookhaven Medical Facility employs nearly 100 people.

 

Sources

2017-18 Proposed Budget & Quarterly Reforecast,” City of Muskegon, Michigan, last accessed December 4, 2017.

Layoffs among $2.9M in cuts to Muskegon County 2018 budget,” mLIVE, December 3, 2017.

City of Muskegon Council Meeting,” Facebook, June 27, 2017.

Brookhaven Medical Facility to close amid county budget crisis,” mLIVE, November 28, 2017.

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