Pulaski County Makes Cuts in 2016 Preparations

Pulaski County CourthousePulaski County had to implement a few financial maneuvers to balance its 2016 fiscal year budget.

During last night’s meeting, the County Council made several non-binding budget decisions. At their September 2nd meeting, the County Council was under the impression they balanced their budget with the use of Rainy Day Funds.

Board member Roger Querry says using that fund may not have been appropriate.

“We were told the state would allow it,” says Querry. “We were not told that we had to cut out of existing budgets another $400-thousand, and then appropriate that amount out of the Rainy Day Fund.”

The recommendation to change their approach comes courtesy of the Department of Local Government Finance.

Pulaski County has worked to slash about $2-million from their budget since the process began. To trim an extra $400-thousand, however, required Pulaski County to cut their liability insurance. The intent is to simply use the maneuver to balance the budget, paying the expense after January 1st.

Apart from balancing the General Fund, more than $36-thousand was also expected to be cut from the operation of Arens field. Board member Jay Sullivan says it’s becoming difficult to keep it operating.

“I guess it’s a good thing that we keep our liability insurance, then,” says Sullivan. “Because we have planes coming in there without anybody there because we can’t pay anybody there. They can’t plow the snow, because there’s no money to plow the snow. We don’t have any lights because we can’t pay the electric bill. I mean, how do they expect us to keep the place open?”

The County Council agreed to remove all operating expenses, leaving only enough for wages and PERF benefits for the employee working at the airport in the budget. The employees’ salary was also cut by $300 to balance the fund.

The County Council approved the non-binding budget.