The Pulaski County Council has agreed to spend up to another $10,000 to continue its fiscal planning process. Member Ken Boswell told the rest of the council Monday that the county has reached the limit of its initial agreement with Peters Municipal Consultants.
“Right now, with Peters, we’re at $24,000 in billable hours,” Boswell explained. “So for them to do any more work for the council, we have to approve more hours or more funding.”
There are still several things Boswell wants Peters to do, including analyzing the budgets to see where increases have been made in the past five years and why, as well as how employment has changed since the county’s 2008 workforce reduction. “Same thing with our benefits and stuff like that,” Boswell added, “putting costs together, figuring out what the true cost of each department is, looking at what we pay in benefits, what we pay in wages, and all, to understand what things actually cost and give us better numbers to work with, so at budget time, we’re not saying ‘Well, just cut something out,’ and then we turn around and we have to do something different later on.”
But Council President Jay Sullivan questioned whether the additional analysis is truly needed. “I’m not for it, necessarily, because we do have access to all that stuff now,” he said. “I don’t know that we have to hire somebody to do it.”
The extra money to pay Peters is expected to come out of the Community Development Commission’s Land Acquisition line item. The council is in the process of trying to stabilize the county’s finances, to avoid a projected $2.7 million deficit that’s expected to develop over the coming years.