As efforts continue to stabilize Pulaski County’s finances, some county council members are calling for help from the county commissioners. During Tuesday’s commissioners meeting, Council Member Ken Boswell said that while the council sets the budget, there are several things that only the commissioners can do.
“We don’t manage the departments,” Boswell said. “We don’t set policy as for what benefits are or what expenditures are allowed and not allowed. The council can just cut budgets, but that’s not going to help the county.”
Commissioner Jerry Locke brought up a few cost-saving ideas, such as holding off on filling open positions in larger departments and encouraging employees to take part in online training instead of overnight conferences. But Locke also had an idea for bringing in revenue. “I think solar power,” he said. “I think that would be a good place to get added revenue.”
Commissioner Mike McClure felt that there was one county office that could be done away with, but other than that, there isn’t much room left to cut. “Everybody wants stuff, and everybody needs stuff,” McClure said. “The courts need stuff. I don’t think there’s that much fat in the county.”
Commissioner Kenny Becker pressed Boswell for a specific figure of what needs to be cut to balance the 2020 budget proposal. But Boswell argued that wouldn’t solve the overall problem, especially if the county eventually plans to ask state lawmakers to intervene. “You know what you need and what you don’t need,” Boswell told the commissioners. “We’re not trying to hit a number; we’re trying to hit the lowest number we can hit. So I would challenge the commissioners. I know it isn’t much time, but help me as a taxpayer and help the council as a working board with you, to come up with some proposals, some ideas.”
The county council will hold a public hearing on its 2020 budget proposal Monday at 6:00 p.m. EDT at the Pulaski County Highway Garage. You can hear more from Tuesday’s discussion between Boswell and the commissioners tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. EDT/noon CDT on Kankakee Valley Viewpoints on K99.3.