Commission OKs $1.5B budget for Wayne Co.

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

Wayne County commissioners Thursday approved a $1.5 billion county budget for the 2016-17 fiscal year.

The county commission voted 12-2 to adopt the budget for the fiscal year, which begins Saturday. Commissioners Ray Basham, D-Taylor, and Diane Webb, D-Livonia, were the two votes against its approval.

The $1.5 billion budget compares with the 2015-16 fiscal year budget of $1.56 billion approved by the commission. The county budget for the 2014-15 fiscal year was approved at $1.68 billion.

Under the 2016-17 budget, more than $530 million is being allocated into the county’s general fund, which pays for government functions, including public safety and health and welfare services.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans submitted a proposed budget to the commission in July.

The commission’s Committee on Ways and Means held several hearings in which county department officials offered feedback. On Tuesday, the committee gave its recommendations on the budget to the commission’s Committee of the Whole. On Thursday morning, that committee forwarded the proposed budget to the commission for its final vote.

“I want to thank committee members, along with those commissioners who sat in on the meetings, commission staff and (County Executive) Evans’ administration for working together to frame this budget, which addresses various needs for Wayne County residents,” said Joseph Palamara, D-Grosse Ile Twp., chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means, in a statement Thursday.

“Importantly, the vote includes more than a doubling of the Wayne County General Fund contribution to the Meals on Wheels program servicing Wayne County seniors.”

He also said the approved budget, which also puts an emphasis on public safety, is hailed as another step in the county returning to financial stability.

“The commission again has put a great deal of effort into the budget process and its commitment in achieving prudent fiscal responsibility,” Palamara said.

“We continue to find ways to trim spending, while at the same time providing the necessary programs and services in an effort to make life better for Wayne County residents.”

Evans praised the commission for approving the budget.

“We are building a culture of competence and responsibility in Wayne County government. It permeates everything we do and stretches our available dollars,” the county executive said in a statement.

“This approach is increasing efficiency while providing better services. It is creating a county government our citizens can be proud of.

“I thank the Wayne County Commission for approving the proposed budget as another step in setting the foundation for the county’s long-term stability.”