Wayne County Commissioners today adopted a balanced $1.82 billion operating budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, with a pledge to look at ways to continue to attract and retain existing employees in the coming year.
It is considered a status quo budget with an increase of less than one-tenth percent over the previous year’s budget.
The budget is balanced for the eighth consecutive year, a point acknowledged by increases in the county’s bond ratings from major evaluators, with Fitch Ratings this month joining Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s in raising the county’s rating, a sign of the county’s ongoing stability.
“We have come a long way financially in recent years and I am pleased we will continue to fund and, in many ways expand, the programs and services county residents expect,” Commission Chair Alisha Bell (D-Detroit) said. “But there is still much work we need to do, particularly with regard to attracting and retaining valued employees.”
Toward that end, the commission is working with the county human resources department ways to fill the estimated 1,368 vacancies within the 4,055 positions included in the new budget, which takes effect Oct. 1. The task force will also look at ways to retain existing workers.
The budget includes $22.8 million for final work on the county’s new criminal justice complex, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year. It also includes a $7.5 million increase in the county prosecutor’s budget.
In addition, the new budget includes $395,000 to allow the clerk to hire additional election and security personnel for this November’s general election.
In other highlights:
The budget also includes a $2.5 million surplus, which can be used to offset any unexpected needs.
It also includes a new $150,000 contribution to the Western Wayne County Therapeutic Program, which provides services for an estimated 8,000 special needs individuals from 25 communities.
Funding for the county pension system continues, now reaching a 65 percent funded level in contrast to the 44 percent recorded in 2013.
As has been recent practice, the budget also includes a projected budget for 2023-24 to guide future spending.
The budget was adopted after presentations by 20 departments over eight meetings held this summer with representatives of the county executive’s office, county elected officials and department heads.
“This is a very good budget and it wouldn’t have been possible without cooperation from everyone as well as the incredible work put in by the commission’s financial staff,” said Commissioner Ilona Varga (D-Lincoln Park), chair of the commission’s Ways & Means Committee, which conducted the budget meetings.
“For me, this is a bittersweet time,” said Varga, who is retiring from the commission at the end of this year, “But I know this budget leaves the county in a very good position.”