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Kalamazoo County Administrators talk about the state of the county
KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) – On Monday the ‘State of the County’ report was released and Kalamazoo County administrators are showing what’s working and what isn’t over the last year.
They say they are doing better than most counties financially but are looking at ways of combining services to continue to cut costs.
As part of the presentation Monday we heard how consolidation is one way where Kalamazoo County is really looking to save money, particularly in the areas of transportation and a 911 call center.
Kalamazoo County administrators say they’ve cut back to a no-frills, bare-bones way of providing services and doing that has kept them out of debt.
“Listening to the 82 counties that are struggling maintaining services and knowing we’re now doing that makes my job a lot easier,” said Kalamazoo County Commissioner Michael Seals.
In Monday’s presentation Commission Chairman David Maturen said tax revenue is slowly coming back, but they are still looking at ways to cut costs.
That’s happening through consolidating some services, bussing will soon be countywide as one agency, and combining 911 service for Portage, WMU, Kalamazoo and the county is also moving forward after years of talking about the possibility.
“See if it makes sense, it has to make sense to do that,” said Maturen. “It’s been talked about for a long time, hopefully that will come to fruition.”
Commissioners say the biggest financial threat is public safety salaries. Deputies are currently in negotiations for a new contract and commissioners say they make an average of $40,000 more than other county employees.
At the presentation we also heard about the cost of the jail. The county spent around $23 million to build the jail. Now the issue is paying to staff it.