County Lays Off Employees Due To Budget Cuts 4-29-2011 - WNEM TV 5

County Lays Off Employees Due To Budget Cuts 4-29-2011

There’s just three more days until Mid-Michigan votes, and the Saginaw County public safety millage is one of the most closely watched issues to be decided.
Voters are being asked to approve a 1-mill property tax increase in support of sheriff's department services. The money would be used to keep the department at its current staffing levels. The average Saginaw County homeowner with a house valued at $85,000 would pay around $42 more per year.
Meanwhile, budget cuts unrelated to the millage are now taking effect.
"It’s very unfortunate,” said Saginaw County employee Erika Speace. “We don't want to see anybody lose their livelihood, and that's what it is for people."
Six of Speace’s fellow workers were let go on Friday, part of 15 positions trimmed in a dozen departments. The reason -- a million dollars in budget cuts. Nine of those positions are jobs that were unfilled as staff left.
Speace is a steward with the office of Professional Employees International Union. She said the cuts cast a pall over the county building.
"Yeah, people are pretty upset and disappointed that we're losing people," Speace said.
Another 35 other county workers, all with the sheriff's department, will be gone on Aug. 1 if a county safety millage isn't passed by voters next week.
"The money's just not there,” said Saginaw County controller Marc McGill. “Since 2008, the tax revenues haven't been there, we received less tax revenue in '09 than ‘08, less in '10 than '09, and less in '11 than we anticipate receiving in '12."
That's bad news for Erika Speace and other county workers. "It is very uneasy for most of us,” said Speace. “Because we're unsure of what future cuts could come, and who, and where, and when...so it's really unsettling."
Saginaw County has cut 135 jobs in the last 10 years.
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