Guardians of the Budget
Located squarely at the intersection of Macomb County Government and the Public is the Board of Commissioners.
The Board’s duties include ordinance, resolution and policy-making. But perhaps the biggest - and most daunting - duty is appropriating funds and setting the budget for all Macomb County departments. Commissioners take this task, as well as reviewing all county contracts, seriously.
Board of Commissioners’ meetings provide the only regular opportunity for the public to observe the county officials they elect in action, and to provide input at the meetings at which decisions that directly affect them are made.
Macomb County budgets have been adopted by the County’s legislative body for nearly two centuries. These public, elected bodies have long been charged with diligently overseeing and allocating taxpayer dollars. The current Board of Commissioners took on that mantle of leadership when they took their oath of office in early 2019. This oath made them the current Guardians of the Budget.
Being charged with the fiscal oversight of the County budget means the Board is committed to protecting taxpayer dollars and ensuring they are allocated efficiently and where needed. Additionally, being responsible Guardians of the Budget means:
Continuous engagement on the approved County budget
- All contracts above $35,000 and budget amendments must be approved by the Board
- The Board reviews quarterly financial reports
Thorough review of proposed budget
- At least 13 public meetings during “budget season”
- Open, public dialogues with each department to learn about their priorities, needs and how the budget can support that in a fiscally responsible manner
Value public and employee input
- Opportunities to provide input and ask questions at public meetings are available
- Two opportunities for the public to speak at each meeting
- Individuals can access past meetings on YouTube and follow-up with questions and comments on the Board’s social media pages
- Commissioners and staff can regularly be accessed via email and phone calls
Ensuring a Future
- The Board’s recent adoption of fund balance and capital improvement policies, allow for long-term, fiscally responsible oversight
- Fund Balance Policy: Minimum level of unrestricted general fund balance shall be maintained at a range of 15-20 percent; this range is in line with national government accounting standards.
- Capital Improvement Policy: funding approach that stabilizes what monies are available for capital projects, enabling the County to better plan for project implementation and completion.
- Members of the Board also serve as representatives on the boards which oversee retiree health care and overall retiree benefit investments
Advocating for Vulnerable Populations
- The Board of Commissioners supports the Martha T. Berry Medical Facility through a Joint Operating Agreement with the Human Services Board, allow it to be a county facility so it can best serve a vulnerable population
- The Board appoints fitting members of the public to serve on Boards and Commissions that oversee policies that directly affect varying vulnerable populations
- Community Mental Health Services Board
- Veterans Affairs Commission
- Human Services Board
- Substance Use Disorder Oversight Policy Board
As the Board of Commissioners embarks on its 2020 Budget Review season, commissioners remain committed to ensuring a transparent process, with the ultimate outcome being one that best serves the citizens. The budget review process continues to evolve and this year we again are committed to improving our process. Our continuous strive for improvement will allow us to further close the gap of our growing diverse population but open avenues for even greater transparency.