Sanilac Commissioners discuss financial shortfall


2020 Sanilac County Board of Commissioners, left to right, Gary Heberling, Joe O’Mara, Dan Dean, Joel Wyatt, Jr. and Bob Conley








(SANILAC COUNTY) – The Sanilac County Board of Commissioners were told to plan on financial shortages and the need to make budget amendments to try and cover shortfall for this fiscal year.

Administrator/Controller Tara Griffith told Commissioners Tuesday afternoon that the County is projecting a shortfall of between $620,000 and $720,000 dollars.

A large portion of the deficit comes from the federal bed rental program with the Sheriff Department where officials report a decline of up to $500,000 dollars is possible, due to less federal beds being used.

Griffith said there are normally 83 beds used on average for federal prisoners and currently, the program has an average of 63 rentals.

The decline is due to early release of some prisoners and the available space in other federal facilities.

Griffith said some of the shortfall could be made up by not making an additional jail debt payment, a savings of $180,000 dollars while another $285,000 dollars could be used from the Contingency fund.

In other Board news, Commissioners also discussed at length financial obligations of County agencies, namely the Drug Task Force who despite a millage for funding, does not pay what some Commissioners called their fair share.

Commissioner Joel Wyatt questioned why the DTF would not be held accountable for all of their costs while Commissioner Joe O’Mara said it is the County who incurs the cost of handling the majority of the administrative duties for the DTF, with payroll and accounting.

Commissioners Gary Heberling and Dan Dean implied some sort of financial arrangement had been made with the DTF previously, although they did not share details, other than saying it was a matter of dealing with personalities and meeting in middle ground as to cost of operating the department.