Eau Claire County is the thirteenth largest in the state, but has one of the lowest tax levies. Budget committee members say their frugal history is hurting them under state spending caps.
There is no possibility of adding new programs or employees in the county for 2006 because the budget is already $1.6 million short. In fact, county departments will be forced to make cuts.
The budget committee chair says after years of budget shortfalls, community services are going to be affected. "Even more trimming around there, that's not at a point that can be done anymore so there a lot of services that are going to start being impacted now," says Gerald Wilkie.
The budget committee started meeting with each individual department Wednesday afternoon to discuss the administrator's recommendations, which include $450,000 in additional cuts to the Department of Human Services and more than $300,000 in cuts to the sheriff's department.
There is a survey on the county's website that allows residents to let county officials know services they value in Eau Claire County. To file your comments, visit the site at http://www.co.eau-claire.wi.us/