A new committee within the Wayne County Commission will aim to help solve the county's financial challenges.
Commission Chairman and Dearborn resident Gary Woronchak explained that the Special Committee on Efficiency & Accountability will do a thorough review of county operations to determine if cost-effective improvements can be made and to find if some areas need additional funding to perform their basic functions.
Commissioner Richard LeBlanc, D-Westland, was named chairman of the special committee. Commissioner Kevin McNamara, D-Belleville, will serve as vice chair. Other members include Commissioners Shannon Price, R-Canton, Martha Scott, D-Detroit, and Ilona Varga, D-Lincoln Park.
The county needs to pay down an accumulated deficit of around $160 million, as well as quelling county spending.
“Property tax revenues have fallen by tens of millions of dollars over the last several years as housing values fell across the county,” Woronchak said. “The drop was so dramatic over such a relatively short time that spending wasn’t, and maybe even couldn’t be curtailed quickly enough to keep pace.”
The Special Committee on Efficiency & Accountability will help the Wayne County Commission in this year’s budget process with a closer look at spending and structure of all departments.
“We need to look in greater detail than ever at how county operations are run,” Woronchak said, “we can’t just rely on past practice or even on budget hearing testimony from department heads. We need to make the budget decisions with more precise information. That’s what this special committee will provide."
The committee will also explore whether some departments are underfunded to the point where it inhibits their ability to perform necessary functions.
LeBlanc was elected to the Wayne County Commission in November after serving six years as a state representative, where he served on the House Appropriations Committee.
In remarks after being re-elected chairman of the Wayne County Commission, Woronchak said that ongoing financial problems are the biggest challenge facing the county, and added, “We owe it to the people of Wayne County to get our fiscal house in order—finally and once and for all.”