There were a couple of "firsts" at the Vilas County board of supervisors meeting Tuesday night. For the first time, their regular board meeting was held at the Arbor Vitae town hall. And for the first time, they participated in a special information gathering session.
Nancy Anne Miller, head of UW-extension in Vilas county, facilitated the process, passing the microphone from one supervisor to the next to hear their feedback on goals for upcoming budgets.
After the meeting, Jason Hilger, Vilas county finance director, said it was a worthwhile exercise:
"...I was hoping to hear more about budget cuts because we have a $1.2 million dollar shortfall. We have a strong desire to keep the employees that we have, we have a strong desire to maintain our level of services. I heard a lot of great things from supervisors about the county. However we have some work to do this fall to work with the budget deficit...."
Hilger said Vilas county is in good shape, with a fund balance of more than seven million dollars to draw from. However, the preliminary budget for next year projects a deficit of one-point-two million dollars:
".....there may need to be some tough desicions. I don't think there's anything imminent, but by the way the budget looks and from what I heard today the general fund will take a hit in 2014....:"
Hilger organized the session to develop what he called a better road map to budgeting and to provide direction to the finance and budget committee.
(Thanks to Mary Jo Berner)