Saginaw County commissioners order hiring freeze to balance budget

The â??now hiringâ?? sign is coming down in Saginaw County as commissioners close a million dollar budget gap.

â??Itâ??s really a slow down, let's look at our operation, says Robert Belleman, Saginaw County controller. â??Llet's see if we can reduce the number of personnel doing jobs,â?? he adds.

The hold on hiring is in place until September 2014 as county officials dip in to the reserve fund to keep afloat.

â??Weâ??ll be spending down $977,000 of non-recurring revenue,â?? says Michael Hanley, a Saginaw County commissioner.

The freeze and reserve funds staving off public safety cuts after commissioners recommended cutting positions in the sheriff's and county prosecutor's office.

â??Well, obviously public safety is number one priority for us and we're going to do our best to continue to not cut public safety in the years ahead,â?? says Hanley.

â??It's very important not to jeopardize public safety by doing away with any sheriff's positions or prosecutor positions,â?? says John McColgan, Jr., prosecuting attorney of Saginaw County. â??We have a bad crime problem here as the stats just came out the other day."

Officials say the stoppage is necessary to prevent future use of reserve money.

â??This year was the largest use of reserves so we're trying to wane ourselves off of its use,â?? say Belleman.

The county now has nearly $14 million left for a rainy day but it's not money they want to use.

â??We never want to lose that,â?? says Hanley. â??About half the counties in the state don't have one of those,â?? he adds.