With uncertainty lingering over future revenue, the Wyoming County Commission is watching its pennies.
“We’re in belt tightening mode,” said Commission President Jason Mullins.
Since Cliffs Natural Resources issued a WARN notice about its Pinnacle Mine, the county’s biggest, in late June, the commission has had to eliminate spending on non-essentials. The mine would be idled on August 25 if economic conditions for coal do not improve.
“We try to do things responsibly,” Mullins remarked.
The commission is spending only on essentials currently.
“You have to meet the payroll for the people who work at the courthouse, the people who take the taxes, humane officers,” Mullins noted. “Most of the budget is accounted for and goes for things like that.
“We’re at a point of just working on what we have to,” he commented. “You have to make sure that trash is carried off and that people have water in their homes.”
A case in point is Brenton, where a water pump is being replaced.
“You’ve go 140 customers there who are without water,” Mullins said. “Those are the kinds of projects the county is obligated to do.”
The commission approved the expenditure of $1335 to replace a pump for the Brenton PSD at its meeting last week.
“There are water projects where the commission provides seed money or matching money, and we will continue to do that,” stated Mullins.
The commission has helped fire departments to acquire new trucks over the years.
“They tall take good care of their trucks and most of them look like new,” Mullins pointed out. ” But I’ve made it clear that that there’s going to be a time when we can’t afford it and they understand it.
“I’ve told them they need to take care of what they have,” he added.
He said the commission would still help provide funds for essential equipment such as the Jaws of Life. “You have to have that,” he noted.
Continuing to provide services that are currently offered will be the priority, Mullins indicated.
Non-essentials won’t be funded.
“There are groups in the county that we like to help who work on beautification projects or work on community parks,” Mullins explained. “It’s tough at this time (to fund those) when there are water pumps that are down.”
“The concerns are realistic and real,” said Mullins. “We’re preparing (for what may happen) because we don’t ever want to cut services.”