Commissioners hear employee budget suggestions

Morrison County Administrator Tim Houle presented the Morrison County Commissioners with employee budget suggestions at a planning meeting on July 29.

Houle assembled four groups of 10-12 county employees to brainstorm ideas for ways the county could reduce expenses or increase revenue during the current budget crunch.

“I intentionally asked them not to spend any time evaluating the ideas they proposed in order to maximize the number of ideas that we would provide,” Houle said. “The process we are going through right now is to evaluate which ideas have merit and which ones may not be as useful to us.”

The commissioners provided feedback on certain suggestions and will continue to consider them in the future.

“Our employees have a wide variety of specialized knowledge bases,” Houle said. “In addition, there is a wide diversity within the group as some have many years of experience and others have a fresh perspective from outside our organization.”

Employee suggestions ranged from “raising taxes” to “standardizing the duration setting for all light switches to go off at the same time” in government buildings.

All suggestions were examined, some closer than others. Overall, Houle feels the tough times will make the county government stronger.

“You cannot really judge the health of an organization by how well they get along when times are good,” he said. “You can only truly judge the health of an organization by how well they get along when times are tough. Times are, indeed, tough for us right now.”

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