REED CITY — The Osceola County Board of Commissioners has scheduled a public hearing on the fiscal year 2020 budget proposal for 9:15 a.m., Tuesday, Nov. 5, in the Board of Commissioners room on the second floor of the main courthouse, 301 West Upton Ave., Reed City.

The purpose of the hearing is to get public input regarding a property tax millage rate increase to be levied to support the proposed budget.

A copy of the proposed budget is available for viewing on the county website, osceola-county.org, or in print at the county clerk's office.

The county was facing a deficit of more than $1.3 million for fiscal year 2020, and discussing the possibility of personnel cuts.

County coordinator Susan Vander Pol told the board at a budget meeting earlier this month they would need to look at capital expenditures and the possibility of eliminating non-essential personnel, as well as new revenue streams.

"Long-term, we are going to have to figure out how to generate more revenue, or we're going to have to start cutting services," commissioner Mark Gregory said. "That's the long and the short of it, because we can't continue to balance the budget providing the services we do with the income that we make."

Balancing the 2020 budget required increasing fees for services, across-the-board cuts for county departments funded through the general fund, using $363,000 from the delinquent tax fund fees and interest, and using $734,045 from the unreserved fund balance.

This will leave the fund balance at a level the commissioners are not comfortable with going forward, County Coordinator Susan Vander Pol said.

To avoid having to continue to use the fund balance in the future, the board is looking at an increase in the property tax millage rate from 6.0435 mills to 6.75 mills, the maximum they are allowed to levy, and increasing the road patrol millage from 1 mill to 2 mills, along with other possible revenue-producing and expenditure-reducing measures.