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Glacier County facing a budget crisis

They may have to shut down services in May and June
Posted at 2:40 PM, Feb 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-16 16:40:50-05

GREAT FALLS — Glacier County is in a crisis. Currently they are about five million dollars in debt to themselves and don't have the funds to keep operating.

“What will we do to make it through May and June?” said Glacier County Commissioner Chairman Michael J DesRosier.

Glacier County representatives have been seeing an ongoing issue with budgets and poor planning within the county since 2015, but they have said they are working on a plan and have other ways they hope to help the county through.

Chairman DesRosier also said, “We don’t know yet. We have some plans in place if it requires furloughs or layoffs ... plans in place to work with the job service to unemployment.”

The county has reduced their budget by 65 percent and it's hurting them.

The county has been considering shutting down certain departments for those two months to help with costs. One of those departments would be Glacier County Historical Museum in May and June which is their prime season.

“Shutting down is really not an option because that’s when our visitors come, this is a seasonal operation," said museum director Dennis Seglem

He added, “One staff member which is myself and even I’m reduced down to 32 hours a week.”

They have also been just trying to keep up with the basic needs. Seglem said since last November they have been having to pay their own utility expenses, which are normally covered by the county, as well as other costs to keep their doors open.

Seglem said, “The objects, as far as taking care of them, monitoring for pesticides controls, rodents and again a part of our mission to interpret the history to the public you have to be open.”

Some of the other departments that are in danger of closing for May and June would be the Weed Management Department as well as the Glacier County Library.

One of the largest issues is Indian Health services not paying for emergency services to Glacier county, which put them about three million dollars in debt.

Glacier county filed a law suit and is hoping to at least retrieve one million dollars from the dispute.