Annual budget and block-grant hearings set

FLINT TWP. — Residents who want a say about how the township spends money will have an opportunity to speak at the next township board meeting.

The township has scheduled public hearings at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 for proposed spending of its 2014 Community Development Block Grand Funds and also for the overall 2014 township general fund budget which has a worrisome deficit.

The CDBG hearing offers residents an opportunity to express ideas about community needs and also to speak about past projects.

The township expects to receive $254,727 in CDBG funds which are intended primarily for projects in lowand moderate-income neighborhoods, , according to township clerk Kim Courts. The funds are administered by the Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission from an annual grant from the U.S. Department of Hosing and Urban Development.

As for the proposed annual budget hearing, it is already causing controversy among board members.

Trustees George Menoutes and Frank Kasle both voiced issues with a draft of the 2014 budget provided to trustees but not yet pubic.

Menoutes’ issue was that the draft was created without input from trustees. In the past, trustees have sat down in a budget workshop to review the proposed budget and have input.

Supervisor Karyn Miller said the workshops were time-consuming and nonproductive and had been canceled this year with committee approval.

“When John Ervin (retired township controller) was around, we had budget workshops and accomplished things,” Menoutes said.

Kasle agreed, saying the budget workshops gave trustees not involved in budget preparation a chance to ask questions.

He and Menoutes requested a vote to hold a budget workshop on Oct. 15 that was approved by the board 6 to 1, with clerk Courts dissenting.

Kasle also took the opportunity to say that he would be voting against the proposed budget, as presented, because it did not show evidence of reducing expenses or increasing income to respond to a growing budget shortfall over the next two years.

“I am going to vote no on a budget with a $1.7 million deficit,” Kasle said, adding that if the township’s projected fund balance continues to dwindle the township will be “out of business” by the end of 2015.

“We have done nothing to get control of expenses,” Kasle complained, mentioning health insurance costs among them.

He said it was not his intent to criticize the supervisor or the budget preparers but the “process has not generated any way to stop losses.”

Though pleased not to be facing budget increases, Kasle said merely holding the line will not be enough to offset projected revenue shortages.

Miller responded that trustees could have that discussion at next week’s budget workshop.

Kasle said he just wanted to “get it off my chest.”

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