FLINT TWP. — After reducing staff through attrition, consolidation of services and general belttightening in recent years because of declining property tax revenues, nobody wants to hear that the worst is yet to come.
But that was forecast by the 2010 audit presented to the township board last week along with more hopeful news that the bleeding will stop in 2015.
“The township did a great job last year of reducing expenses to meet revenues,” said Tadd Harburn, of Plante & Moran, a member of the audit team.
Property tax revenues are the township’s biggest source of income. That revenue dropped from about $5.5 million in 2009 to $5.4 million in 2010, reflecting a steady decline in taxable value of property.
Over a five-year period, 2012 will post the largest decline in taxable value — a 13.3 percent decrease compared to the 10 percent drop this year, a 2.6 drop percent in 2010 which came after increases of .19 percent in 2009 and 3.5 percent in 2008, Harburn said.
Based on the trend, Harburn said projections indicate a further 7.5 percent decline in 2013 and a 3 percent decline in 2014.
“Is it going to get better after that?” asked Supervisor Karyn
The good news is that it looks like the decline will stabilize in 2015 with projected total taxable value at $7.97 million which essentially is not a decrease. Then 2016 shows a modest one percent increase to $807 million.
The township’s two largest sources of general fund revenues — property taxes and state/federal funding — went down in 2010. About $5.49 million in property taxes was down 2.6 percent from 2009 and $2.3 million in state/federal revenues was a 1.4 percent decline.
Special Assessments, the third largest revenue source, was stable at about $1.2 million —10 percent of total revenues. Other revenue sources included charges for services, about $1.4 million, and interest and miscellaneous sources that brought in about $830,000.
The township received $2.2 million in state revenue sharing in 2010 which has declined about $985,000 since 2000, according to the audit report.
On the expenditures side, the cost of public safety ($7 million) including payroll, fringe benefits and retirement contributions claimed about 56 percent of the township’s $11.6 million budget in 2010.
The audit report also looked at sewer and water fund cash flow, debt retirement, fund balance and other costs.
Board members questioned the status of retirement funding. Audit reports show 74.8 percent funding for police officers, 55.6 percent for fire fighters, 103 percent for clerical and non-union workers and .2 percent for Other Post-employment Benefits (OPEB). Trustee Frank Kasle commented that underfunding OPEB poses a huge future liability for health care.
The audit report is posted on the township’s website at www.flinttownship.org.