Board OKs two-year budget

FLINT TWP. — Two voted no but the township board passed a two-year general fund budget of $10,293.548 for 2016 and $10,633,839 for 2017.

Those figures compare to an actual budget of $10,863,111 in 2014 and an amended budget of $10,034,025 for 2015.

Trustees Belenda Parker and Barb Vert voted against the two year budget.

Parker gave several reasons. She disapproves of employee raises included in the budget and objects to expenses exceeding revenues in 2017. She also disfavors a twoyear budget because elections next year could change the makeup of the board and she prefers that they make budgeting decisions for 2017. She added that there are positions budgeted that she believes the township does not need.

Vert also said she opposes the employee’s raises especially after just giving raises and signing bonuses last year. She also disapproved because she thinks the budget did not address solutions proposed in a feasibility study to save the township money by combining or eliminating services. She mentioned positions held by people who retired or left.

“We need to look at different depart- ments and so some adjustments that would benefit the township,” she said.

Supervisor Karyn Miller said that the two-year budget can be amended by a new board if need be.

Miler said she consulted township attorney Peter Goodstein who said that other municipalities are moving in the direction of multi-year budgets.

The budget shows $10,317,618 in revenues for 2016 that is $24,070 more than expenses. In 2017, revenues of $10,571,717 are $62,122 less than expenses.

Projected year-end fund balances are $4,088,100 for 2016 and $4,025,978 for 2017.

Significant line item increases include the Supervisor’s office with $144,151 budgeted in 2016 and $148,045 in 2017 compared to $142,885 in 2015 and $128,199 in 2014.

Budgeting for the elections commission bumps up to $240,444 in 2016 because it is a presidential election year, but drops in 2017 to $142,510.

Expenses for the Clerk’s office are $154,658 in 2016 and $176,427 in 2017, up from $167,178 this year and $150,108 in 2014.

Line items for police and fire are lower because some expenses are now covered by the Public Safety Millage passed in 2014. The general fund budget for police is $3,977,874 in 2016 and $4,202.044 in 2017. Expenditures for the fire department are $1,262,921 in 2016 and $1,325,815 in 2017.

Township controller Beth Takacs said that expenses for 23 officers are charged to the general fund and 22 officers to the Public Safety Millage. Also 17 full-time firefighters are charged to the general fund and five full-time and all on-call firefighters are charged to the millage.

Police Chief George Sippert said that the department currently has 35 officers but he is budgeted for 45 this year. The challenge is to find competent people to hire.

Assistant Fire Chief Mike Burkley also is in the process of hiring more full-time firefighters for the first time in 15 years.

Year-over-year expenses held fairly steady for the treasurer’s office, township board, general services administration and other line items.

Expenses in the building department will be $252,458 in 2016 and $238,999 in 2017 compared to $169,580 in 2014 and $188,460 in 2015.

Insurance costs are budgeted at $$456,725 in 2016 and $518,423 in 2017 compared to $407,000 in 2015 and $370.372 in 2014.

One resident asked if lawsuits were causing the rise in insurance rate.

Takacs said the budget covers liability and worker’s compensation. Liability includes vehicles and property, not just lawsuits. She said she does not have renewal rates yet for 2016 and 2017 so the budgeted amount is her best guess and could actually be less.

A resident asked why library expenses jump from $18,922 in 2016 to $49,825 in 2017.

Takacs and Miller said expenses include a handicapped accessible door for the library and needed parking lot repairs.

Questions were raised about relief for residents for water and sewer costs. The sewer and water fund budget shows projected year-end balances of $10,407,168 in 2016 and $10,539,511 in 2017.

Miller said that she and other township officials are currently in talks about a capital improvement plan for sewer and water pipes that are nearing the end of their life expectancy. A meeting was planned for November 17 to review a 12-year-old analysis of piper conditions and to develop a plan for moving forward. That might include placing cameras in the lines to determine what needs to be done first. Funding would come from the sewer and water fund surplus, she said.

All township budgets for 2016-17 are posted on the township’s website under township information – budgets and audits.

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