FLUSHING — In light of an anticipated decrease in state shared revenue, Flushing Township is preparing to reduce overall spending for next year’s budget.
On Sept. 10, the Flushing Township Board of Trustees passed its budget for the 2021/2022 fiscal year. Revenue for next year’s budget is projected to be around $1.5 million, which is about $300,000 lower than this year’s $1.96 million in revenue.
Flushing Township Supervisor Fred Thorsby said that he expects a shortfall in state revenues due to the COVID-19 shutdown in the spring and a resulting decrease in sales tax collections. However, he said that a boost in internet sales tax collections across the state and an influx of federal money may help to offset losses in state shared revenue.
“The state is talking about lowering revenue sharing but replacing it with money from the federal government under the CARES Act,” he said. “When you factor that in, we might even get more money than what we originally anticipated for revenue sharing. The downside is that federal money comes with some strings and can only be spent on certain things related to CARES funding.”
Because of the stipulations associated with federal money, Thorsby said that the township will be “playing it safe” with the 2021/2022 budget by avoiding capital improvement projects, focusing primarily on essential maintenance and keeping everyone employed.
As part of that strategy, the township will be drastically reducing its road fund expenditures from $750,000 to $150,000 for the 2021/2022 budget year.
To get a leg up on future road projects, Thorsby said that the township will be able to save next year’s road allocation money and roll it over to use in 2022.
“In discussions with the road commission, we talked about the possibility of banking all of our road allocations for next year…and then redoing the roads around Flushing High School the following year,” he said. “We would do Carpenter Road and Deland Road, where it gets a lot of traffic and the roads are deteriorating badly.”
During the meeting, Flushing Township also received a favorable audit report for its 2020/2021 fiscal year from auditing firm Plante Moran. Pam Hill, an auditing partner with Plante Moran, said that the township ended the fiscal year in a good financial position and received a clean, unmodified opinion during the audit.
“Your reserves are in a very good spot, especially with the downturn in revenues that we’re seeing from the state side of things, with sales tax collections being down,” Hill said. “Management and the board should feel good with where you’re at and the progress you’ve made.”
Hill also commended Flushing Township for focusing on expenses, monitoring costs and finishing some much-needed capital projects— all while coming in under budget with the general fund.