In brief

Treasury: Grants available for financially distressed cities, villages and townships

LANSING — Cities, villages and townships experiencing financial struggles can now apply for a grant to help fund special projects and free up tax dollars for important services, according to the Michigan Department of Treasury (Treasury).

Applications are now being accepted for the Financially Distressed Cities, Villages, and Townships (FDCVT) grant program. Municipalities interested in applying for an award must submit applications to the state Treasury Department by 11:59 p.m. on Jan. 2, 2020.

All cities, villages and townships experiencing at least one condition of “probable financial distress,” as outlined in the Local Financial Stability and Choice Act, are eligible to apply for up to $2 million. A total of $2.5 million in funding is available for Treasury to award through the FDCVT grant program for the 2020 fiscal year.

Grant funding may be used to pay for specific projects or services that move a community toward financial stability. Preference will be given to applications from municipalities that meet one or more of the following criteria:

A financial emergency has been declared in the past 10 years. An approved deficit elimination plan for the General Fund is currently in place. Two or more conditions indicating “probable financial distress” currently exist. The fund balance of the General Fund has been declining over the past five years and the fund balance is less than 3 percent of the General Fund revenues.

Due to requirements outlined under state law, school districts are not eligible for funds from this grant program.

Details: Visit www.michigan.gov/revenuesharing. G.G.

AAA: Gas prices jump by 11 cents

DEARBORN — Gas prices in Michigan are increasing. The average price for gasoline jumped eleven cents last week.

Michigan drivers are now paying an average price of $2.52 per gallon for regular unleaded. Monday’s state average is eleven cents more than a week ago, nine cents less than this time last month, and nine cents less than this time last year.

It now costs $37.80 to fill a 15-gallon tank of gasoline. That is $9.15 less than what drivers paid in May of 2018, when pump prices hit their 2018 peak of $3.13 per gallon.

New data from the Energy Information Administration revealed that total domestic stocks of gasoline decreased for the sixth consecutive week. At 217.2 million bbl, the current stock level is 10.8 million bbl lower than last year’s level at this time. Reduced stock levels, amid robust demand, have helped to push the national gas price average higher this week.

“Reduced supply and strong demand were the driving forces behind the increased prices,” said Gary Bubar, spokesperson, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “As supplies continue to fluctuate, prices at the pump will change. Demand is forecast to increase as we near the holiday season and that could lead to increased prices.”

Although demand took a significant step back from the previous week’s 9.78 million b/d to 9.15 million b/d – it is still approximately 50,000 b/d higher than last year’s rate in early November. Since Monday, the national average for unleaded regular gasoline has increased by two cents to $2.62.

Most expensive gas price averages: Ann Arbor ($2.60), Metro Detroit ($2.54), Benton Harbor ($2.52)

Least expensive gas price averages: Traverse City ($2.39), Jackson and Marquette ($2.31). — G.G.