FLINT TWP. — Township revenues came in higher than anticipated expenses in 2011 but the financial road ahead remains uphill, according to a recent audit presentation for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011.
No big surprises turned up in annual audit. A continued slide in property taxes saw a decline from about $5.4 million in 2010 to $4.8 million in 2011. Overall, general fund revenues decreased from about $11.7 in 2010 to $11.2 in 2011, according to the report which is posted in its entirety on the township’s web site for residents who want details.
Property taxes account for 44 percent of the general fund budget, according to Tadd Harburn, of Plante & Moran, part of the audit team.
State and federal revenues bring in about 20 percent, service charges, 12 percent and special assessments, about 11 percent.
Another 11 percent drop in property tax revenues is projected for the next budget year but most will probably come from commercial property, Harburn said. At first, it was residential property but now commercial properties are starting to hit as well.
The sewer and water fund in 2011 showed a positive trend in revenues over expenses with user rates covering costs.
But the township’s aging sewer lines were installed in the 1970s and sooner than later will require potential and expensive repairs.
There’s also the debt for the Fenton Road water line, installed last year, to consider.
Retirement and pension plan funding is meeting recommended actual amounts but long-range obligations for about $13.9 million in underfunded Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) will require planning.
Harburn wrapped up his presentation with an outline of some steps township officials have taken to offset declining revenues. Those include:
• Possible shared services & efficiency studies with Swartz Creek and Mundy Township
• Change to employee benefits
• Employee contributions to health
• No wage increases
• Pursuing non-tax revenue sources
such as ambulance lease agreement
and cell phone/wireless tower contracts • New garbage contract with lower
cost and more services
• Aggressive cost recovery for public
safety services to non- residents