— After a town hall meeting and several meetings on the topic, the Township Board of Trustees passed its 2011 departmental budget 4-2, with Trustees Belenda Parker and Barb Vert dissenting, at its Dec. 20 meeting. Treasurer Sandra Wright was not at the meeting.
The budget calls for the township’s general fund to have $10,912,096 in revenues and $10,856,091 in expenditures, resulting in net revenues of $56,005. The budget also calls for a beginning fund balance of $3,520,430 and ending fund balance of $3,576,435. One of the discussions surrounding the budget was whether or not any personnel would be laid off.
When the township held its town hall meeting Nov. 29, Supervisor Karyn Miller told the audience that the board would be reviewing two budget scenarios, one with layoffs and one without layoffs. When it came to the Dec. 20 meeting, several residents spoke on the budget with most voicing their concerns over the uncertainty of layoffs for personnel, especially members of the fire department.
Resident Bard McClanahan acknowledged that it made sense for the township to cut its budget, but he urged for all township employees to take a 10 percent pay cut, including the Board of Trustees. In return, McClanahan said he would take a 10 percent tax increase but he brought up the 2016 projected figures.
“By the projected 2016 budget, virtually every department will have an increase and the board’s budget will go up 17-18 percent. Everybody but the building department and fire department,” he said. “If I was in the fire department, I’d feel like I was being picked on. I’ll ask you one more time, how can you justify more money for the board? There’s a decrease in revenue, but your budget increases. Are you in this for the money, or are you here to lead?”
Resident Ralph Lewis echoed McClanahan’s comments, saying that the board did a “good job with the budget.”
“It’s pretty tight, but we’ll give it a try,” he said. “We’ve got to get realistic with where we are and where we are headed.” He urged the board to “carry the way” when it came to making budget cuts.
When it came time to vote on the budget, the issue of layoffs was at the focal point for the board. Parker asked Miller to confirm that there would be no layoffs to the fire department. In response, Miller said the township is in negotiations with the union but stated there was “no intention to lay off” anyone.
“I can’t promise that we won’t lay off anyone, but we’re still negotiating. Tonight, we are not looking to lay anybody off,” she said. Miller did say that in the 2011 budget, there was a decrease of $264,000 to the fire department. If the board did need to lay off any employees, the matter would come back before the Board of Trustees as a personnel item.