Township board passes 2021 budget and appropriations

FLINT TWP. — After much discussion, the Flint Township Board of Trustees approved a 2021 budget and appropriations resolution by a 4-3 vote at the Dec. 21 meeting. Supervisor Karyn Miller, Treasurer Lisa Anderson, Trustee Carol Pfaff-Dahl and Trustee Debbe Campbell voted in favor of the budget, while Clerk Kathy Funk, Trustee Tom Klee and Trustee Barb Vert voted against the motion.

At the Dec. 7 meeting, the township board voted 4-3 against approving the 2021 budget, largely because several board members were not in favor of a $162,000 appropriation to upgrade software for the accounting department.

Trustee Tom Klee, who voted against approving the 2021 budget and appropriations at both meetings, said that he does not oppose the software upgrade itself but wanted more clarification on when it would be installed and how it would be paid for.

“I’m not against the software…it could be a positive (tool) for us to work with,” he said. “Maybe we could look at implementing this in July, August or September of 2021. That will get us past the audit (in March).”

Supervisor Karyn Miller said that the township could pay for the accounting software in installments spread over a two-year period. She also said that the installation period itself would occur over a four to six-month time frame.

“The cost of the estimate is in the budget now, but that still has to come to the board for approval in the next year,” she said. “Once, and if, the township board were to approve (the upgrade), it would happen four to six months down the line. Just because it’s in the budget doesn’t mean that the township board has approved that expenditure.”

Klee then proposed that the township should seek alternative revenue sources, such as service fees and public assessments, to help cover the costs of future appropriations and department expenditures.

Trustee Barb Vert suggested that the township could also look at temporary hiring freezes and putting holds on non-emergency overtime and staff conferences to save money in 2021.

Miller said that she will be looking at several cost-saving options during the New Year and having routine discussions with department heads to explore new potential sources of revenue.