Township Board set to approve 2013 budget

FLINT TWP. — The township board has scheduled a special meeting Monday night to approve its proposed 2013 budget.

It follows a public hearing held on Oct. 15 to take comments from residents about the $10.87 million budget which exceeds revenues by about $1.1 million. The difference will be made up from a projected fund balance of about $4,7 million.

But the proposed budget cuts expenses by about $53,000 over the 2012 estimated budget of $10.78 million. Some of that is coming from a $30,851 decrease in the township board budget, a 43.71 percent drop.

The police department is budgeted for a $128,387 increase ($4.39 million), the largest township expense, while the fire department is slated see about a $40,000 decrease in its budget to about $1.73 million next year.

The biggest proposed change is about a 68 percent decrease in contributions to the Senior Citizens Center, which is budgeted at $7,200 down from $23,500 in 2012.

Also the township is budgeting about $117,000 less in the Election Commission budget next year, a 52.35 percent decrease in expenses.

Budget increases ranging from about 4 to 16 percent are proposed for the supervisor’s office, the assessment department, professional services, the controller’s office, the treasurer’s office and insurance.

The board did not go into detail about proposed budget increases or decreases during the public hearing.

But several board members have previously voiced concerns about the need to curb expenses in light of steadily declining revenues in recent years. The proposed 2013 budget projects an end-of-year fund balance of $3,628,431. The beginning of the year fund balance for 2012 is an estimated $303,805 less than in 2012.

Only one resident spoke at the public hearing. Ralph Lewis, a regular budget critic, repeated his objection to deficit spending. He questioned an $18,000 increase for the supervisor’s office and championed the need for the township to follow the route of other municipalities to have an all on-call fire department. The township cannot afford to have full-time firefighting staff, he said.

Miller said the board would consider input from residents before formally adopting the budget next week.

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. at the township hall. Meanwhile, a copy of the proposed budget is posted on the township’s web site for interested residents to review.

In other action at the October 15 meeting, the board approved amendments to the 2012 budget to meet projected shortfalls.

One amendment added $12,301 for professional services which includes appraisals, legal and auditing fees.

Also $1,765 was approved for the assessment department to cover overages due to a large number o Michigan Tax Tribunal Appeals.

A $157,714 increase for the fire department to cover a matching grant used to purchase e fire training trailer which was offset by $146,306 federal grant and about $35,000 in donations.

Trade Inspections are expected to exceed budgeting by $9,522 due to a more inspections than anticipated. And $9,290 budget increase was needed for worker’s compensation insurance due to a premium increase caused by an increase in claims.

All requested budget amendments were approved by the board 4-2 with trustees Barb Vert and Belenda Parker voting no.

A memo from controller Beth Takacs also noted that the estimated 2012 General Fund expenditures will come in at about $149,000 under budget.

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