Township Board to decide on 2021 budget at next meeting

FLINT TWP. — The Flint Township Board of Trustees has chosen to halt passage of a 2021 fiscal year budget, pending further review and discussion.

At the Dec. 7 meeting, the township board voted 4-3 against a motion to pass the 2021 budget and opted to have the item moved to the Dec. 21 meeting. Board members who voted down the proposed budget said that several items needed to be reviewed before the budget can be passed.

Trustee Tom Klee said that he wouldn’t vote for the 2021 budget until township officials have more discussions with department heads regarding budgetary cuts.

“2021 will be so different (because of the COVID-19 pandemic),” he said. “We don’t know where our numbers are. We’re in the process of negotiations… and I think we need to revisit some of these items.”

Clerk Kathy Funk said that she wasn’t in favor of the proposed budget because of a $162,000 appropriation to purchase new BS&A software for the township’s accounting department. She said that the upgrade is simply too expensive for the township to make at this point.

“This is a year that we will not be giving out wage increases,” Funk said. “We can’t hire any more police. It’s a year that I totally cut (election) training out of my budget, and I plan to pay for it out of my own pocket. I just can’t see us paying $162,000 for software this year.”

Supervisor Karyn Miller said that the new software would provide an advanced digital platform for the township and streamline many tasks between accounting and other township departments.

“We have a software program that only serves the accounting department and does not integrate with the rest of the building,” she said. “We have the opportunity (with an upgrade) to have it integrate with the tax department, the water and sewer department, the assessment department and the building department.”

In response, Funk said that the township should focus on other needs and push the accounting software upgrade back to a more opportune time.

“None of us knew we would hit a pandemic in 2020,” she said. “For example, the police department is in desperate need of upgrading their camera system. I would like to see that added to the budget.”

Miller said that she has already worked with Controller Beth Takacs and every department head to trim the 2021 budget as much as possible. She suggested that township board members should speak with each department on their own to discuss any more potential budgetary revisions.

In the meantime, the township will need to pass the 2021 budget before Jan. 1, as required by state law.

“We have got to pass it at our next meeting, or we’ll have to have a special meeting every day after until it is passed,” Miller said.