Township finances will get worse before they get better

FLINT TWP. — The shrinking revenue picture for Flint Township shows little sign of bottoming out for at least another two years but officials have made adjustments to curb costs.

Taxable value of township property decreased about $450,000 — 7.4 percent — in 2012, according to Chrystal Simpson, a CPA at Plante Moran in an audit presentation to the board last week for the year ended Dec. 12.

For 2013, the township can expect a taxable value decrease of about 11 percent, about a $619,000 drop in revenue from the previous year, then about three percent declines in 2014 and 2015, the audit report projected.

“Hopefully after 2015, you will hit bottom and start to increase your taxable value again,” Simpson said.

Taxable value of property stood at about $1 billion as of December 2009.

Property tax is the township’s most significant revenue sources — about 41 percent of the total. About $4.3 million in property taxes collected in 2012 was a decrease of about $544,000 over the previous year.

Annual general fund revenues have shrunk from nearly $12 million in 2010 to $11.2 million in 2011, $10 million in 2012.

Expenditures have been reduced accordingly from about $11.9 million in 2009 down to $11.6 million in 2010, $10.1 million in 2011 and $10.6 million in 2012.

As is true for many governing bodies, payroll, fringe and retirement benefits account for the bulk of expenses — approximately 60 percent.

Expenditures for 2013 of about $10.9 million will exceed revenues of $9.7 mil- lion with the difference coming from the fund balance.

On the plus side, the township posted a fund balance increased $10,707 at the end of 2012, for a total of about $5 million in unrestricted funds.

The audit report list steps township officials have taken to reduce expenses. That includes an efficiency study to explore shared services with other municipalities, upgrading to more efficient computer software, changes in employee benefits and no wage increases, elimination of the in-house Information Technology position and using part-time employees as much as possible.

Simpson said that in preparing the 2014 budget, township officials should keep in mind that property taxes will continue to decline over the next couple of years.

Better enforcement of delinquent sewer and water bill collection bumped revenues above expenses in 2011 and 2012 in the sewer and water fund.

Simpson said that the pensions funds for clerical, police and fire departments are being built up adequately but the retirement health care is indadequately funded to meet future needs.

The audit did not find any significant issues, according to Tadd Harburn, a CPA with Plante Moran.

Township Karyn Miller said that for residents interested in reading the entire audit report can find it on the township’s website listed under the supervisor’s department.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *