Township holds 2014 budget public hearing

FLINT TWP. — Contrary to media reports, the township is not raising taxes next year.

Supervisor Karyn Miller cleared up that misinformation before opening a public hearing Monday night for comment on the township’s proposed $11.5 million budget for 2014.

“I want to make it crystal clear, though it was reported otherwise, that we are not raising taxes,” Miller said.

Township revenues have steadily declined since 2008 but the operating tax rate also has been decreased since 1994 when it was 4.7 mills. The rate dropped in 2002, 2003 and 2004 and again in 2005 to the current rate of 4.6423 mills, Miller said.

“So despite what you might have heard on the news today, we are not even talking about a tax millage increase,’ she said.

However, the board expects to spend more than it takes in in rev- enues next year and will use about 21 percent of its $4.2 million fund balance to make up the difference. That will reduce the projected fund balance to about $1.4 million by the end of 2014.

The budget projects $9,833, 562 in revenues compared to $11,509,497 in expense which adds up to about a $1.67 million deficit. Expenses will rise about 6.7 percent for the police department and 2.06 percent for the fire department, according to the proposed budget.

The biggest expense increases are 25.41 percent for the Election Commission, 16.27 percent for the building department, 38.70 percent for Board of Review and 10.87 percent for the Assessment Department. The township experienced a large number of commercial tax appeals this year many of which went to the state Tax Tribunal for resolution.

Some of the biggest decreases in expenses are 19.59 percent for the township board; 21.68 percent for Professional Services; 45.34 percent for the Library and 22.85 percent for Township Hall & Grounds.

Employee contracts are currently being negotiated, Miller said, adding that employees have not had a raise for four years while a steadily increasing cost of living is expected to rise more than six percent next year. Employees also have agreed to contribute to health care cost for the past three years.

“I am bringing this to your attention because we have a lot of work to do in trying to settle contracts and pass a budget,” Miller said. She noted that only 12 percent of taxes collected go to township operations.

The rest goes to the county, public schools and colleges, a senior center millage and paramedic emergency services.

“We operate on 12 percent of all taxes that we all pay and you pay,’’ she said.

No one commented during the public hearing. The 2014 budget will be approved later this year.

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