Township narrowly approves 2018 budget

FLINT TWP. – In a 4-3 vote, the township board passed a 2018 budget in which projected expenses exceed revenues by slightly more than one million dollars. The difference will be made up from a fund balance of $4,683,929 thereby decreasing the remaining fund balance to $3,677,383.

No one spoke at a public hearing prior to the board’s vote.

The approved 2018 General Appropriations Act includes a general fund budget as well as those for various departments.

Projections for the general fund include revenues of $9,967,283 and expenditures of $10,973,829. The largest revenue sources include $3,556,371 from property taxes, $2.7 million in state shared revenue sales and use tax; $500,000 in cable tv fees and $1,156,700 million from garbage assessments.

The largest expenditures include $4,122,955 for the police department, $1,027,404 for the fire department; $3,106,935 for general services administration and $500,500 for insurances.

A Municipal Street Fund budget has $419,474 in revenues and $417,500 in expenses.

A JAG, police grant fund, posts revenues of $171,000 and expenses of $434,100.

The budget for the Police and Fire Millage Fund is $4,065,353 in expenses vs. $3,010,546 in revenues.

A budget of $205,513 has been set for community development.

The Fire Safety Equipment Fund expenses of $314,350 also exceed revenues of $200,417.

Trustee Frank Kasle, who voted against the budget, questioned the board’s long-term solvency if it continues spending $1 million a year more than it takes in.

Township Supervisor Karyn Miller said that about half of the million dollar overage in the 2008 budget is earmarked for road improvement, notably Court Street. Some of it also is needed to cover to longevity wage increases and a significant increase in health care costs.

She said that annual expenses have been held to under $11 million dollars since she took office in 2008.

Miller said a cushion in the fund balance supports the extra spending but the controller has advised her to slow down next year. She said she is considering bringing a proposal to the board to set the fund balance at 30 percent of the budget. In 2018 the end of the year fund balance is 33.51 percent of expenses.

“We had some cushion in the fund balance,” Kasle said. “I think we have reached the point where we have used up the cushion and we can’t do this again. We have to be more careful. If we are not going to generate more revenue, then we need to start cutting our expenses. I caution all of us to get ready to tighten our belts for 2019 or otherwise we are going to be in real trouble.”

Trustees Barb Vert and Carol Pfaff-Dahl also joined Kasle in voting no on the 2018 budget resolution. Neither commented on their reasons.

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