Bloomfield Township presents preliminary budget
Budget cuts in Bloomfield Township are already expected to lower staffing levels in 2020, and employee levels could be slashed to those of the 1970s if the renewal of the township's general operating millage is rejected next year, according to figures presented in a preliminary budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year. Bloomfield Township Finance Director Jason Theis presented the preliminary budget for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2021, at the board of trustees meeting on Monday, November 25. The number of full-time employees in the township is expected to be reduced to 236 for the 2020 fiscal year, down from 243 in 2019. Five of those cuts will come from police and dispatch services; one from fire; and one from general services. Voters in March of 2020 will be asked to renew a 10-year, 1.3 mill general fund operating millage. The millage contributes to police, fire and emergency medical services, as well as public works and other general operations in the township. The renewal would extend the current millage that was passed by voters in 2010. The millage generates about $5.1 million a year in revenue. "If the renewal fails, we go from 236 employees in 2020 down by about 40, to 194," Theis said. "How that breaks down has yet to be discussed and determined. I went through it based on prior discussions and studies, and previous presentations by the police and fire chiefs, and took a stab at how it might come out... hopefully, we don't have to get to that discussion, but this is what would have to happen to get roughly $5 million in savings to make up for that millage: "That's an 18-percent reduction from 2020, which was already a large reduction from 2019 and 2018, and a 27-percent reduction from 2008 staffing levels. This would put the fire department at 1974 staffing levels, and we all know that the 6,000-plus EMS runs they are currently seeing — they were not getting anywhere near those numbers in 1974. It would take the police department down to 1970 staffing levels. You can see we are going backward, not forward." Overall, the preliminary budget estimates total general fund revenues at about $22.1 million for 2021, up about 1.9 percent from 2020. Trustees received the preliminary budget findings without discussion. "I don't think tonight is the appropriate time for any questions. This is a preliminary budget that going forward we will have the chance to go through it and dissect it, and as we go along I'm sure those questions will be there," Bloomfield Township Supervisor Leo Savoie said.