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  • By Lisa Brody

Investment revenues up, state cuts coming

Investment returns are up 200 percent, Bloomfield Township Treasurer Brian Kepes reported at the board of trustees meeting on Monday, April 27, and the township is working to reduce billing costs to residents, while Supervisor Leo Savoie warned that the amount of money the state provides to the township in state revenue sharing would be down due to the coronavirus pandemic. Kepes noted that in “context of the financial crisis that has resulted from the COVID-19 virus… Bloomfield Township remains one of the few AAA-rated communities in Michigan. In spite of historic low interest rate returns, fiscal year 2020 earnings on the township reserves has achieved almost $1.3 million – that's 200 percent above budget projections. To put that performance in perspective, over the last four years, Bloomfield Township has earned almost $2.9 million compared to approximately $475,000 from the previous treasurer, Dan Devine, in his previous four years in office. It's a six-fold increase in returns on investments on the township's returns.” Kepes said the treasurer's office is continuing to respond to all concerns, working virtually on inquiries from residents and businesses. The township is also working to introduce new innovations, including touchless/paperless billing for water and sewer bills, which they introduced in limited use for May, and will roll out for voluntary sign up for June billings. The treasurer's office has introduced the ability to pay by credit card in the planning, building and ordinance and police departments, increasing efficiencies for everyone involved, Kepes said. “Now you or your contractors can pay when you want and not when your contractors can get to the township or the mail arrives here,” Kepes said. “All of these changes have been made first and foremost with our residents in mind.” Savoie said that he had been on the phone with Lansing that day, and “it looks like our state revenue sharing might be down about $600,000 to $750,000.” That is an approximate 16 to 20 percent decline in the township's anticipated state revenue sharing. State revenue sharing is a portion of the income tax returned to local municipalities. “Another area of concern we're going to have is the senior center, as well as the building fund,” Savoie said. He explained that about 25 percent of the senior center's revenue comes from outside programming, which is unavailable due to state lockdown executive orders. The building fund will be down, he explained, as building inspections produce income when inspections are done. “They will be 15 to 20 percent off expected revenues,” Savoie said. “Fortunately, they do have a reserve there they can rely on.” Savoie said he does not expect the township having to dip into reserve funds to maintain the budget.

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