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  • By Lisa Brody

Birmingham approves $86 million budget

By a vote of 6-1, with commissioner Brad Host opposing, Birmingham City Commissioners approved a $86 million balanced budget for 2020-2021, with a 14.187 mills property tax millage. The city's fiscal year begins July 1 and runs through June 30 each year. In his presentation, city manager Joe Valentine said the total recommended budget for fiscal year 2020-2021 for all funds, including component units, is $86,132,740. “Overall this represents a decrease of $10,221,319, or 11percent from the prior year's amended budget,” Valentine wrote. Commissioners had reviewed the budget at a workshop on Saturday, June 6, where department heads presented recommendations in order to address current and future community needs while balancing service demands and long term capital requirements. The city has budgeted $38.2 million in the city's general fund; $28 million in the enterprise fund; $5.6 million to component units; $8.5 million in special revenue funds; $2.7 million in capital projects fund; and $1.5 million toward debt service. Key anticipated expenditures are $14.8 million to public safety; $8.4 million in transfers out; $6.7 million for general government; $5.3 million in engineering and public services; $3.9 million in local streets fund; and $3.7 million in major streets fund. Key anticipated revenues are $27 million in property taxes; $3.9 million in local streets fund; $3.7 million in major streets fund; $3.3 million in charges for services; $2.8 million in licenses and permits; $2.1 million from solid waste disposal fund; $2.1 million in intergovernmental revenue; and $1.8 million in fines and forfeiture. The millage was approved at 14.187 mills, inclusive of city of Birmingham property taxes, Birmingham Public School taxes, state education taxes and Oakland County program taxes. “To clarify, with Covid, this will impact our budget process for the upcoming year,” Valentine said. “I would suggest coming back and revisiting it for expenditures and revenues in December, after our audit, midway through the year. Right now, there are still too many variables.” “I have misgivings,” stated Host. “This budget kicks the can down the road. There is no mention of declining revenues since March 1 or so. You would have thoiught that pandemic and the lockdown would have affected the budget. I would much prefer we do a quarterly revenue and not wait until December as the volatility of the economy is ever changing. “Secondly, there is no mention of seniors in this,” Host continued. “We're not socking away money for a senior center. I would have insisted we start a fund for our seniors to start a senior center.” “Clearly, the commission does get quarterly reports from this administration, and that will continue,” Valentine noted. “The budget we do is based a five-year plan, with long-range planning. That guides this process. This budget does include funding for senior services. As for a senior center, that has not been presented to this commission, so it is not included in this budget. For a balanced budget, if you're reallocating money, you have to be specific and have to offset it.” Host made motion for an amendment to the motion to approve the budget to discuss the budget quarterly and include seed money for a senior center, but the motion failed, 1-6. The budget passed, 6-1, with Host opposing.

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