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  • By Lisa Brody

Current budget reviewed, upcoming year shown

Bloomfield Township Finance Director Jason Theis provided an overview of where the township is currently at with its fiscal year 2020-2021 budget in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and provided a preliminary budget for fiscal year 2021-2022 at a special board of trustees meeting on Monday, November 16. Theis said while the township has been impacted by the pandemic, it is proving to be less than initially expected. Taxable value is about $4 billion, which is a 3.6 percent increase to taxable revenue after the effects of Headlee rollbacks. He said there has been a decline of 1.5 percent in state revenue sharing, which translates to about $57,000. “That is much better than what they were saying at the beginning of the pandemic,” he noted. The township is 10 percent under budget for investments as the market has been affected by COVID, he said, and pharmacy rebates exceed the budget. On the plus side, there have been new agreements with other municipalities, such as the animal control agreement with Birmingham and dispatch services with Sylvan Lake, which is providing new revenue. Health care costs are the greatest expenditure for the township, along with a contractual 2.5 percent increase in wages for all employees other than water and sewer employees. “The total full-time employee count is at 222 compared to a budgeted number of 235,” Theis said, which is the lowest is over 30 years. Other impacts of COVID he said, is that passport revenue, which is typically about $45,000 through the clerk's office, “is almost non-existent.” Revenue from the 48th District Court is down about 50 percent, and expenditures there are down 10 percent. There has been a decline in public service revenue of about $275,000, from a decline in EMS transportation fees, drunk drivers, and preliminary breath tests. About $135,000 in hazard pay was paid to first responders. The Senior Center, which has been closed and has lost revenues of a half million dollars, but has saved about $660,000 in costs. “Overall there has been an addition of labor costs of $298,000 due to the pandemic,” Theis said, of which the township has been reimbursed $225,000 from the CARES Act. The township is waiting for $15,000 from FEMA. The Senior Center received $58,000 from the CARES Act. “We submitted for over $700,000 to the county under the CARES Act,” he said. In the township's preliminary 2021-2022 budget, which will change before it will be resubmitted and approved in March for the township's April 1, 2021 beginning of its fiscal year, Theis estimated a projected deficit of over $1 million, with $800,000 in the public safety fund and $250,000 in the roads fund. “The general fund is balanced but that can change on adjusting transfers in and out.” He sees a projected taxable value of $4.169 billion, which is only a .9 percent increase to taxable value. “That is a significant and unexpected decline in the trend, and the lowest projected taxable value since 2012,” he said. He also sees an additional decline of 4.5 percent in state revenue sharing and investment income, and only a partial recovery of revenue from the 48th District Court. “We are assuming EMS turns back to normal, bringing in $1 million versus $750,000.”

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