Birmingham approves budget, lower millage
By Kevin Elliott
Birmingham city commissioners on Monday, May 24, approved a $91.6 million annual budget for fiscal year 2021-2022, a decrease of $6.3 million from the previous year’s budget, with a 4.2 percent decrease in millage rates due to Headlee Tax Limitation Amendment rollbacks.
The city’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30 each year.
As property values rose more than expected over the past year, overall tax rates in Birmingham have decreased for the seventh consecutive year while maintaining a .3 mill difference between the operating millage levy and the maximum allowed by state law.
Birmingham Finance Director Mark Gerber said actual tax values were higher than projected, allowing the operating millage and refuse levy to be lower than expected. Overall, the total millage rate will be 13.5896, down from 14.1870, a decrease of .55974.
The city’s library fund was set to a maximum of 1.3380, from 1.3554, a budget increase of $31,730. The city’s refuse fund was increased from .7803 mills to .7930, an increase of $35,640. The city’s debt levy decreased from 1.008 mills to .5657 mills.
Gerber noted the budget marks the fourth consecutive annual decrease in its operating levy.
In terms of highlights to the general fund, Gerber said grants available to fund the police department’s mental health caseworker for next year will increase intergovernmental revenue by $44,000. The city manager also recommended $25,000 be added to the city commission budget for strategic planning after the November 2021 election.
Gerber noted the budget reduces unfunded pension and retiree health care liability by contributing about $1.2 million above actuarial requirements without increasing costs. Additionally, he said the budget adds three additional positions, provides $900,000 in lead water service line abatement; includes $6.1 million in street, sidewalk and alley improvements, including a half-million for unimproved streets; and $4 million for ice arena and park improvements.
Commissioners unanimously approved the budget and tax millage rates.