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Birmingham okays $46.6 million '23-'24 budget

By Grace Lovins and Lisa Brody

Birmingham commissioners voted to approve an estimated $46.6 million general fund 2023-2024 fiscal year budget, at the meeting on Monday, May 8, after reviewing each department’s proposals at a budget hearing at the end of April.

The fiscal year beings July 1, 2023, and ends June 30, 2024.

Finance director Mark Gerber said the city's millage rate will remain the same, at 11.0901 mills. Under the Headlee Amendment, the city cannot collect operating millage on the increase in taxable value derived from existing property which exceeds the Headlee inflation factor, which is 7.9 percent for 2023-2024.

Estimated revenues are $33.5 million from property taxes, comprising 47 percent of budgeted revenue, is an approximate 7.2 percent increase over fiscal year 2022-2023; $3.6 million from revenues from services, $2.8 million from state grants, $2.7 million from permits and $2 million from fines and forfeitures.

Projected state shared revenues are about $5.3 million, in the form of revenue-sharing payments, gas and weight taxes, and reimbursements for personal property tax exemptions.

Estimated expenditures are for personnel, $27 million, up from $24 million in 2022-2023; $19.5 million in other charges; $6.1 million in charges out; and $5.5 million in capital outlays.

Gerber presented two amendments to the sewage disposal fund that were identified after reviewing the budget. The sewage disposal cost increased $116,030, which he says is primarily due to the Evergreen-Farmington sewage disposal district. Storm water increased $61,650 related to George W. Kuhn drain, which resulted in a $177,680 increase to revenues and expenditures.

The budget for the Baldwin Public Library was also corrected. According to Gerber, there was supposed to be a $260,000 revenue from the library trust to help get the fund balance out of the negative. At the budget hearing, the Baldwin Library budget was in the negative due to ongoing renovations, but the funds were to be brought from the trust to offset that. The proposed skylight element for the renovation was removed from the plans to help shrink the cost.

Commissioner Brad Host said he was still concerned about the increased cost for the 48th district court. During the budget hearing, Gerber explained that the court operates on a calendar year, not a fiscal year, so the budget was readjusted based on the percentage of caseloads from 2021. The projected total cost is expected to be approximately $1.6 million.

The increase in expenditures to the court will also create an increased revenue, but the city will still be in a deficit, according to Gerber. Assistant city manager Jana Ecker said she would push to be involved in the court’s budget earlier on in the process for a better understanding of the costs and how the budget is being formulated.

The commission voted 7-0 to adopt the 2023-2024 fiscal year budget.


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