Initial township budget for 2024-25 presented
By Dana Casadei and Lisa Brody
A preliminary budget for the next fiscal year was presented at the Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, November 27, with $27.6 million in first draft estimated general fund revenues for the year which ends March 31, 2025.
Based on estimates, that would be an increase from the current 2023-2024 budget, with $26.3 million in general fund revenues.
Based on current property taxes, the township would collect $11 million in property tax revenues in the next fiscal year; $5 million in state revenue sharing; $1.8 million from the township's investment earnings; $1.2 million from the 48th District Court; and $5.2 million in costs across other non-general tax funded departments.
Estimated expenses for the general fund for 2024-2025 are $24.8 million.
The budget presented is primarily an assumption budget, based on trends and projections, explained finance director Jason Theis, and is likely subject to change before being finalized March 2024, when the township’s 2023-2024 fiscal year ends. Presenting a preliminary budget to the board of trustees is a statutory obligation.
“This is a very preliminary budget,” said Theis.
Some expenditures in the 2024-2025 budget are similar to the current one, such as the contractual wage increase, again under three percent, and healthcare costs. The latter is projected to go up a few percentage points, and they should have final renewal amounts and claim projections in January.
One of the largest adjustments for the preliminary 2024-2025 budget’s expenditures came from a request from the department of public works for small paving projects to pre-Covid levels of $750,000, compared to now, currently set between $250,000-$300,000. While it’s a sizable dollar amount increase, it still wouldn’t allow for them to do too much, but it would allow them to do concrete work, which is incredibly expensive.
Theis also brought up millages, noting that none expire in the 2024-2025 fiscal year, but consideration should be given to timing for those upcoming expirations in 2025 and onward.
Theis discussed the projections for the rest of the current fiscal year ending in March.
Currently, he said, it looks like revenues will exceed expenditures for the three main operating funds: the general fund, road fund, and public safety fund combined.
Revenue for 2023-2024 came from the collection of the renewed and combined public safety millages with an increase for the first year; net investment earrings that are projected to be five times the budget amount at $3.3 million; and the $500,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) the township received, which paid for a large part of the new fire truck arriving next January.
Bloomfield Township received $4,407,946.33 from ARPA in total, and has to have it all obligated by the end of December 2024. About $2.4 million has been awarded and approved by the board of trustees thus far, with another $760,000 going towards projects in various stages of development.
Three remaining projects – document scanning, the senior center parking lot, and Chapter 20 drain study – do not have an estimated monetary amount at this time.
Since the 2023-2024 fiscal year doesn’t end until the spring, the projection could dramatically change from what it’s at now, due in part to the $2.5 million outperformance of investment earnings; an average of 10-12 vacant positions to fill, primarily in public safety; employee healthcare, which is forecasted to come in about 10 percent under budget; and a projection of a lower case load ratio from the courts.
Supervisor Dani Walsh noted that public safety component is an important one to keep an eye on.
“When we hear we have all this extra revenue it’s because we’re trying to hire police officers… all these numbers seem large, but hopefully we can quickly get rid of $1 million of that and get 10 new officers,” she said.