Township accepts preliminary budget for 2023-24
By Kevin Elliott
Bloomfield Township is on target to finish the fiscal year ending March 31, 2023, with a net surplus of $2.2 million from the township’s three largest funds, the township’s finance director said at the township board meeting on Monday, November 28, while presenting the township’s 2023-24 preliminary budget.
Bloomfield Township Finance Director Jason Theis told the board of trustees that revenues from the township’s general fund, road fund and public safety fund exceed expenditures by about $2.2 million. Theis recommended transferring the balance to the township’s equipment and replacement fund in March when the budget is finalized.
“Current year, we are doing really well for a few different reasons, but at this time it is projected that we may have a surplus of just over $2 million,” Theis said. “If that stays the course by the end of March, then I would likely recommend that excess or whatever surplus there is be transferred into the equipment and replacement fund, like we have done in some of the more recent years. That being said, that amount can change dramatically. Some of it is healthcare; some of it is vacant positions, or at least vacant for part of the year; some of it is, we talked last year about $600,000 in stormwater projects, and those for various reasons, the bulk of those costs have been delayed until next budget year, so that’s part of the effects on this year.”
Theis said state revenue sharing dollars from sales tax revenue are also higher than originally anticipated. Further, he said the 48th District Court expects its caseload to go down, which will impact both revenues and expenses.
“In this case, it’s actually helping us out in our current budget,” he said of the decrease in the number of court cases.
Looking at the 2023-2024 budget, Theis said it is currently balanced, with a $200,000 surplus across the general fund, road fund and public safety funds. However, he said there are still many assumptions that will change and be refined before a final budget is up for approval in March. Theis said that while the inflation rate is currently 7.9 percent, tax assessments are capped at five percent under Michigan’s Proposal A.
“When I looked at the rates since Proposal A began in 1994, this is the first and only time we’ve gotten to that five percent cap,” Theis said. “The downside to Proposal A and this inflation is that the bigger that inflation number, the larger the effect of the rollbacks, so we don’t quite get everything you think we are going to get. While we are getting the largest increase on the front side, we are going to have the largest rollback we have ever had.”
Overall, taxable value of the township is expected to increase 3.4 percent to $4.75 billion.
Additional revenues for the upcoming budget include the first year of the new combined public safety millage; potential decreases in state-shared revenue; and a $500,000 grant to the fire department for a new SOAR truck.
Proposed expenditures for the upcoming budget include two percent wage increases for contractual employees; health care increases that are yet to be determined; and $4.7 million in capital outlay.
“It’s going to be an extraordinary year for capital outlay,” Theis said. “Right now, if you add it all up, it’s about $4.67 million across the three funds.”
Expenditures for the 2023-2024 budget includes bringing back a dozen positions at the township, including five police officers; four firefighters; an ordinance officer; an elections specialist; and a township engineer.
Large capital projects planned for the 2023-2024 fiscal year include $1.15 million in stormwater projects; $100,000 for a new HVAC system at township hall; $150,000 for work at the district court; additional vehicles to the motor pool; and $150,000 for equipment for the township’s emergency operations center; along with other projects.
As the preliminary budget is subject to several revisions, final figures are expected to come after study sessions in December and February. For instance, township supervisor Dani Walsh said the township is still discussing whether one full-time ordinance officer should be hired, or two part-time officers.
“We are still looking at whether we want one full-time or a part-time, so we have coverage when someone is doing something on a construction site they shouldn’t be at on a Saturday, there is someone there to address it,” Walsh said. “Even that has changed from a couple weeks ago when we finalized this (preliminary budget). That’s why I say, our input will go into this and there will be changes.”
The board accepted the preliminary budget, without any motion required.
A study session regarding federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and how the funds will be spent is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Thursday, December 15. The funds may be used for specific qualifying projects, which may offset expenses related to the township budget. A general budget study session will also be held in February, but has yet to be scheduled.