Scottville budget calls for small pay increases

April 21, 2014

By Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief.


SCOTTVILLE — City employees may be getting a small raise if the 2014/2015 budget is approved. A public hearing on the next fiscal year’s budget will be held this afternoon during the regular meeting of the city commission, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

City Manager Amy Williams reports that both revenues and expenditures are down from the past year. The reduction in revenue is attributed to the elimination of personal property taxes valued at less than $40,000, Williams stated in a memo to commissioners.

“The legislature is putting this issue on the August ballot in which we are asking people to support in order for us to receive money back from the state for the personal property taxes we are losing,” she wrote.

“Other than property taxes the rest of the revenues stayed pretty consistent with past years.”

Expenditures are down due to the reduction in capital expenditures, Williams said. While city hall is being updated to meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards, there are no capital expenditures planned for next year.

“Overall the general fund is predicting an increase in revenues over expenditures of just under $11,000,” Williams said. “I am also asking to keep the millage rate at 16.7 mills which is the rate it’s been at for the past several years.”

The city’s finance committee is recommending a 2% raise for all city employees.

Williams reported on specific areas of the budget include:

– Major and local Streets: “Revenues remained virtually the same while the expenditures decreased as we have no major projects planned in either fund.  I did budget a little heavier in winter maintenance in each fund just in case we see another winter like this past one.  Other than that it’s a pretty straight forward budget.”

– Refuse: “I am happy to report that we are actually predicting to have a little surplus in revenues over expenditures.  As we talked about at the last meeting we received a very favorable contract amount for our refuse service for the next three years.  With the new rate and us selling our own garbage bags I was able to lower the millage rate to 2.6 mills.”

– Downtown Development Authority/Main Street: “Revenues and expenditures are pretty close to where they were the previous year. The little bit of change is coming from addition of the Harvest Festival which falls under their fund. At this time we are predicting a slight increase of revenues over expenditures.”

– Water fund: “Revenues and expenditures have remained about the same.  We will still be working towards the water main replacement project, but I don’t believe any work will start within the new budget year, I think we are looking more at 2015/2016 for that project.  One item that the finance committee did talk about and we need to address this year is raising our rates to keep in line with the increases that Ludington is passing along to us.  I believe it is much easier to increase it slightly each year as we’re seeing the increases rather than a larger increase every five or so years.  At this time we did not budget for an increase, however, we will need to talk about it at an upcoming commission meeting.”

– Sewer fund: “The revenues and expenditures have remained pretty much the same as the past years.  As I noted at the last meeting we did receive the SAW Grant that we applied for and there may be some expenditures and offsetting revenues associated with that but I’m not sure when in 2015 that may start so we will need to either amend the budget if the project would start before the fiscal year is over, but more likely that project will be in the 2015/2016 budget year.  As with the water fund, we need to look at our rates here as well as Ludington is increasing them each year by the rate of inflation and we do not want to get behind and have to try to catch up later.”

– Motor Pool: “The fund shows an increase in expenditures mainly due to us budgeting to purchase a new dump truck which could cost as much as $90,000.  I am hoping to be able to use the state purchasing Program on the cab and chassis to help save some money, but it all depends on what the State contract has to offer.  It costs nearly as much to outfit the truck with the plow and sanding equipment as the cab and chassis cost.  This was the only capital expenditure we are planning for.  On the revenue side you will see a line item for loan proceeds, it is my recommendation we take out a loan on the purchase of the cab and chassis under an Act 99 loan program.  This would allow us to pay back that portion of the cost over 5 years and we can generally get a really good interest rate for that.  We have purchased our last few trucks with that method and it has worked very well for us.”

The city commission will vote on the budget at its May 5 regular meeting.

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