By Jim Newell
The Lake Orion Village Council held public hearing on the proposed 2017-18 fiscal year budget at its meeting May 8, and is expected to vote on adopting the budget at its May 22 meeting.
Only one person addressed the council during the hearing.
Also at the May 22 meeting, the council could also vote on increasing the property taxes on ad valorem property tax. The proposed 0.365 millage increase in the operating tax millage to be levied in 2017 would increase the operating revenue from ad valorem property taxes by 3.12 percent for the village.
The tax would only apply to new investment or on homes that are sold and “uncapped” from the Headlee Amendment, said Village Manager Joe Young. The 2017 tax millage rate of 10.1136 mills is proposed to remain the same as in 2016.
The ad valorem property tax – the tax most people are familiar with in regard to their property taxes – is the tax levied as a millage rate multiplied by a portion of a property’s market value. The portion is called a “taxable value.”
The village’s fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30, 2018, so the council must adopt a budget before the start of the fiscal year.
Residents can view the budget at the village clerk’s office.
The 2017-18 budget includes:
A beginning and ending General Fund balance of $444,855, with $1.652 million in expected revenues, $1.652 million in expenditures.
A total beginning fund balance of $8.452 million, with $5.869 million in expected revenues and $6.045 million in expenditures. The ending total fund balance of $8.276 million represents a $176,268 deficit.
Police services actually decreased by about $23,000, from the original proposed $805,196 to $782,656.
Young said the police budget decrease was due to eliminating a part time clerk at the police station on Saturdays ($6,109 saved), reducing commercial motor vehicle enforcement by $5,000 and cuts in training and education costs and other miscellaneous expenses.
The LOPD also has a dedicated police millage that covers about $354,000 of the department’s operating costs annually. The remaining costs are covered from the village’s general fund and other miscellaneous revenues. Voters approved the police millage in the Nov. 8, 2016 election.
Current real property taxes for 2017-18 are budgeted at $954,554, with total estimated revenues coming in at $1.652 million in the General Fund.
Total estimated major street fund revenues is projected at $175,350, while the local street fund is projected at $108,500, with matching expenses for each account.
The Downtown Development Authority total estimated revenue is $1.013 million for 2017-18, with $580,000 of that coming from property tax captures in the DDA district.
Part of the DDA’s revenue also comes from a TAP Grant – $263,232 – which will be used for the Paint Creek Trail extension.
Other DDA “revenues” are pass-throughs, meaning they will be given to other departments, such as $73,332 to the police department and $31,200 to the village DPW for contract services.
The council also discussed having the DDA cover $20,000 of the village planner’s costs.
The village planner currently works two days per week but under 2017-18 budget the planner would be reduced to one day per week.
The council said if the DDA provided the additional funds, the planner could remain at two days per week. The council justified the request by stating that the planner – who reviews, processes and makes recommendations on permits, proposed development and building plans and projects – benefits the businesses in the Downtown Development Authority District.
“I would ask if there are any other opportunities that you would know of that the DDA could help with,” said Councilmember Steve Watson.
“We continue to look at the revenue and expenses of the DDA,” Council President Ken Van Portfliet said.
DDA Executive Director Molly LaLone said the money the DDA collects is designated for economic development of the business district and is regulated by the state.
By Jim Newell