Orion Twp. board passes balanced budget for fiscal year 2019

By Jim Newell

Review Editor

The Orion Township Board of Trustees unanimously approved the 2019 fiscal year budget resolution during its meeting Monday night after a public hearing on the proposed budget.

The board did have to dip into the general fund balance to offset the difference in estimated revenues and costs.

“We’ve been hard at work at this…the highlights that I would include are that we are passing a balanced budget again this year,” said Supervisor Chris Barnett during board comments. “We’re are adopting our budget for 2019 and it’s a lot of work and it’s the most important job that we all do up here (on the board). Lots and lots of hours have gone into this.”

The township’s fiscal year is from Jan. 1 – Dec. 31, 2019.

The budget approval came after a public hearing in which no one addressed the board. Clerk Penny Shults also informed the board that her office had not received any communications on the proposed budget.

The board has held several public budget workshops with department heads to go over the projected budgets, and four public hearings – on the tax rate millage levies and proposed budget – over the past three months in preparation for presenting the 2019 balanced budget.

Barnett also noted that while the township doesn’t collect money for roads, the township does put up some initial funds for special assessment districts to repair the roads.

“(The budget) might look a little bit skewed, but we are spending money for a SAD on Central Drive that we will be reimbursed for by the residents that live there, so that will bring this into balance,” he said.

The township also set the 2019 millage rates and will levy and collect “the general property tax on all real and personal property…upon the current tax roll an amount equal to 9.1777 mills as authorized under state law and approved by the electorate,” according to the budget resolution.

“The millage rate in support of the 2019 budgets were adopted (at) Sept. 17, 2018 meeting following the truth in budgeting public hearing,” Shults said.

Of the 9.1777 mills, 7.5699 mills are for “township purposes”, 1.366 mills are the library millage and 0.2405 mills are for the North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) millage.

Estimated township revenues for 2019 are $6.387 million, down nearly $460,000 from the 2018 projected budget revenues. The 2018 amended budget revenue was $10.084 million.

Estimated general fund expenditures for 2019 are $6.731 million. The township used $344,561 from the general fund balance to balance the 2019 budget and cover the difference between estimated revenues and budgeted expenses.

The township’s general fund balance is now estimated to be $6.069 million, down from $6.414 million.

The largest appropriation from the general fund is $2.013 million for general activities, although that expenditure is down from $3.724 million the previous year.

In the Aug. 7 primary election, voters approved a 5-year, 1-mill parks and recreation millage request to fund parks operations and programs. The millage is expected to bring in more than $1.6 million in the first year.

Other general fund appropriations include $984,880 for the building department, $627,150 for the clerk’s office, $451,805 for the supervisor’s office, $433,375 for the treasurer’s office, $293,860 for the assessing department, $328,700 for building and ground, $315,000 for the attorney, $584,900 for highways and streets and $344,225 for the planning commission.

Estimated reveues for the fire fund are $3.574 million and expenditure are $3.503 million, increasing the fire fund balance by $70,633 to $606,189.

The police fund’s estimated revenues are nearly $5 million, with appropriations of $4.89 million, increasing the fund balance by $109,630 to $368,884.

The Parks & Recreation Department’s estimated revenues are $3.299 million, with expenditures of $3.266 million, and an ending fund balance of $32,603.

The Water & Sewer Department’s estimated revenues are $11.587 million, with expenses of $13.327 million, reducing the department’s fund balance by $1.74 million to $66.796 million. The department’s expenses include $1.25 million for improvements to the DPW garage and $500,000 for water main improvements.

The township’s 2019 fiscal year budget is available for review at the clerk’s office.