Village Manager Marsha Powers ...
HOLLY, Michigan – With $3,492,221 of total revenues in the village’s adopted budget, Village Manager Marsha Powers said projections of an 11.1 percent cut in state revenue sharing will leave the village with a $68,626 budget shortfall.
Village Council members met in a work session Tuesday evening to discuss ways in which they can bring the budget back into balance.
Powers said additional insurance costs for Teamsters employees as well as the legal fees for their contract negotiations added $34,650 onto this year’s proposed expenditures. Additionally, a tax adjustment for a village parcel sold through a tax sale, which was originally covered by the county, was charged back to the village in the amount of $11,356.
On the positive side, Powers said council had come up with a few ways to save money. “The fire truck – we paid that payment out of the motor pool so that saves $40,123 that was originally budgeted,” she said. “We got the $2,500 grant from Consumers Power for the trees, and if we look to not participate in the Tri Party Program this year, that’s $9,236.”
The adjusted proposed expenditures, according to Powers is $3,486,270, rendering the village a shortage of $62,675.
“I think council pretty much knows the budget was put together without extras – we took out training, we took out any memberships that we don’t need to have, we took out projects other than maintenance that we felt we needed to do to the buildings to just keep things to the point that down the road we wouldn’t have to do twice as much,” Powers said.
Powers said in addition to everything else, the village had an additional payment for the upcoming year for the new heating and cooling system at the village offices. “We all know where that boiler system was – it was a hazard,” she said.
“We feel that we’d rather have all our employees than see an employee totally laid off,” Powers said before addressing proposed staffing reductions in the way of reducing hours worked per week.
Reducing 2.5 hours a week per employee, according to Powers could save the village $3,042.84 per month, or a total of $12,932 for the current fiscal year, November through June. Accordingly, a 4-hour reduction per week, per employee would save $4,868.54 per month or $20,691 from November through June, and an 8-hour reduction per week, per employee would save $9,737.07 per month or $41,383 for the rest of the fiscal year.
Powers said she has a meeting set up with a union representative for Oct. 27 at which time she will discuss possible hourly reductions for village employees.
“I did write a letter to the union and am meeting with that representative next Tuesday because we do need to get union approval in order to cut employees’ hours,” she said. “I did reiterate to him that obviously we want to keep people working even if it’s at a reduced amount of hours.”
Additionally, Powers said she and department heads discussed possible position eliminations, including the police department’s lieutenant position currently staffed by Lt Det. Scott Fischer.
“We would be looking at eliminating the lieutenant position but making an offer that Scott Fischer would return to sergeant status and one of the sergeants would be laid off,” Powers said.
“You’re looking at eliminating a position from the police department when the police department recently went through contract negotiations – they bargained in good faith,” Fischer said. “Everyone in the department took a pay freeze and a reduction in benefits and yet we’re the ones getting hit or eliminating the only position.”
Councilwoman Reisa Hamilton also had her reservations about possible police cuts. “If we’re hoping to be able to contract with the township at some point, we can’t afford to let an officer go right now,” she said. “We need them.”
Councilman Bill Kuyk said if the village were to strike a deal with the township, he didn’t think that would happen until next year.
Powers said she spoke with Village President Pete Clemens, who indicated that the police services agreement was, “pretty much a dead issue.”
“It was something about the Holly Township Public Safety Committee making some counter offer for $98,000 and I told him we didn’t have any of that information unless they discuss it at the township meeting tomorrow night,” Powers said.
In a letter to Powers dated Oct. 12, Holly Township Public Safety Committee members Mike Gould and Mark Diaz asked council to consider a counter offer of $98,000 for the extension of police services to the township’s proposed Special Assessment District.
“We plan to schedule another community meeting as soon as possible to review both bids and the scopes of services offered,” the letter read in reference to the original bids received from the Village of Holly and the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. “However, in order to maximize our chance of success, we wish to counter your proposal of $107, 114 with $98,000 which we believe would be far more palatable to the residents.”
“We haven’t received a bid from the township for a contract on police services, have we?” Councilman Tom McKenney asked Powers.
Powers said the village had not received any correspondence from the Holly Township Public Safety Committee or the township.
“You can’t have an intergovernmental agreement by yourself,” McKenney said. “You’ve got to have the township, so I’m going to keep asking that question.”
“Well, it is what it is and if they want it, that’s the price,” Hamilton agreed
Transfers from the general fund, according to Powers, are another budgeting hurdle faced by the village. Powers said routine transfers to the parks, cemetery, major and local streets and building department add up to a lot of expenditures.
Powers said eliminating Porta Johns from all parks, and limiting mowing to one to two times per month instead of weekly could add up to a savings of $16,000.
“The mowing contract is around $22,000,” Powers said. “They mow all the right of ways, all the parks, all the lift stations, the fire department – basically all the buildings and grounds of the village."
Winglemire eventually made a motion to hold off on any budgeting decisions until Powers has the chance to speak with union officials regarding possible hourly reductions.
“Obviously, it isn’t easy having to be in this position and do this, but we aren’t alone,” Powers said. “Every community is going through the same thing – Troy is looking at cutting work staff in half, but for us this may be a Band Aid for now,” she added. “Come July, if we look at another $145,000 to $150,000 in tax revenue loss, we won’t have 2 mills of police money, and we’ll be almost $300,000 short come the 2010-2011 budget.”
Powers is expected to give council members an update at the next Village Council meeting scheduled for Oct. 27.