2019-20 Park budget parallels its predecessor

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 28, 2019

GROSSE POINTE PARK — Grosse Pointe Park officials say the budget for the 2019-20 fiscal year — which begins July 1 — is fairly similar to the current budget.

During a meeting May 13, the Park City Council unanimously voted in favor of the new budget and millage rates.

The general fund budget of about $11.8 million is up roughly 2% from 2018-19, City Manager Dale Krajniak said. During a council work session on the budget May 7, Krajniak said property taxes — the largest single source of revenue in the city — are “rising only” 2.4%. Another major source of income, state-shared revenues, are “only up slightly,” by an estimated $70,000 over last year’s levels, Krajniak said. State-shared revenues for the coming year are projected to be just over $1.155 million.

“Overall, revenues are down significantly” because the debt payment on the sewer bond “is (now) completely paid off,” he said.

Each department in the city is seeing a revenue increase of about 2%, Krajniak said.

Staffing levels are remaining the same, he said.

Millages for the coming fiscal year, all of which were approved by the Park City Council, are 11.0654 for operating, 1.6381 for rubbish, 1 for roads, 2.6846 for public safety, 0.0812 for communications and 0.94 for bond debt, according to Finance Director Jane Blahut. That brings the overall rate to 17.4093 mills, down from 18.4268 mills for 2018-19.

Because of rising legacy costs, “We are paying an additional $200,000 (toward) the pension” in 2019-20, Blahut said.

Most of the millages in the Park are actually down slightly from 2018-19 levels because of the Headlee rollback. According to the Michigan Municipal League, 1978’s Headlee Amendment to the Michigan State Constitution “requires a local unit of government to reduce its millage when annual growth on property is greater than the rate of inflation.”

Because the city won’t be using the $110,000 it had set aside for 2018-19 for Rocket Fiber, Krajniak said they’ll be using most of that money to plant additional trees. He said a tree survey by administrators found close to 200 areas that could use trees, so the city “will step up” its tree planting program this year. Krajniak said the city can reduce its costs by 40% by having the city’s Department of Public Works staffers plant the trees themselves rather than contracting this work out.

“We utilize our own people for just about everything,” City Councilman Daniel Clark said.

Krajniak agreed. He said the DPW staffers “are not your typical public works staff.” In the Park, he said, they include licensed plumbers and electricians.

Capital improvement expenditures for the coming year include City Hall repairs, kayaks for the parks, replacement equipment for public safety and other purchases. Krajniak said they will probably need to do deferred maintenance on City Hall and the attached Public Safety Department building over the next seven years, since needed work includes a new City Hall roof, new windows for the Public Safety Department and other big-ticket items.