City council approves 2014-15 budget

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published July 10, 2014

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SOUTHFIELD — The Southfield City Council approved the city’s 2014-15 budget June 16 at a special meeting before the regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

The general fund total was set at just under $66.8 million, which is an increase of nearly $1.2 million, or 1.8 percent, from last year’s budget.

Mayor Brenda Lawrence said this year’s increase in funds for the budget is out of the norm for Southfield.

“This year’s budget was the first time we actually talked about increasing anything,” Lawrence said. “We’ve been in such a reduction mode — what can we fund and what can’t we fund.”

There were no significant cuts from the budget this year, officials said, but water and sewer service fees increased from $84.68 per resident last year to $90.05 per resident.

City Administrator Fred Zorn said the increases will fund road repairs, and work on water and sewer facilities.

“Our largest capital is in water and sewer. We also had a lot of roof replacement,” Zorn said.

Lawrence explained that improvements to city buildings, such as repairs to boilers and roofs, were put on hold in past years, due to cuts in the budget.

“I wanted to make sure that happened because it’s just like your home. If you don’t invest in your home, if you don’t fix the roof, it’ll leak and cause more damage,” Lawrence said.

No fund balance reserves will be utilized this year for general fund operations, officials say. The current fund balance for the city sits at around $16 million.

The mayor is responsible for reviewing the annual budget, which is prepared by the city administrator’s office. The mayor then presents the final budget to the City Council.

“We had a lot of dialogue about two issues: roads and capital improvement,” Lawrence said. 

After the untimely death of former City Administrator Jim Scharret in January, Lawrence said Zorn had to be quickly brought to speed on all things concerning the budget.

“We talked intimate details on the budget. We had meetings with departments, making sure he was up to date,” Lawrence said.

You can view a PDF of the budget meeting minutes at southfieldcitymi.minutesondemand.com.

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