Clinton Township receives ‘unmodified’ audit

By: Dean Vaglia | C&G Newspapers | Published September 21, 2022

CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Auditors from Plante Moran presented a report of Clinton Township’s 2021-2022 fiscal year financial statements to the township board of trustees at its meeting on Sept. 12, giving the statements the highest praise of an “unmodified opinion.”

“Financially, you are in a position of strength, and you should be thrilled with that because you can make strategic positions on a go-forward basis in the best interests of the community,” said Dave Herrington, auditor for Plante Moran.

One notable aspect of the statements is a jump in general fund expenditures in 2023 and beyond, which auditors attributed to delayed capital improvement projects finally being scheduled to begin. The funds for police, fire, and water and sewer services also see increases over the coming years.

Township Treasurer Paul Gieleghem took time to explain a deficit in the general fund stating that the township is pre-funding its retiree health care and making “double contributions” to the health care fund. Gieleghem also explained factors on township revenue, particularly the Headlee Amendment.

“As you grow as a community, your millage rates have to be rolled back,” Gieleghem said. “More people moved in, they take your base year and say, ‘You’ve got this much over that base year; you need to roll your rate back.’ And so, there’s no real significant advantage from growth in many respects with Headlee.”

Ultimately, Gieleghem saw the increases as the township investing in its future and maintaining its place within metro Detroit’s “growing out” growth model, as Clinton Township moves from “an outer-ring suburb with growth to an inner-ring suburb with stagnant revenues and aging infrastructure.”

“In a sense, in southeast Michigan, we pay twice,” Gieleghem said. “We’re paying to develop all this new infrastructure, and we’re also paying to repair the aging infrastructure.”


Committee appointments
Several applicants to boards and committees were approved on Sept. 12 to serve on the groups they applied for.

John Stroh was approved to join the Conservation Committee, while Scott Gatti was reappointed to the Ethics Board.


Public safety recognition and changes
A number of items related to public safety came before the board at the meeting on Sept. 12.

First, the board accepted the donation of an automated external defibrillator (AED) from Medstar Ambulance, which will be installed in George George Park. The AED is designed for non-paramedics to properly use, with audio cues and instructions provided to guide the operator during an emergency.

During the consent agenda, the board gave the Clinton Township Fire Department permission to hire two new firefighters. Jack Patrick and Brandon Accurso will join the department as probationary firefighters. Both have experience in firefighting, with Patrick previously serving in Shelby Township and Accurso previously serving with the Fraser Public Safety Department.

The board unanimously passed a resolution recognizing September as National Suicide Prevention Month, particularly recognizing the effects suicide has on emergency services organizations. The National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline adopted 988 as its hotline phone number in July.

The board also gave the Clinton Township Police Department permission to scrap its old radar trailer, which is over 20 years old. The equipment on the trailer is obsolete and is not fit for resale. The police have a working radar trailer and the board expressed interest in purchasing a replacement radar trailer due to complaints from residents.