Grosse Pointe Shores ends most recent fiscal year with budget surplus

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published October 27, 2020

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GROSSE POINTE SHORES — Grosse Pointe Shores officials revealed some positive financial news during the most recent Shores City Council meeting via Zoom Oct. 20.

City Councilwoman Sandra Cavataio, chair of the Finance Committee, said the city ended the 2019-20 fiscal year June 30 with a surplus of about $64,000. She said the savings could be attributed to several factors, including unfilled job vacancies and a late opening for the Osius Park pool and limited pool hours this summer due to COVID-19.

However, Cavataio warned that the surplus wasn’t going to be a regular occurrence. For one, the council agreed to hire a new city manager Oct. 20, a position that has been vacant for more than a year. The city expects to hire a new executive administrative assistant, as well; that position has also remained open for more than a year.

“This savings will likely not happen again,” Cavataio told the council. “We have to be very careful when we establish our (financial) needs for department heads.”

Department heads usually submit lists of equipment they’d like to purchase in advance of the budgeting process. Those purchases are either included in the budget, altered or omitted, based on overall projected expenditures and revenues for the coming year.

Cavataio said the city also will likely be hiring a new actuary soon. She said they recently received three quotes from actuaries to compare.

“This change will have substantial savings,” said Cavataio, predicting that the Shores should be able to shave its actuarial costs roughly in half.

Mayor Ted Kedzierski said that, in recent years, actuarial costs have shot up for cities because of new state mandates. He said the Shores has been spending approximately $37,000 on actuarial reports of late, whereas the city was “only (paying about) $7,500 a couple of years ago” for actuarial services.

It wasn’t known at press time when the Shores might be voting on a new actuarial contract. The Shores Pension Commission is expected to address this issue at its meeting in November. At press time, that meeting was slated to take place at 7:30 a.m. Nov. 12, but it wasn’t known if the meeting would be in person at City Hall or a remote meeting via Zoom.