Harrison Township adopts 2022 budget

By: Kristyne E. Demske | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published January 26, 2022

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HARRISON TOWNSHIP — With a levy of 8.7 mils, the Board of Trustees voted to adopt a balanced budget for the 2022 fiscal year.

“We work internally with department heads, talk about their budget. We then develop a preliminary budget, distribute it to the board and have a budget workshop,” said Supervisor Kenneth Verkest. “Truly, through the year, there are some significant expenses that we incur that we haven’t always said we’re going to budget for. Our budget is, typically, a conservative budget.”

The township anticipates receiving general fund revenues of $3,786,611 in 2022 and plans to use those revenues to budget the same for the upcoming fiscal year’s spending, which runs the calendar year of 2022.

Harrison Township has separate funds for the Economic Development Corporation, Fire Department, police services, parks and recreation, beautification, Downtown Development Authority, building, library, grants, American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) money, the 2020 bond issue debt service, water and sewer, drain district, and trash collection, with a total of $27,901,530 in anticipated revenues. Of that, $27,852,530 has been appropriated in the budget, with the Downtown Development Authority Fund only having $15,000 of its $64,000 in revenues appropriated for the 2022 fiscal year.

Verkest said Harrison Township hasn’t yet decided exactly how it will spend the $2.6 million in ARPA funds.

“We all agree that it should be on things that are universal,” he said.

One area that may see investment from the federal funds are the township’s bike paths. It is estimated that it will cost $750,000 for some necessary renovation and resurfacing of the path.

“It’s kind of a universal, connected feature, and it’s truly a significant need,” he said of the bike path.

The money may also be spent on hazard pay for first responders, and it may also use some of the funds as matching funds for county ARPA projects, which could include the resurfacing of North River Road, a project that Mount Clemens is also considering.

The township has also ordered two new ambulances for midsummer delivery. The first is being paid for with the bond issue, but the second could be financed and paid for with ARPA dollars, Verkest said.

“We’re, I believe, the only community in Macomb County that doesn’t levy a general fund millage,” he said. “Typically, by the end of the year, (through) just the general nature of using round numbers when you budget, (we) historically have seen a surplus by the end of the year because a lot of those budgetary figures are conservatively a little bit high.

“The budget reflects a very minor surplus. We usually do better than what the budget says.”

Harrison Township levies 8.7 mils per the charter for operations.

Speaking at the Dec. 13 meeting of the Board of Trustees, Verkest said they made some minor changes to the budget to account for some reductions in healthcare costs negotiated with the township’s bargaining units. The township was able to reduce the premiums of employees and retirees who receive healthcare from the township by 5% and put the resulting savings into a “slush fund” for each department.

Other projects planned for 2022 include the Prentiss Sewer lift station currently in design and, if the township can get grant dollars to fund the project, rebuilding the Waterfront Park seawall and shoreline.

“A lot of the work falls to our finance director. She’s done an outstanding job this year,” said Clerk Adam Wit. “It’s a big effort for her. You can tell by the fact that we’re getting changes today because it has to be just right.”

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