St. Clair Shores City Council approves budget amendments

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published July 17, 2021

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — Revenues as of the third quarter of the 2021 fiscal year were trending upward in St. Clair Shores, according to the city finance director.

Compared with the same time in 2020, Finance Director Laura Stowell said revenues are about $1.8 million higher, at 82% of budget as opposed to 80% in 2020, as of the end of the third quarter.

“We received more for the CARES Act,” she explained.

According to the report, $1.7 million of that increase can be attributed to CARES Act money. The CARES Act, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, is a $2.2 trillion federal economic stimulus bill signed into law in response to economic issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Some funds are trending lower, however, including the 40th District Court, which Stowell attributed to an inability, prior to the third quarter, for the court to hold trials, as well as a reduced number of tickets written by the St. Clair Shores Police Department. Ambulance service is also lagging behind the revenues expected by this time of the year, but she said she was told that it was due to a lag in the billing cycle.

“Hopefully, we will see that come up by the end of this month,” Stowell said.

Expenditures are on track in most departments, Stowell said, although the parks department is “significantly over” budget because of extensive park maintenance and work on the playgrounds.

“We are doing some budget amendments to address those issues,” she said.

That’s because money from the tax foreclosure fund will be covering the costs of improvements at the neighborhood parks, Councilman Chris Vitale said. The money raised from selling homes the city acquired in tax foreclosure and then renovated is “funding all of the parks improvements to the playscape areas,” Vitale said, in an effort to meet the goal of putting the money back into the neighborhoods.

Budget amendments included donations to the parks department, adjustments for overtime and $70,000 in miscalculated fringe benefits.

“We are adjusting the budget to reflect the sale of four homes and some miscellaneous parcels,” Stowell said, referring to a $178,000 increase included in the budget amendments.

Changes in the utility fund reflected higher than average attorney fees because of the stormwater utility charge lawsuit and a line for expenses related to high water emergencies, for which the city could not properly budget. Local water main replacements will be carried over to the next year’s budget, Stowell said, “so we’ll see less of that expenditure there.”