Township forecasts $500,000 turnaround in 2012 final budget

By: Brad D. Bates | Shelby - Utica News | Published February 20, 2013

SHELBY TOWNSHIP — Shelby Township Supervisor Richard Stathakis hopes to announce a $500,000 turnaround in the 2012 general fund budget March 5.

Fewer than three months after he outlined how the general fund budget, which accounts for all township expenses outside of the Police, Fire and Public Works departments, would face a deficit for the first time in his tenure as supervisor, Stathakis said several factors will see that likely change to a fourth consecutive general fund surplus.

“Yes we’re going to have a surplus, but we’re not going to be able to report the number until March,” Stathakis said Feb. 14, noting the final number will likely range between a $100,000 and $150,000 surplus.

“The reason is, we have some credit debits and credits coming in for some Van Dyke easements between 25 and 26 Mile roads.

“Until those easements are settled, until the (county) road commission can come up with the dollar amounts in the next couple of weeks, then and only then will we have the surplus total completed.”

Along with the road construction credits, Financial Management Director Kathleen Moore said that a combination of a decrease in costs, frugal management and an increase in revenue led to the turnaround.

“State-shared revenue was $107,000 more than budgeted … and state-shared revenue is the largest revenue source for the general fund,” Moore said of the increase in revenue.

“Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer, Parks and Recreation — even though we still have bills outstanding, all departments are under budget by $15,000,” Moore added.

“Health care is self-funded, and we don’t get the claims information until way after the year is over, so we use the budgeted amounts Blue Care gives us,” Moore said. “And once the year was over, we were under. Everyone was healthier than they had been prior years.

“So when you throw all that together, I’m hopeful that the general fund will have a small surplus of $100,000, rather than a general fund usage of $400,000.”

Along with the overall good news that the township will increase its general fund savings from its mark of $15.8 million after 2011, Moore said that other revenues might lead to even brighter times ahead.

“Building permit (revenue is) another thing that we haven’t been able to predict with any certainty, but when you hear and see we’re $200,000 over budget there, it’s kind of like this little Shelby bubble,” Moore said of the signs that the building and development markets in Shelby are on the upswing.

“There’s something wonderful happening in Shelby that building permits are up, so we were very conservative (predicting) that budget and very happy that we’re $200,000 more in that line item.”

Despite the possible bump in development, Stathakis said he is still tentative with hopes for 2013 and a fifth-consecutive general fund budget surplus.

“With declining revenue every year, and 2013 will be no different, it has increasingly become more challenging to find savings, as we have pretty much picked all the low-hanging fruit,” Stathakis said. “We’re now climbing the trees and searching and creating more opportunities.

“2013 will also be our most challenging year, as revenues will sink to their lowest point. We’re hoping, and have budgeted accordingly, that 2014 will show an increase in revenues for the first time since 2008.”

And Stathakis said he feels that, if any community is in position to weather one more year of a financial downturn, it is the “team” in place in Shelby Township.

“I want to thank the teamwork and creativity of our general employees, who continue to come to work every day and figure out how to do more with less without cutting services,” Stathakis said.

“And the past board, loaded primarily with fiscal conservatives, have done an excellent job in making decisions that indeed do deliver the best service possible to our residents in the most productive way.”