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West Bloomfield sees small increase in 2016 recommended general fund budget

By: Mike Koury | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published December 16, 2015

WEST BLOOMFIELD — At the Dec. 7 West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees meeting, the board members unanimously approved the recommended budget for 2016.

The recommended general fund budget for 2016 sees a 2.69 percent increase from the 2015 projected budget, from $20,797,805 to $21,357,500. The public safety budget also sees an increase, from $31,672,645 to $33,381,050.

Total expenditures come to $24,213,350, more than what the recommended budget will be for 2016, but this is normal, said Budget Manager Teresa Jabonski.

Jabonski said the difference in the money will be made up using the fund balance, which uses money that was saved or that wasn’t used in previous years.

“You can never approve a budget that has a negative fund balance,” she said. “So you can spend more than you take in, as long as you have fund balance.”

Some of the money in the fund balance goes as far back as 2008, Jabonski said, when projects were canceled or delayed because of the economy.

“We had a lot of capital improvement projects … that were put on hold when times were hard, from 2008 on, that were kind of put on hold,” she said. “They’re finally starting to address some fire station renovations and repairs that need to be done.

“When times were bad and we didn’t know what was going to happen, the township did a lot of cost cutting, and we put a lot of projects on hold until we weathered that storm,” she said. “I think now we’re starting to look at spending some of it towards the projects that really need to be done.”

Trustee Larry Brown said that in addition to fixing public buildings and fire stations in the township, they’ll also be improving some local roads in partnership with the county, such as Maple Road and the intersection of Orchard Lake and Maple roads.

“We’ve added personnel to the police and fire (departments),” he said. “This is the public’s money and we’re very cautious.”

The township also made an 18-minute informational video about the budget for residents to watch and learn where money will be spent. It can be found at wbtownship.org.