Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Van Buren Township adopts 2020 budget

Members of the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees approved the $17.6  million 2020 general fund budget by a 5-1 vote at the regular meeting Oct. 15.
The dissenting vote was cast by Trustee Paul White. Township Treasurer Sharry Budd did not attend the meeting.
Also approved were the 2019 amended special revenue budget and the 2020 proposed special revenue budget and the water and sewer budget which includes a 5 percent raise in costs to water users in the township beginning Jan. 1, 2020. That cost is estimated at $8 or $9 quarterly for an average user in the township.

White said his no vote was based on inappropriate raises in the threat of a future economic downturn and the situation with the unmet bond payments by Visteon.
Township Clerk Leon Wright, however, defended the budget noting that Township Supervisor Kevin McNamara had explained the reasons for salary increases during study sessions regarding the budget.
White, however, said he “was not happy with the budget.” 
“We're not in the business to make money, but to collect taxes and provide services,” Wright said in response to White's comments about how business worked at Kroger's from where he retired.
At the beginning of the budget discussion, McNamara explained that there was a $600,000 reduction in the budget, from $18.3 million last year to $17.6 million.
McNamara said the township is completing the rebuilding of facilities and other progress includes six full-time fire fighters for the first time. He mentioned the two Iron Belle Trail projects, one in the final construction stages from Edgemont to Riggs Park, with grants from the state plus $100,000 from the township. The second project is the trail at Old Denton Road and Van Buren Park, which received  a $500,000 federal grant through the county.
McNamara said the township received grants for French Landing Park and an additional $31,000 is being added to the county budget for this park. He noted that Van Buren received more than $1 million in grants from the county.
Prior to the vote, McNamara requested two changes to the proposed budget that evening. He requested the move of the REAL [Revealing Exceptionally Amazing Leaders] program budget from the Human Resources Department into the supervisor's office and proposed the addition of $100,000 to the fire department for wages as an anticipated grant for wages for the six new firefighters had not been received.