Thursday, April 29, 2021

City schedules public hearing on budget

A public hearing on the City of Northville 2022 budget is set for 7 p.m. May 17.

Members of the city council have been reviewing the budget during recent meetings with City Manager Pat Sullivan who detailed anticipated revenue and several larger expenses. Among those, he said during an overview of the budget, are street construction and parking repaving, and the renovation of the fire station. Unfunded pensions continue to be a large expense but that liability is being paid down steadily over time, Sullivan told the council members. He said the liability for retiree healthcare benefits (OPEB) is now fully funded. 

Finance Director Sandi Wiktorowski also responded to questions by council members with added input from department directors. 

Council members asked about the replacement of water meters and the cost required to read those meters. Approximately 400 residents are still using old meters, and those have become more difficult to manually read as they are scattered throughout the city, officials said.  The city-wide meter replacement program has slowed down due to the pandemic. Once this program is complete, additional cost savings are expected in next year's budget, they said.

No amounts from the American Rescue Plan Act were included in this budget since distribution of $4 billion allocated to local governments within Michigan is not yet finalized, Sullivan noted. Local government funds will be distributed in two equal branches, the first by May 10, and the second by March 11, 2022. The ARP law allows until the end of 2024 to use this community investment.

Funds allocated from each of the State Fiscal Recovery Fund and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund may be used to: respond to the COVID-19 emergency and address economic effects, including through aid to households, small businesses, nonprofits, and impacted industries such as tourism and hospitality; provide premium pay to essential employees of state or local governments or make grants to the employers of essential employees. Premium pay may not exceed $13 per hour or $25,000 per worker; provide government services to the extent of any revenue reduction resulting from COVID-19 or make necessary investments in water, sewer or broadband infrastructure. 

State and local governments cannot use the funds to make pension payments or to offset revenue losses resulting from any tax cut, tax delay or tax rebate enacted after March 3, 2021.