Westland Mayor William R. Wild presented a $70 million balanced budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22 to members of the city council last week for approval.
The proposed budget adds approximately $157,000 to the General Fund unassigned balance, preserving a “rainy day” fund balance at approximately $6.6 million.
Highlights of proposed budget include an overall taxable value increase of 3.30 percent; a provision to continue the city match for 13 federally-funded SAFER grant firefighters; an addition of a full-time Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) director as well as funding to research converting the vacant Marshall Middle School into a community recreation center. Funds are also allocated to create the first dog park and Pickle Ball courts in the city.
The budget includes an additional payment of $500,000 above costs, to lower the unfunded retiree healthcare (OPEB) liability. An additional $150,000 has also been allocated to offer cash incentives to retirees to discontinue the city healthcare coverage, which will reduce the costs long-term, Wild explained.
The budget allocates planned infrastructure expenditures of $4.2 million for the major and local roads throughout the city in 26 neighborhoods which includes 70 major and local roads. The budget also includes approximately $4.37 million to fund planned water and sewer capital projects in six neighborhoods and 37 roads throughout the 611 miles of water and sewer systems in Westland. Provisions were also made for an additional $1.2 million in capital improvements, including a new fire rescue vehicle; three new police patrol cars; a new electric community police vehicle; various DPS vehicles including a new sewer vactor truck; technology upgrades; bike lanes and sidewalk repairs.
Study sessions regarding the proposed budget will take place virtually on Saturday, April 24 and Saturday, May 1 although times are subject to change. Information on how the public can attend these virtual meetings along with the 2021-22 budget proposal are available at www.cityofwestland.com
“The city's finance team has worked very hard on this year's budget proposal,” commented Wild. “This proposed conservative budget allows for continued improvements to the city's neighborhood infrastructure, supports public safety and makes significant progress towards lowering unfunded pension and retiree healthcare obligation and honoring the city's commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.”
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