Members of the Westland City Council last week approved a $70 million balanced budget proposal for fiscal year 2021-22. The budget adds approximately $42,000 to the General Fund unassigned balance, preserving a “rainy day” fund balance at approximately $6.5 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, funding for an additional police officer, 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. The budget also includes funding for the creation of the first dog park and Pickle Ball Courts in the city.
An additional payment of $500,000 above costs in earmarked to lower the unfunded retiree healthcare (OPEB) liability in the city while an additional $150,000 has also been allocated to offer cash incentives to retirees to discontinue the city healthcare coverage, which will reduce costs long-term.
The budget allocates planned infrastructure expenditures of $4.2 million for 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. 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, along with technology upgrades, bike lanes and sidewalk repairs.
“The city's finance team has worked very hard on this year's budget proposal,” commented Mayor William 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.”