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Published: Wednesday, 6/9/2010

Bedford Township budget lacks big cuts, layoffs

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Cost-cutting moves made two years ago during the depths of Michigan's economic slowdown are paying off for Bedford Township.

The township board last week approved the budget for the 2010-11 fiscal year without drastic cuts or employee layoffs.

Trustee Paul Francis credited austere moves the township made in 2008 and 2009 for having a positive effect on next year's spending plan.

At the same meeting, the township board amended the fiscal budget ending June 30 to reflect a $165,000 surplus that will be carried over into next year's budget.

The township projects next year's operating budget will be $3,598,220, about $145,000 more than the budget year ending June 30.

The projection includes expenditures exceeding revenues by about $105,000.

Mr. Francis said the township finances, when compared to other municipalities in the state, are in good shape. "Typically we try to break even. We will be coming in about $180,000 the other way for next year. We will be spending a little bit of this year's surplus next year," said Mr. Francis, a member of the board's budget committee.

The balance sheet shows the township has more than $1.1 million in savings.

In April, 2009, the township, heading off anticipated cuts in state revenue sharing and real estate taxes, gave pink slips to a handful of employees to offset a projected $750,000 deficit.

The cutbacks included laying off the receptionist in the township government building and two employees in the building inspection department, reducing another worker's hours, and slashing the finance director's salary.

The measures were taken after the budget was reviewed by Mr. Francis and the two other budget review committee members, Supervisor Walt Wilburn and Trustee Larry O'Dell.

"By making those cuts we hopefully won't have big layoffs in the future," Mr. Francis said. "We made the big cuts two years ago."

The budget once again does not pay for neighborhoods to be sprayed for mosquitoes. The township cut the $25,000 expense to operate the program from the budget last year.

The township will pay about $88,000 more to operate the police department, in part because of a 3 percent pay increase for deputies.

The new budget does not give employee raises. It will be the second consecutive year for the wage freeze.

On the revenue side, the township projects receiving about $70,000 less from the state in tax sharing and collecting about $60,000 less in real estate tax revenues because of reduced assessments on property.



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