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Posted: 02/13/13

WT budgets starting to
see increased revenue

Observer Special Writer
      It looks like it will be another year in the black for Washington Township's water and sewer and building funds.
       A budget presentation during the Feb. 6 Board of Trustees meeting outlined the plans for the two enterprise funds.
       The two funds receive their money exclusively from revenue and not taxpayer money.
       In the past, the building fund operated in the red for several years and was propped up by loans from the township's general fund to keep it afloat. Reducing the staff from six to three full time office staff, using the building inspectors on a paid-on-call basis, pay freezes, and shouldering some ordinance enforcement duties helped shape up the building department.
       As of December, the building department had $425,000 in revenue, $150,000 of that was income. The fiscal year ends in March, so there's still time to generate more revenue.
       Supervisor Dan O'Leary said the building fund has been paying the general fund back and will likely take half of the revenue made as payment towards the general fund.
       For the new budget, O'Leary said they are figuring 105 single family permits, one commercial project, which will bring in $20,000, and 150 miscellaneous permits such as decks, for example. He said they also plan to continue with the paid-on-call model.
       The Water and Sewer Department had also cut costs with staff reductions and added responsibilities to their employees. O'Leary said they have taken on more of a public works role, handling snow removal and watershed ordinance work. However, going into the new budget year, the department will handle less of those duties.
       For the new budget they plan to bring back one field worker and a part time clerical worker.
       O'Leary is hopeful for the new budget. He said there are seven new subdivisions in the works in the 800 to 1,000 unit range, commercial activity such as a brewery and pizzeria and talks of two assisted living facilities.
       "We're starting to see, finally, a little rumbling in the commercial market," he said.
       These new developments will bring in building permits and possibly tap fees for the water and sewer department, which all mean revenue.
       The board will vote on this budget as well as the general fund budget in March.

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