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Posted: 01/22/14

Bruce officials take first
look at 2014-15 budget

by CHRIS GRAY
Observer Staff Writer
      Preliminary budget talks for Bruce Township show a $1 million budget that includes elections, paving on a major road and increases in revenue thanks to recovering property activities.
       The Board of Trustees reviewed a preliminary budget for the 2014-15 year at its Jan. 15 meeting, which shows slight increases in revenue thanks to a potential comeback in housing, but new expenses for elections and the paving of 34 Mile Road.
       The budget shows revenue and expenses balancing out at $1 million, down slightly from the amended 2013-14 budget of $1.1 million. On the revenue side, the budget shows a slight increase to real property taxes, going from $331,300 to $338,821 in the coming year. State revenue sharing will also see a modest increase of $7,000 for a total of $520,000.
       Clerk Susan Brockmann said building permits are on the rise, resulting in a predicted $60,000 in revenue for 2014-15. This is a significant increase over the original 2013-14 amount of $40,000.
       "I think that is even conservative with the $60,000 because we're already at $56,000 this year and we have a couple of projects that could be coming around the bend here hopefully," Brockmann said.
       A 1 percent administration fee the board approved last year will return, collecting $123,800 when combined with the regular $1.50 per parcel collection. The other major adjustment to revenue was a drop in miscellaneous, which will go from $43,925 to $7,500. The significant plunge is contributed to a one-time check Enbridge Energy provided to the township for purchasing land as part of its pipeline project.
       A major adjustment to expenditures will be the payments for a $569,620 loan the township took out to pay its portion of a federal grant match. The grant will pay for the paving of 34 Mile Road from Campground to Fisher roads. In the budget, the 12-year loan is shown as a $49,970 expense under street improvement, which includes a $2,500 fee for filing the loan through Macomb County.
       The budget also includes funding for limestone treatments to dirt roads in the township. The program is offered by the Macomb County Department of Roads as a way of managing dust problems on non-paved roads.
       In other expenditures, elections will see an increase with two elections this year, rising from $46,360 to $52,117. Brockmann explained last year the township was reimbursed for 2013, but doesn't see money back for the gubernatorial elections.
       Affordable Care Act expenses were calculated into the budget, which officials said are about $2,000 a month beginning this month and mostly affects the fire department. Brockmann said retirees will be covered by the budget this year without having to dip into any reserve funds. The budget shows retiree health insurance at $37,700 for 2014-15.
       Brockmann said the township's property on 34 Mile Road needs roofing work, so property maintenance was increased from $0 to $5,000 to handle the work. Similarly, building maintenance will go up from $3,000 to $6,000 to address insulation issues at the Township Hall.
       A budget workshop is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Feb. 19. A public hearing on the budget will be held during the board's regular March meeting. The budget must be approved by March 31.


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