June 13, 2013If anyone is looking for details in next year's budget for Grosse Pointe Park, a look at last year's budget may give them all the information they need.
"The 2013-2014 budget is a mirror image of last year's budget," city manager Dale Krajniak told the city council at a public hearing May 29. "The general fund budget is $9.8 million, which is almost identical to last year's figure."
Krajniak told the council the city anticipates property values to rise, which would bring in additional tax dollars in future years, but this year the city is still facing a reduction in property tax revenue. This year's drop in revenue amounted to $240,000, which has been offset by the city reducing expenditures by $250,000.
The city's millage rate will remain the same, 14.95 mills per $1,000 of taxable value. This places the Park at its Headlee Amendment cap.
Of concern to several council members is the lack of funding for road repairs in the new budget. With 36 miles of roads, including 10 miles of what are classified as "major streets" to maintain, the lack of funds for capital improvement was something many felt the city needed to address.
"We will be doing an assessment of what we need to do for road reconstruction over the next five years," Krajniak told the council.
The major portion of the budget, 60 percent, goes to public safety, which another ten percent going to the parks and recreation department.
While the Park is holding the line of expenditures it can control, it is passing along one rate increase to residents, who will see a five percent increase in their water bills.
"The City of Detroit has notified us of a five percent rate increase," Krajniak told the council, noting rates for water and sewage from the Detroit system have increased about 40 percent over the past five years. While two separate rate adjustments were discussed by council, they settled on a flat rate increase to be passed along to residents.
This also sparked discussion about what had become of the Park's plan to build its own water plant which would allow it to withdraw from the City of Detroit's system.
"We still have permits in place to build our own water plant," Krajniak told the council, which prompted Mayor Palmer Heenan to tell the council it might be time to think about "our own water system."
The Park's 2013-2014 budget, which was passed unanimously by the council, is available for resident review on the city's website, grossepointepark.org.