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Budget balancing challenge

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:21 PM

The proposed new budget calls for a total of $2.36 million in revenues and $2.43 million in spending, ending with a $71,500 general fund deficit.

Township Manager Gordon Gallagher said the shortage is due to remodeling the township's fire barn on 174th Avenue. Upgrading it for training and fire use will cost $75,000 each of the next four years, according to the manager.

Gallagher said the difference will be covered by the township's reserve fund, which totals $1.4 million.

“We don't anticipate there will be an ongoing deficit,” he said. “Last year we had a balanced budget, but the two previous years we had a projected deficit. We did not end the year in a deficit in each of those years. We certainly want to hold the line on spending.”

While spending is projected to go up by nearly 6 percent, township revenues are also forecast to go up — by nearly 3 percent from last year — due to a bump in population and an increase in taxable property values.

The good news for taxpayers is the township's operating millage rate of 0.96 mill will remain unchanged.

No residents commented at Monday's budget public hearing.

The Township Board is expected to adopt the budget after its March 25 annual meeting, scheduled for 6 p.m. at Spring Lake Township Hall, 106 S. Buchanan St.

The budget includes a 2 percent raise for staff members and a 6 percent pay hike for Gallagher. The manager's salary will go up from $81,046 to $86,046 a year.

To read more of this story, see Saturday’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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