GH Twp. approves new budget

Grand Haven Township officials are prepared for a new budget year and a big project in 2014.
Alex Doty
Dec 14, 2013

The township operates its budget on a calendar year, as opposed to a fiscal year like most other local communities.

The Township Board recently approved next year's budget of more than $10 million.

“The total budgeted revenue is $9.1 million, with expenses of $10.7 million,” Township Manager Bill Cargo said. “... The difference of (about) $1.5 million is a planned reduction (in the general fund) due to a construction project."

The planned project is the township’s $2 million Downtown Development Authority improvements to 172nd Avenue and Johnson Street. The work will include a two-lane street configuration with new curbs and gutters, storm sewer, 5-foot-wide sidewalk, sanitary sewer extension along Johnson, and water main replacement. If money is available, 172nd Avenue north of Comstock Street would also be repaved.

Also next year, Cargo said township property owners would experience a decrease in their tax bills. That’s because of a planned decrease of 0.69 mill in the township millage rate.

Other budget highlights include a slight increase in property tax revenue and a 1.6 percent cost-of-living wage increase for township employees — something some on the board were concerned about in part because of a forthcoming salary and benefits study.

“We’re doing a cost-of-living increase, and what will happen when we do this wage and salary study?” Trustee Mike Hutchins asked. “What are we going to do if we are way over? Are we going to take money and benefits from them?”

Should the study show township salaries out of line, Cargo said one option would be to freeze the wages of anyone with an above-average salary.

“What we’d have to do is figure out what reductions need to occur,” he said.

Cargo also noted that the township has already taken steps to curtail costs associated with benefits and health care.

“We’re taking some steps in this year’s budget, but we may need to do some additional reductions,” he said.

The township’s new budget goes into effect Jan. 1.

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