2012 Audit

by Jaime Greene on November 4, 2012

2012 Audit

 

When I first ran for Council there was a potential of having a $400,000 shortfall. After all was said and done the budget year 2010-20122 had a $184,668 shortfall.  I would like to say Yea, but we were still short.  Last year the State Police remained in the building 6 months longer than anticipated and that relieved part of the deficit blow.

 

In June 2012 Council approved the 2012-2013 budget and that began July 1, 2012.  I was a no vote because I could not in good conscious, pass a budget that has a $300,000 shortfall.  In spite of my no vote it still passed.  One of my campaign promises to you was fiscal responsibility, hence my no vote.  Yet after much investigation I have found that our City Manager and his Department Heads are incredibly conservative with their budgets.  Are we fiscally sound? Kind of.  According to our audit we passed with flying colors.  Are we ok this year? Yes, because we have a healthy General Fund balance.  It is sustainable? No, it is not and there will need to be severe cuts.

 

I am extremely pleased that the City Administration took the suggestions made last year by the auditing company and implemented procedural changes.  We now have more accountability in accounting.  A “check and balance” system has been implemented relieving an accountability burden on our Treasurer.  Day to day procedures, that have been going on for years, are difficult to change.  I am again very pleased that both the City Manager and the Treasurer worked through the transition.

 

After going through significant property value losses in the past 5 years the city has kept its head above water.  I commend City Manager Jon Moore and the previous Council for maintaining fiscal stability.  Unfortunately taxable values still decline. It is becoming more and more difficult to maintain the service levels we currently have.

 

The Audit mentioned State Mandates.  It saddens me to see the State EVIP (economic vitality incentive programs) becoming even more cumbersome.  It is as if they are holding a stick out with a carrot on it that will not be obtainable unless you can dance the way the want you too.  This is manipulative in my opinion, teetering on the edge of being unconstitutional and certainly forgetting that we are a Home Rule State.  With that said we need the money so we must comply. The State is in a sense dictating to us how we must operate; it is as if they do not think we are “smart enough” to handle the job.  Clearly the city is nowhere near financial stress and it is too bad the State feels they need to “punish” all for a few mistakes made by others.  On a flip side there are a few State Mandates that do provide relief but that is a huge philosophical discussion, which you may call me if you would like to discuss it.

 

Overall, especially compared to other municipalities we were given a “flying color” “gold star” pass by Plante Moran (our audit company).  But a WARNING we have to continue to cut, as our future is still dim in regards to tax capture for the city.

 

Remember Taxes = Services

 

Services: This is why I live in a City.  The City provides the residents an opportunity to pool their money to obtain services i.e. recreation, trash, water, sewer, snow removal, parks, pool, library…you catch my drift.

 

Residents you should be proud that you live in a community that is currently debt free.  It is my commitment to you to do what I can keep it that way.  Again we need to continue to make prudent choices to keep afloat until property values level out.  It will take many years to recover what we once were.  I know we can do it!

 

I am always open to cost saving ideas and cost recovery ideas.  Blessings to you and thanks for reading.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Willy December 13, 2012 at 6:38 pm

Most of the services you mention are available in the townships. Ironically, it’s the city that’s providing them at city taxpayer expense. As far as I’m concerned we pay way too much in taxes. I find it amazing that we have our police respond to calls in the township leaving our city without adequate protection. The worst psrt as far as I know the township does not pay anything for this. Supposedly a township like Lenox, would reciprocate, but there doesn’t appear to be any follow up on who’s geetiing what in this deal.
We live in a city where the council seems to think the taxpayers are a cash cow for thier pet projects. Some will say it’s not unusual, but that no excuse for the endless spending of money on things like restrooms for the school, and the township taxpayers get a free ride.

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