Healthy fund balance covers Hopkins Twp. shortfall

The Hopkins Township Board next month plans to adopt the 2018-19 fiscal year budget with about a $48,000 shortfall of revenue against expenditures.

The deficit will be made up easily by a fund balance, or savings account, of nearly $1.4 million.

Revenues are expected to be about $308,620 and expenses are pegged at $356,778. The fund balance, though reduced, will be at $1,391245.

Supervisor Mark Evans said the biggest increase in expenditures has come in the form of fire services. The township’s cost for its arrangement with the Hopkins Area Fire Board this year has been estimated at $78,640, but the cost is projected to rise by about $15,000 to $93,514.

Evans said the reason is simply that area fire departments are getting more calls, an assessment echoed by Clerk Eric Alberda, a member of the local department. Dorr Township Fire Chief Gary Fordham late last month noted his department answered the highest number of calls in its history in 2017.

“We’re in good shape with our fund balance,” Evan told his board colleagues. “But we’re going to have to make some choices pretty soon… We may have to look at a Headlee (Amendment) override (request) or start cutting. But I don’t see where were going to cut.”

Alberda said the 2017-18 budget that concludes March 31 will be very close in revenues vs. expenditures.

Evans said a Headlee rollback override, which would restore the current millage levy of 0.668 mill to one mill, would generate $24,000 in more revenue. One mill of property tax translates into about $80,000.

The biggest source of revenue, as usual, is state revenue sharing, which will be pegged at $153,000. Current local millage levy brings in about $56,000.

The third biggest revenue source, estimated at $30,000, is the annual revenue sharing payment from the Gun Lake Casino at $30,000.

Other than fire service, the largest expense is salaries, at $15,420 each for the supervisor, clerk and treasurer, a 2% increase over last year in the proposed budget. The assessor’s salary is the highest, at $17,592.

Permit and inspection expenses are estimated at at $23,400.

In another budget discussion, the board noted the special fund for roads is $161,622. The road maintenance and repairs work planned for this summer are graveling 126th Avenue between 22nd and 23rd Streets and resurfacing 130th Avenue about a mile between 18th and 20th Street. Board members discussed 13th Street and 136th Avenue in a shared expense with Dorr Township, but those probably will have to wait at least another year.

The board also approved a work order to repair a culvert on 136th Avenue, which Evans said is overdue.


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