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Dorr Twp. adopts budget with expected shortfall

The Dorr Township Board took no action on this proposal to establish a drainage district.

The Dorr Township Board Thursday night adopted a 2024-25 fiscal year budget of more than $1.6 million, with an estimated $260,000 deficit.

Revenues are expected to be $1.627 million and expenses $1.890 million, with the shortfall to be up by a fund balanced estimated at between $1.8 million and $1.9 million.

Supervisor Jeff Miling said the township is spending more than usual in the coming year because of costs associated with the purchase of the former Crosswinds Church for use as the new township hall. The price was $600,000 (partially covered by $300,000 in American Rescue Plan Act ARPA funds), but there will be added maintenance and moving costs. He estimated the added expense is about $160,000.

The vote to adopt the budget was 5-2, with Trustee Chandler Stanton and Clerk Debbie Sewers voting on the negative side.

Stanton said he was disappointed in the increase in expected costs for software and particularly with the salary hike for Deputy Supervisor Jim Martin, from $1,500 to $1,800 annually.

He said to Miling, “You don’t feel an obligation to stay within your supervisor’s) budget?”

He said the increase for the deputy supervisor is a whopping 37.5%.

Miling replied that Martin has had a lot to do in his position and Stanton insisted the supervisor could do them himself.

Stanton also said he voted no because last month he called for the entire board to do a walk-through tour of the new township hall, but did not get a response. The board Thursday night decided to do just that at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 28.

The township’s millage rate will be 1.0518 for general operations, 0.4780 for the fire department, 2.8687 for roads, and a couple of 0.28 mill levies for the library.

In other business at Thursday night’s meeting, the board:

  • Took no action on a proposal for a drainage project at the Shad Lake Drainage District. Five homeowners appeared at the meeting to tell the board there is no water in ditches plaguing the area and the only water on the road is on 141st Avenue.
  • Was told by Sewers that the early voting requirements for the Feb. 27 presidential primary resulted in an extra $12,000 in local cost. Trustee John Tuinstra said the election cost $14.90 per vote.
  • Appointed Trustees John Tuinstra and Pat Champion and Treasurer Laurie Perry to a special committee to make recommendations on pay for chairs and recording secretaries for other boards and commissions in the township.
  • Noted once again there is a vacancy on the Library Board.
  • Approved the reappointments of Champion and Marcia Halloran. Tuinstra cast the lone dissenting vote for Halloran because he’s an advocate of term limits. Miling quipped, “People aren’t knocking down my door to get on this board.”
  • Learned from Dorr Fire Chief Gary Fordham that the number of calls his department has responded to over the first two months of the year is way up because of local firefighters getting more involved as first responders to medical issues.
  • Was told the Parks Commission has decided to get rid of the two side bathrooms at South Park and offer just one family restroom because of so many recent incidents of vandalism.  

3 Comments

  • There was no raise (pay increase) for Jim Martin (Deputy Supervisor) other than the COLA applied to all employees, just a new budget that fully covers the actual spending — work assigned by the Supervisor.

    All departments were asked to establish there budgets based on history and expectations for the next year. The reason that Mr. Stanton sees 37% increase was that % is based on the budget established a year ago. In column for actual spending thru March 7, 2024 that line-item was already overspent.

    In action later in the evening there was another motion (required by the Township’s auditors and the Accounting procedures of the State of Michigan Treasury Department) to make Budget Adjustments by Dorr’s Treasurer Clerk.

    Having make budget adjustments is due to having made bad conclusions or estimates in the Budgeting process. Since the 2023-24 budget was put together in Jan-March 2023, that budget was insufficient to cover the expense the 2024-25 budget should properly reflect the real need to increase to a real number.

    Supervisor Miling gave as example the work on the new purchase, that was not planned for in 2023-24 budget. A whole new department had to be established for the expenses. Accounts were established for the monthly payments of principal & interest which accounts for almost $49,000 on the new building. I worked up the amortization table for the life of the loan after talking with United Bank. This allows us to see how much we will spend in 2024-25 on the installment loan to cover $500,000 of the building.

    I suppose I could be assigned next to chase the unanswered question about the new purchase. The new budget covers the costs of converting the Crosswind’s property and the interest on the loan. {The purchase was brought forward by the Clerk — I suppose — in a week-end rush to purchase the property.} Both the Clerk & Trustee Stanton voted against the budget. Why? This was her idea? At that time I was working on the expansion of the current location.

    I hope they answer that question for the voters, because they never explain it to the Dorr Board.

  • “expense the 2024-25 budget should properly reflect”

    A new sentence should have started add ‘.’ and capitalize the T of the.
    Correction needed “expense (add “.”) The 2024-25 budget should properly reflect”

  • I think you are off with the wages for the assistant supervisor. Perhaps you should add a zero. Moreover why no mention that the property taxes will now be raised?

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