Village council approves budget plan for 2019-20

By: 
Dennis Mansfield, Contributing Writer

KALKASKA – Without much fanfare or discussion, the Kalkaska Village Council unanimous approved a budget plan for the upcoming 2019-20 fiscal year.

The council voted 7-0 at a special meeting Monday, Feb. 25, to approve the budget plan just days ahead of schedule. The village is required to submit its budget to the Michigan Department of Treasury by a Feb. 28 deadline, with the new fiscal year slated to begin on March 1.

According to Kalkaska Village Manager Scott Yost, the approved budget plan is actually six working budgets in one.

Probably the primary part of the budget, the general fund, calls for total appropriations of nearly $896,000 in 2019-20 against a little over $913,000 in revenues. That’s down more than $11,000 from the projected end of the 2018-19 fiscal year, and over $18,000 less than 2017-18.

But, the village is also projected to have a better bottom line, including a proposed end balance of over $1.5 million.

Other major funds within the annual budget plan include the major street, local street, Brownfield Development Authority, drug enforcement, Act 302 state-related revenues account, water, sewer, equipment and retiree insurance funds.

In a “highlight” of the proposed budget plan provided to council members, village officials stated that most were “budgeted similar to last year.”

“The millage rates are unchanged,” Yost added.”

In reviewing “dashboards” of the village’s financial status, Village President Harley Wales said he likes with he sees in looking forward.

“We are looking absolutely beautiful,” Wales said. “I’m just happy we were able to put together a budget that’s a growth year.”

But, former village resident and chairwoman of Kalkaska For Peace, Elizabeth Dunham, said she was concerned about what she perceived as a lack of discussion or questions by council members about the new budget plan during the Monday night’s public hearing.

The hearing and subsequent vote by the council followed a Jan. 31 budget workshop, at which council members were able to discuss the proposed budget.

Dunham also questioned how the council was able to thoroughly evaluate the budget plan, without receiving regular budget updates during at least half of the 2018-19 budget year.

"I believe it must be very difficult to vote on a new budget when the council has not voted to accept financial reports since September, which means nearly half of the village's fiscal year,” Dunham said, adding that she was also concerned about the council adopting the budget seemingly at the last minute.

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