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Resident shows how Independence can save money



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December 14, 2011 - As Independence Township looks to head into 2012, they look pretty healthy with a surplus of $50,802 in the general fund and close to $2.9 million in the fund balance.

However, resident Rick Gutowski thinks the fund balance could be reduced greatly.

"A general fund balance of 15 percent is efficient for an effective operating township," Gutowski told the board at the Dec. 6 budget hearing. "For Independence Township, a 15 percent balance would amount to $750,000. A 20 percent balance is $1 million."

Gutowski suggested the board take the budget down to a 20 percent balance, leaving it with $1.9 million available for other uses.

If the township used $1.3 million to pay the principle on the loan in the water and sewer funds to purchase township hall, Gutowski said it would reduce the payoff of the building from four years down to 3.7 years at the current payment schedule.

The township could then use $600,000 to fund a capital improvement plan at $300,000 per year for 2012 and 2013. Then the general fund transfer to Parks and Rec. could be reduced by a total of $300,000 over the next three years, which would bring the transfers from the general fund to Parks and Rec down to $1.0 million by 2014, Gutowski said.

"Parks and Rec. can achieve the reductions by partnering, outsourcing and restructuring fees and charges," he said.

Lastly, Gutowski said that would leave $300,000 savings to be used for capital improvement projects in 2014 and 2015.

"Reduce operating costs by $600,000, half by paying off township hall mortgage and half by improving the process of delivering Parks and Rec. programs."

The township will approve the 2012 budget on Dec. 20. The meeting begins at 7:30 at Township Hall, 6483 Waldon Center Drive.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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