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Groveland Twp.:'A great position to be in,' debts paid, coffers full



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September 12, 2012 - Groveland Twp.- On Monday night the township board of trustees approved an audit presented by Ken Palka, from the accounting firm of Pfeffer, Hanniford and Palka.

Palka reported on the township finances following the completion of the yearly audit. The board approved the audit ending March 31, 2012.

"The township is in excellent financial condition," said Palka. "All the debts are paid off—it's a great position to be in."

Township Supervisor Bob DePalma said in February that part of the 2012-13 budget will include paying off about $206,000 in pension funding through the Michigan Employees' Retirement System (MERS) in addition to Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB).

"Since we had the cash reserves, we paid off the MERS and OPEB," said DePalma. "It was better to pay off an 8 percent (interest) obligation rather than gain about 1 percent in interest."

There are three firefighters and five who work in the office that will utilize the fund. The equipment is also paid off to outside lenders, he added.

"We were ecstatic with the clean audit," said DePalma.

State shared revenues increased to $384,679 for the township despite a drop of 11 percent in population in the 2010 Census.

"The state lawmakers provided a one time increase in state shared revenues. Over the last few years we have not received any state shared revenues," said DePalma.

Total for the year ending March 31 included $1,001,682 in revenues with $644,182 in expenditures.

The township fund balance was at $2,204,515. An additional, $2,008,917 was also reported in the infrastructure fund. The results are a total of $4,213,432 in township coffers. The infrastructure account, established in 2009, includes funds earmarked for projects such as road paving, and property development and emergency reserves. A transfer from the infrastructure account requires board approval.

Based on a township budget of $1.2 million, the fund balance remains at about180 percent.

"With the shape the state of Michigan is in right now, a $2.2 million balance gives lawmakers the wrong impression, so we can't leave all the money in a general fund account," said DePalma. Many projects we need to save up for, thus we have a hefty balance. It's just fiscally responsible."

"We also have been proactive over the years and have frozen salaries in addition to not replacing positions in the township offices," he said. "We also reduced healthcare costs as much as possible."

Some of the infrastructure fund will be used on paving about one mile of Oak Hill Road between Kier Road and Dixie Highway in 2013. The $1.875 million project will be paid for with 80 percent federal funding, shared dollars from Springfield Township and tri-party funding.

In addition, DePalma anticipates the development of 197 acres of township property located north of Grange Hall Road, east of I-75 and west of Dixie Highway with a small section of the property located on the southeast corner of Grange Hall and Worden roads. While no deal has been reached for the property, DePalma anticipates a buyer for the land in the foreseeable future.

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