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A million for capital plan



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April 24, 2013 - Independence Township's Capital Investment Plan is back in business, with $1 million in the bank.

The township Board of Trustees voted unanimously, April 16, to appropriate $1 million from the general fund to the plan, which includes about $3.7 million in projects over the next 10 years.

Trustee David Lohmeier compared it to "a Christmas fund" some people create a separate bank account just for buying Christmas presents so they don't eat into money for household expenses.

"In the future you'll be seeing a motion not to spend the money, but just to isolate it into a separate checking account so it doesn't muddy up the financials, so we can keep our forecast clear, and fully transparent about where we are against the plan," said Township Supervisor Patrick Kittle. "But then have that little checkbook off to the side so you can see exactly where we're spending and what we're going to spend it on."

The list wasfirst presented to the board last fall.

"It was a long process to get this CIP together, identifying the right things to put on capital versus what we should expend each year," Lohmeier said. "We basically approved the plan, recognized and agreed that we were supportive of the things that were in there at the time. We kind of held short of saying 'Okay, now let's commit to spending this at the end of this year and stick the new board with it.' So that's the reason why it wasn't a commitment to the funds."

Township budget analyst Rick Yaeger said most of the funds come from the township Parks, Recreation, and Seniors budget for new equipment, renovations to playing fields and buildings, and other projects. About $2.8 million would be spent on parks, recreation, and seniors over the 10-year plan, ranging from $8,000 planned for 2018 and $905,000 in 2014 — about $280,000 a year on average.

Funding for the capital purchases will come from extra fund balance, over the 20 percent reserve, plus any future contributions to the fund balance, according to the plan. In addition to the general fund, $1.7 million in grants and $225,000 in donations would go into it.

This is the first time this new board has been presented with the CIP and changes may have occurred in the interim requiring careful calculations before the board is willing to vote on a motion to approve the plan, said Treasurer Paul Brown .

"We need to scrub over the numbers in greater detail," Brown said.

BY MATTHEW E. SEMRAU

Special to the Clarkston News

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