May 01, 2013 - BY ANDREA M. BEAUDOIN
Clarkston News Staff Writer
A budget amendment placing Clarkston's budget in deficit includes raises for several city employees.
They deserve them, said new City Manager Carol Eberhardt.
"No one had had a raise in eight years," Eberhardt said. "People work hard and no one should go without a raise for eight years."
City of the Village of Clarkston's 2012/2013 budget amendment, approved April 22, changes it from a $9,389 surplus to $40,926 deficit, a difference of $50,315,
Salary raises include: clerk, $9,800 to $10,664, 8.8 percent; treasurer, $11,455 to $15,563, 35.9 percent; clerical staff, $7,288 to $8,463, 16.1 percent; grounds staff, $15,000 to $22,093, 47.3 percent, and Building Department clerical staff, $9,000 to $11,688, 29.9 percent.
Also, engineering services fees increase from $3,000 to $9,200, and audit fees are up $3,172. Building and Grounds is up by $6,815 due to phragmites burning, vandalism repair in Depot Park, and unexpected work in the village hall garage. A Capital Outlay increase of $7,292 includes a paving project on Holcomb and Valley View Drive.
The council approved the raises based on the recommendation of a special committee formed by previous City Manager Dennis Ritter to explore the issue.
Funds to cover the increase in salaries were pulled from the
city's fund balance of $321,718, which Eberhardt said is very healthy.
"The state of Michigan recommends communities have a reserve fund of 18-23 percent, and Clarkston has about 45 percent of a reserve," she said.
Eberhardt said the reserve fund is healthy because of conservative budgeting.
"Some things come up that we just cannot foresee like the Depot Park being vandalized," said Treasurer Sandra Barlass. "We had to repair the damage done, and that was not an expense we expected."
Many services and expenses must be estimated, such as the amount of salt needed each winter, or the amount of time engineers spend on planned or unforeseen projects, Eberhardt said.
In the amendment, total revenue was changed from $644,678 to $663,902, and spending, $635,289 to $704,828.