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Brandon Township Board OKs budget, pay hikes



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December 04, 2013 - Brandon Twp.- Township employees and elected officials will receive wage increases as part of the 2014 budget approved by the board during their Dec. 2 meeting.

The board approved the township's 2014 general fund budget by a 4-3 vote. Supervisor Kathy Thurman, Clerk Candee Allen, Treasurer Terri Darnall, and Trustee Bill DeWitt voted yes. Trustees Dana DePalma, Ron Lapp and Jayson Rumball voted no.

The budget has matching revenues and expenditures of $2,100,437.81. The budget also will have a combined carry forward of roughly $779,000, about a 37 percent fund balance (checking and savings combined).

"I'm happy the budget passed so we have one to work with for next year," said Thurman. "We have pulled through the bad economy. We are certainly on the right track with our budgeting practices."

The budget includes a 4.15 percent wage increase for township office employees and senior van drivers which equates to 75 cents more per hour. The clerk, treasurer and supervisor each received an approximately 2 percent wage increase, which equates to roughly $1,000 more per year in base salary. The supervisor will have a salary of $56,518 in 2014, while the clerk and treasurer will each earn $49,577. Each trustee will receive a 2 percent increase, earning $95 per meeting in 2014. Planning commission members and zoning board of appeals members will earn $5 more per meeting. Senior Center Coordinator Annette Beach received a $3,000 per year increase, bringing her annual salary to $35,932, because, Thurman said, her wages were much lower than other employees in the township, as well as lower than similar positions in surrounding municipalities. Township Building Director Bill Dinnan will receive a $1 per hour increase to $31 per hour (29 hours per week maximum) and Recreation Director Fred Waybrant will receive a $250 increase to his annual salary, bringing him to $49,800 per year.

"I feel the raises are well-deserved, our employees have gone a long time without an increase," said Thurman. "Their workload has increased as well because we reduced the number of employees."

Township employees have not had a pay increase since 2008. Thurman notes the employees actually took a 5 percent wage cut in 2010 and were brought back to 2008 wages in 2011. By the start of 2012, the elected officials' offices had each eliminated a full-time position and two recreation full-time positions had been cut.

The wage increases in the 2014 budget will be funded by increases in the constitutional sales tax revenue, which Thurman called a sign of a strengthening economy.

The board also received good news recently in the form of Standard & Poor's increasing the township's credit rating from A- to AA-, "affirming a stable outlook."

The board, which unanimously passed a 2014 fire budget last month with 2 percent raises for all full-time fire department personnel, voted on the 2014 general fund budget without discussion.

DePalma, Lapp and Rumball all declined to comment after the meeting on why they voted no on the budget.

Thurman said while the township is on the right track financially, the police budget remains a concern as the amount of mills levied for police service doesn't pay for current staffing levels and is supplemented by cable franchise fees.

The board will soon discuss ballot language for a police millage request in 2014.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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