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Township closing in on final 2011 budget

Unusually high fund balance hardly takes a hit

October 13, 2010 - Orion Township officials are scheduled to meet Wednesday to finish hammering out next year's budget, but a preliminary draft shows the township once again will operate with an fund balance well over 100 percent.

The fund balance - a "rainy day" savings account of sorts - has a projected year-end total of $5,598,249.

Projected year-end general-fund expenditures for 2010 total $4,855,412. Money in the general fund supports "general" township operation, such as supervisor, clerk and treasurer salaries, township board, planning commission and ZBA per-meeting stipends, elections and audits.

The general fun also supports the township's Building Department, Parks and Recreation programs, and senior activities.

The Orion Township Fire Department is looking at expenditures totaling $1,578,565 in 2011, with a 2010 fund balance of $1,117,007.

The Fire department also has a separate capital improvement fund with 2010 expenditures coming in around $230,000 and a year-end fund balance of $2,550,634.

In 2011, the fire department is looking at dipping about $1,850,000 from its capital improvement fund as it rebuilds the Gingellville station next year.

Fire dispatch services are still budgeted at $102,500 for both 2011 and 2012, although Oakland County Dispatch has estimated the service at about $40,000 annually, and the Lake Orion Police Department, which operates the village dispatch center, said it would bring down the cost in order to keep the contract.

The township capital improvement fund shows 2010 revenues and expenditures zeroing out at $484,500 each.

Projects listed as current year expenses include ampitheater, Fernhurst, field fencing/backstop, employee parking lot, driveway and concrete curb, re-roofing at the township hall, treasurer's office renovations, school house renovations, electrical upgrades and board room improvements.

Project-specific costs are not listed, but the draft document shows $240,200 in project costs listed as Building and Grounds expense and $334,600 listed as Parks and Recreation expenses.

Township police expenditures - the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, not to be confused with the Lake Orion Police Department, provides police service in the township - will total out at $4,230,838 in 2010, with a fund balance of $1,489,021.

In 2011 township police costs are projected at $4,375,645, with the police fund balance dwindling to $217,627 by the end of next year.

In 2012, the police fund balance drops into the negative as the current millage expires. Voters will likely be asked to renew and possibly approve a millage increase.

For now, the township hopes to provide the same level of service with fewer officers. At a special budget workshop meeting Aug. 31, the Orion Township Board of Trustees voted to cut the township's police force by about 10 percent.

One of two Lake Orion Community Schools' police liaisons will be among three sheriff's deputies laid off to accommodate the budget woes.

"The sheriff's office has received verbal notification," Orion Township Substation Commander Lt. Bruce Naile told the Review for a story published Sept. 29. "They'll receive written notification shortly."

In all 30 patrol officers, detectives and command staff currently work out of the substation.

The voter-approved safety path fund is looking at closing out the year with expenditures of $799,482 and $1,182,653 in the bank.

The Eagle Valley Host Fee fund is looking at a $2,725,243 fund balance for 2010, which will be used to build the township's new senior center. The only expenditures from the host fee fund in 2010 are $22,000 in legal, audit and environmental consultant fees.

The Water and Sewer Fund shows $9,227,350 in 2010 revenue and $9,237,099 in expenditures.

The Water and Sewer Fund also has $55,208,408 rainy-day dollars in the bank, and an additional $23,729,437 restricted for water and sewer repairs.

The board will finalize the 2011 budget and publish notice for a public hearing before officially adopting the document.

Lake Orion Review Editor
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