Budgets discussed and raises given
By Teddy Rydquist
Leader Staff Writer
Conducted remotely via GoToMeeting, in accordance with Public Act 228 of 2020, the Addison Township board held their first session of 2021 on January 11.
Consisting of Supervisor Bruce Pearson, Clerk Pauline Bennett, Treasurer Lori Fisher, and Trustees Ed Brakefield, Karen Geibel, Linda Gierak, and Chuck Sargent, the meeting was a productive one, taking just under two hours and 10 minutes to complete.
As always, the board began by pledging allegiance to the American Flag.
2021-22 budget discussed
The lengthiest segment of the meeting focused on the 2021-22 budget, which will span from April 1, 2021-March 31, 2022.
For the general budget, $1,632,469.90 is being estimated in revenue, with state revenue sharing making up the largest percentage of this at $513,000 (31.4 percent).
Real property taxes are forecasted to total $391,502 (23.9 percent), and $148,697.90 is being carried over from the general fund (9.1 percent).
The same amount is set aside in appropriations, money budgeted for specific items, with general administration – which encompasses community projects, insurance, and clerical wages, among other items – making up the largest portion of this at $330,100 (20.2 percent).
As it pertains to police protection, officially titled Fund 205, $1,323,836.99 is projected in revenue, with $1,274,016.99 (96.2 percent) of this coming from real property taxes.
The largest appropriation in this fund is the police contract, which costs the township $1,264,337.50 (95.5 percent).
Lastly, the board discussed Fund 206, for Parks & Recreation. $41,030 is estimated in revenue; the communications tower makes up the largest source at $21,130 (51.4 percent).
Park maintenance and repairs are the most sizable appropriation at $15,000 (36.5 percent).
“There’s a recession coming, we just don’t know when it’s coming, either” Pearson said.
“This township has always been very conservative, we don’t lay people off, we don’t diminish the services. The last recession we went through, in 2008-10, we prepared, we had the money, we never raised the taxes, we never put on any more millages.
“If you look at the surrounding areas, they all put on emergency millages, they were at three-and-a-half for fire, three percent emergency millages for police, we never did in Addison Township. We never ran out of money, virtually, we came out better after the recession than we went into it.
“So, when you ask, why do we have these reserves? My mother, at 100 years old, always said, ‘You put the money away when times are good, so that you have it when times are bad.’ In Addison Township, we’ve never panicked, we’ve never had to lay anybody off, and we’ve never had to raise the taxes when everybody was out of work. That’s why we have it.”
Board approves raise for employees
The board approved, 7-0, a 2.5 percent salary increase for members of the fire department, as well as the clerk, supervisor, treasurer, and trustees.
Like the rest of the budget, this bump is subject to approval at a public hearing.
“First of all, I recommended a two percent, the other townships around us are giving some of those increases at that, but, of course, they make a heck of a lot more than what our people make,” Pearson said.
“NOTA (North Oakland Transportation Authority), I’m on the board of NOTA, and NOTA gave out a three percent raise. I argued that down to a two percent raise and I was outvoted, I was the only dissenting vote, so, they’re at three percent.
“Everybody is getting a little bit more of a raise and, if you notice, the national average, I think raises increased something like 5.8 percent. If you want to keep employees, and you want to keep up with inflation, everybody knows 1.3 was not the inflation rate, OK, you can go to the store and you know that, and I know that.
“Social Security, you got 1.3, but I’ll tell you right now that the real inflation rate is a lot higher than that. To keep your employees, if you want to lose them, then all you have to do is stagnate their wages and they’ll go to another township because they’re trying to steal them already.”
Public hearing date for budget set
The public hearing regarding the 2021-22 budget will occur during the board’s next scheduled meeting, Monday, February 15 at 6 p.m.
This motion also passed unanimously.
Two appointments round
out Planning Commission
Carol Beens and Erich Senft were formally appointed to the seven-member Planning Commission.
Beens’ appointment is a three-year term, spanning through November 30, 2023, while Senft’s is a partial term, lasting through January 31, 2022.
The duo is joined on the commission by Gierak, Gene Louwaert, Eugene “Geno” Mallia, Jr., Earl J. “Joe” Schnur, and Lawrence Smith.
Pending legal finalization, the board agreed to enter a three-year contract with Attica-based Sunrise Services to handle the maintenance at Lakeville Cemetery in Leonard.
The deal, which will include two mutual options for years four and five, will cost the township $12,600 annually, paid in monthly installments of $1,050.
“He’s been doing it since 2008, he’s been handling all the lawn at the cemetery and he’s been doing an excellent job,” Pearson said of Sunrise Services. “More than excellent. If you remember how our cemetery did look, it’s absolutely beautiful now.”
Local restaurants to receive grant
Part of the interlocal “Restaurant Relief Program” between Oakland County and Addison Township, the board voted to allow Louie’s Food & Spirit, 600 Lakeville Road, and The Celtic Knot, 1318 Rochester Road, to receive grant money to cover the installation of outdoor dining “igloos,” which will be equipped with heaters.
At the request of the township, who will manage the grant, the two restaurants will sign a waiver to participate in this agreement.
The next Addison Township board meeting is scheduled for Monday, February 15 at 6 p.m.
Information on how to access these virtual sessions is available on the township’s website, twp.addison.mi.us.