Township plans to hire more public safety employees
New Treasurer Mark Clinton taking oath of office from Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, Nov. 2016.
Dec. 6, 2017 PLYMOUTH EAGLE.
Plymouth Michigan News
The Plymouth Township Board of Trustees has approved a $14.4 million budget by a 5-2 vote.
Casting the no votes on the new budget and spending plan were trustees Chuck Curmi and Bob Doroshewitz.
The new budget includes plans to hire more public safety employees in both the police and fire departments using money cut from other line-item spending. The budget also includes adding a $311,000 surplus to the $3.9 million general fund balance.
Curmi said that his objections to the plans to hire more police and firefighters were based on an old-model fire department that does not promote regionalization and cooperation. He said he opposes the possible hiring of three firefighters as the township recently increased the fire department by three new hires when Station 2 was reopened this fall.
Township Supervisor Kurt Heise supported the budget as did Clerk Jerry Vorva, Treasurer Mark Clinton and trustees Gary Heitman and Jack Dempsey. Heise noted that the bond rating for the township had been upgraded to AA-plus, which means better interest rates for financing. He said the new rating was due to the strong budgeting process now in place in the township.
That budgeting process is now a zero-based plan which Heise said he examined line by line and made cuts to nearly 90 percent of spending plans. Those cuts included the elimination of a an economic development position, a reduction in part-time employees and changes to planning department personnel.
While the budget includes funding for three firefighters and three police officers, a decision on those hirings will wait until an evaluation of the shared services agreement with Northville Township at Fire Station No. 2. Heise said that the township will also evaluate the current situation with Huron Valley Ambulance, a matter of contention with fire department employees for some time.
Clinton suggested that the addition of the 1 percent administration fee on tax bills, expected to generate $640,000 in revenue, might alleviate Curmi’s stated concerns about retiree costs and funding for capital improvements. Clinton added that the anticipated revenue would go into the general fund and could be used for public safety.
The budget did not include any changes to the township owned Hilltop Golf Course, which has been the subject of public criticism at meetings. An analysis by Plante Moran stated that the facility will have lost more than $300,000 by the end of 2020.