City Manager Dale Krajniak presented a handful of tweaks to the annual budget Thursday during a council work session, delivering the good news that there will be no need to dip into the savings set aside for emergencies or extraordinary situations.
The proposed $10 million budget as presented Thursday does not require a tax increase for homeowners, even with the decrease in state revenue sharing and lower property tax income. However, it includes almost no new services or increased spending.
"We thought we were cut to the bone three years ago." Krajniak said. "Then this year…it's all the way down to the bone marrow."
Still, the council said, the Park's financial situation is the envy of many communities that are laying off employees, closing libraries and more to make up budget shortfalls.
However, the spending plan for fiscal year 2011 does not take into account future major expenses such as road repairs, employee pensions or health care.
Perhaps the biggest extravagance is the purchase of three new police cars.
Councilman Daniel Clark expressed concerns about ending up in a dire situation where the city cannot cover the costs that are just being met currently.
The capital improvements, health care, pensions and other issues and how to pay for them will have to be addressed in the 2012 budget.
Two major unknowns for this year's budget are employee health care expenses and wage increases that could come with union negotiations.
After making adjustments following suggestions from council members during its last work session last week, some savings were found in health care and property inspections, a contracted service that will be cut by about 15 percent.
One area of savings, either in the 2011 or 2012 budget, will be a central police radio system for the Pointes and Harper Woods. Public Safety Director David Hiller said a new system will no longer cost the city $1 million thanks to a $485,000 grant expected to come from the Department of Homeland Security. The five Pointes and Harper Woods each pay to share the system, which is 12 years old, out of date and highly unlikely to be affordably repaired if broken, Hiller said.
No layoffs are anticipated, Krajniak said, and the city is not replacing employees who have retired or moved to part-time positions. The city expects to generate new revenue by increasing various fees and selling rehabbed homes that it purchased last year in an effort to prevent neighborhoods from deterioration due to vacant homes.
A public hearing on the proposed budget, which takes effect July 1, is scheduled for May 23.