City Manager Grinzinger invites suggestions and thoughts on balancing Mount Pleasant budget
It was impossible to watch Michigan’s economy and assume the City of Mount Pleasant would miraculously escape without a few bumps and bruises. In fact, because we predicted that 2011 would be our local Waterloo, we have been reducing costs, shoring up our savings, and eliminating positions through attrition over the last five years.
It now looks like we will need to make a $1 million change in 2011 to keep our expenses and revenues in line. The Mt. Pleasant City Commission has begun preparing options for the next fiscal year and is seeking feedback from residents. A Town Hall meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.on Tuesday at City Hall, 320 W. Broadway. Residents can also examine the proposed plan and provide feedback online at www.mt-pleasant.org/budget.
Creating an operating budget is a delicate balancing act of providing the right services and programs at the right cost. In the past decade, the scales have been tougher to keep steady. Since 2001, the City has lost more than $1.2 million in state-shared revenue alone. This income is the portion of sales tax that the Michigan Constitution says should be returned to communities to pay for mandatory services like police and fire protection.
No municipality likes budget cuts or service reductions. When faced with financial downturns, cities try to trim carefully so residents feel as little impact as possible. When faced with a $1 million shortfall, however, there is no way to avoid the fact that everyone will experience some kind of an impact if we are to keep our community healthy and financially stable.
The 2011 Budget Plan proposed by City officials offers a solution that does not increase the millage rate; raises a few fees; and closes the majority of the gap between revenues and expenditures by reducing services. The details of this plan, including the proposed fee increases and service changes, can be found online at www.mt-pleasant.org/budget.
Please let us know your thoughts by joining us at the Town Hall meeting. If you are unable to attend, you can submit comments online through the City’s website, call us at 779-5322, or mail your thoughts to the City Manager’s Office in City Hall.
By Kathie Grinzinger