Pleasant Plains adopts budget resolution

Budget balanced without using reserves for first time in years

The Pleasant Plains Township board of trustees adopted the FY2021 budget resolution during its virtual meeting this week. (Star photo/Cathie Crew)

The Pleasant Plains Township board of trustees adopted the FY2021 budget resolution during its virtual meeting this week. (Star photo/Cathie Crew)

PLEASANT PLAINS TOWNSHIP -- The Pleasant Plains Township Board of Trustees approved a general appropriations budget resolution for fiscal year 2021 during its recent meeting.

Expected general fund revenues for the township are estimated at $224,000, while expenditures are estimated at $200,000, leaving a balance of $24,000.

The budget was balanced without using the appropriated fund balance for the first time in several years, thanks to numerous cuts made in expenditures over the past several years.

Over the last year, the township has worked with representatives from the state treasurer's office to find ways to prevent the township from having to use the reserve fund balance to cover their expenses each year.

Former township Supervisor Tammy Ghent told the board at a meeting in May 2020 that the state treasury department was meeting with township leaders because they were coming out in the negative on their budget every year.

"We have cut expenditures every year since I have been here, and we still continue to use the reserve fund to balance the budget every year," she said.

Ghent said the township has been dealing with budget shortfalls every year since she became supervisor.

A proposal for a township operating millage on the November 2020 ballot was voted down, leaving them with few options.

The current 1 mill the township receives for operations is the state minimum every township receives, and it has never been increased, township supervisor Kevin Braddy said.

"Every other township has additional operating millages, ours never has," he said.

Without an operating millage, township officials have had to find other ways to increase revenue and/or decrease expenditures to bring the budget into balance.

"In all of our conversations with the treasury department, they said one thing we cannot do is start out the year already planning to use our budget deficit to equalize out our budget," Braddy said. "This is hard, but how do we keep from going over budget and using that extra money?"

Two areas that have been consistently supplemented by the general fund, according to Ghent, are the refuse and the zoning departments.

Ghent told the board, previously, they were not generating enough income in the refuse account to cover the cost of providing the service to the township, and in addition, the zoning department had been running a deficit for years and they did not generate enough income to cover the $14,000 budgeted for them every year.

Discussions among township officials regarding increasing the refuse assessment have failed to produce any changes so far, although the projected budget shows revenues and expenditures balancing out.

"We are at our zero point with our refuse account now as far as what it costs us to have trash service for the township and what we are bringing in from the refuse assessment," Braddy said. "Going forward, we will have to do something to keep from depleting the fund balance in that account."

In May, the board did, however, approve a new fee schedule which included increases across the board.

The fee increases were necessary to help the township begin to recoup some of the losses from the previous years, township officials had said.

Additional revenues from the state for recreational marijuana businesses of $28,000, along with higher than expected projections for state revenue sharing, also helped in balancing out the budget.

A copy of the budget resolution can be viewed at the township hall, 7333 S. M-37 in Baldwin.