Budget Adjustments Offered, Council to Vote on May 14
Ferndale City Manager April McGrath presented an option to council that would reduce the proposed millage rate increase by about .25 mills.
Ferndale City Council was expected to vote on the proposed fiscal year 2012-13 and 2013-14 budget at their meeting Monday night, however held off on the decision because of a procedural issue involving the scheduling of a public hearing.
Council had requested at the last budget meeting that City Manager April McGrath offer potential budget adjustments that would lower the tax increase without cutting staff.
McGrath presented an option to council that would cut $125,000 from two contingency funds for both fiscal year 2013 and 2014, reducing the proposed millage rate to 3.50 for 2012-13 and 4.60 for 2013-14.
"I'd hesitate to go any further," she said, noting that "things are still really volatile."
Because fiscal year 2014 is almost two years away, McGrath said staff recommends revisiting lowering its rate any further until closer to the year.
County Commissioner and former Ferndale mayor Craig Covey said during the public hearing for the budget that he understands the difficult position council is in when working on a budget.
"I know the hard work you're doing. Do your best to keep the increase as small as possible," he said. "Every little bit helps because people truly are hurting."
Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter said he appreciates the option McGrath presented for reducing the tax increase and, pointing out police officers recently laid off in Oak Park, said he is thankful voters passed the Headlee override in May allowing the city to maintain its staff levels.
"We are very grateful that our residents allowed us the ability to not have to do that," he said, adding that this budget will continue that. There are no layoffs scheduled for 2012-13.
Council will meet at 6 p.m. May 14 to vote on the budget - it will be the only item on the agenda.