Madison still needs to do more to end fiscal prudence status
Madison Township is still not out of a nine-year fiscal prudence designation, despite three attempts to present a three-year financial recovery plan that will satisfy the state auditor’s office.
Trustees were told in a conference call Friday afternoon that they have yet to show how they could use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan Act to close the financial gap and how they would cut spending if voters didn’t ‘did not approve of a possible new levy to support municipal operations.
Nita Hendryx, project manager for the auditor’s office, said on the call that the state was happy with the board’s plan to impose a general operating tax on the May 2022 ballot. said they were considering a possible drawdown of $ 2.5 million to generate about $ 300,000 per year, with $ 60,000 going to the general fund and $ 240,000 to be used for road service operations.
Trustees are urged to consider possible budget cuts
However, Hendryx stressed that the levy was the only change to a stimulus package that was submitted last month and said administrators must show any budget cuts that can be made as the township will still be in deficit until that the money is actually received from any new direct debit.
“If you wait until May to do something, until it’s on the ballot, you’ll have to do something in that last probably six month period to make up for the whole year,” he said. she explained.
Hendryx said officials need to know what the township will do to cut spending as well as specific amounts to save over the three-year period to 2024. She suggested, among other things, reducing spending by capital proposed for the roads department.
Trustee Cathy Swank said the only two capital expenditures considered for the roads department are the purchase of an boom mower and front loader. “The state forces us to mow and our boom mower is shot and the front loader, which we use to load the salt, is shot,” she said. “The loader we can limp with, but the boom mower is the big deal. “
Check the uses of federal ARPA funds
Hendryx suggested that the trustees consider increasing construction and zoning fees and rental fees to use township facilities. However, the board said both of those steps were taken earlier this year.
Hendryx also asked whether the township has received funds from ARPA and whether officials have determined whether any of these can be used to replace income or to relieve general fund expenses. Finance Officer Leanna Rhodes said the township received $ 565,000 from the program, but officials have yet to determine how best to spend it for the township’s benefit. She said she was also awaiting advice from the state on how to determine income replacement.
“You have to work together because you have to figure out how you want to best use these ARPA funds,” Hendryx said. “You’re going to have to budget for 2022, so theoretically you can incorporate some of that ARPA money, and that would be damn good, and we can see how that affects our forecast.”
Hendryx gave administrators until December 21 to submit another three-year spending plan with recommended revisions. Rhodes said she will try to put the plan in place as she prepares the township’s preliminary 2022 budget figures.
Directors first discussed a new stimulus package during a virtual session with Hendryx in July. At the time, Hendryx suggested that Madison Township could see its fiscal prudence designation lifted if it came up with a new stimulus package that avoided deficit spending.
The trustees submitted reviews in September and October, but they did not meet all of the parameters set by Hendryx.