Safe Routes to School sidewalk work that is planned (in red)

Allegan Township’s budget prepares road work, sidewalk program

By: 
Ryan Lewis, Editor

Annual revenue continues to climb for Allegan township, so its next budget continues all of the same work set out in recent years and more.

Townships board members discussed the budget at a hearing Monday, March 5. It is set to be passed at their next meeting in April. The 2018-19 budget covers April 1 through March 30.

“I think this is a good, responsible budget,” said board member Jim Connell, noting that the contingency fund, which is also its general fund balance, was robust.

The township estimates general fund revenues to increase to $1.13 million for the 2018-19 budget, up from $1.02 million. Budgeted expenses match that and add to the fund balance by nearly $100,000. The township has estimated its fund balance at the end of this month will be $240,964; the 2018-19 budget projects it will be $320,414.

Highlights of the budget include:

• As with previous budgets, the township will supplement three activities that are separate from the general fund: road work, capitol improvement, and the recreation fund. Each again get $50,000 from the general fund.

For roads, that adds to the revenue the township collects from three 1-mill taxes that voters continue to renew.

Township supervisor Steve Schulz said, “We’re thankful to the taxpayers for passing the millages. We take in upwards of $400,000 for all three and we appreciate them allowing us to have that money to work with.

“I think our roads are honestly some of the best in the county because of that.”

See our story on the road projects.

Capitol improvement funds are saved for larger projects such as infrastructure. The township estimates it will have $290,602 saved by the end of the next budget.

The recreation fund is used for the betterment of residents. Schulz said the $50,000 transferred there is usually used to cover the cost of widened shoulders on roads the county repaves in the township; it supports safer biking and walking.

“It  also does make our roads last longer, since we have so much farming machinery that drives on our roads; that tends to break up the edges of the road,” he said.

• $40,000 (up from last year’s $6,000) for engineering costs, something Schulz said was estimated due to the upcoming work for sidewalk construction for the Safe Routes to School project.

• The budget continues a practice begun last year to send $6,000 to the Allegan City Police Department.

Schulz said, “They are usually the first on our scenes in our township. The average response from the sheriff is 45 minutes. So we found out how many times they came out and agreed on a contribution that seemed fair. It continues the really great relationship we have with them.

• $3,000 to again help fund a crossing guard for M-89 at Allegan High School

• $25,000 has been budgeted for fencing, shrubbery and land-clearing for the cemetery to prepare the land acquired last year from the city.

• Salaries of township board salaries for the 2018-19 budget will increase 2 percent, matching the increase Allegan County employees received. This continues the trend from the past four years of increases.

For 2018-19, the supervisor will earn a salary of $43,661 up from $42,805. The position has flexible hours but generally encompasses the township’s regular office hours of 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

For 2018-19, the clerk and treasurer will each earn $28,279 up from $27,725. The positions have no set hours, though they often staff the office during its regular hours.

For 2018-19, the two board trustees will each earn $5,847 up from $5,732.50.

• $15,000 will again be spent on recreation, $5,000 for fireworks during the city’s annual July 3 Jubilee and $10,000 for the youth recreation programs at the city’s Sports and Wellness Center.

• $90,000, up from last year’s $25,000, will be spent continuing efforts to repair and update the township hall. This year, that involves focusing on refurbishing the bathrooms, the drinking fountain and an aging portion of the roof.

Contact Ryan Lewis at rmlewis@allegannews.com or (269) 673-5534.

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