The Brighton City Council is holding several budget workshops on the proposed $10 million general fund budget for the coming fiscal year, which starts July 1st. City Manager Nate Geinzer tells WHMI that there are three main budget challenges this year: streets and infrastructure, equipment and facilities upkeep and getting control of pension and OPED costs.

Geinzer is recommending that the city set aside the first mill of the total millage the city receives from local taxpayers to put toward needed capital improvements, such as equipment and street maintenance needs. Geinzer tells WHMI he also wants to start funding depreciation; that is, set aside funds so that when an unbudgeted or unforeseen need occurs, such as equipment breakdown, the funds are there.

The city has a street millage request on the ballot on May 7th - exactly one month from today, that city officials hope will enable them to address needed improvements on the city’s deteriorating streets. It’s a reduction from last year’s request, which was defeated by less than 130 votes.

Having enough left over to set aside funds for OPEB, which stands for Other Post-Employment Benefits, is another problem council is hopeful of addressing. OPEB refers to the benefits, other than pensions, that state and local government employees receive as part of their package of retirement benefits. Municipalities across the state are having trouble getting a handle on controlling underfunded health care and pension costs, and Brighton is no exception. The budget sessions will be held on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday (if needed) at 6:30 p.m. in council chambers of city hall. (TT)