After months and months of work by staff, various departments and the Howell City Council, a balanced budget for the upcoming year has been approved.

Council recently adopted the 2019/2020 budget and it was noted that the big issues moving forward will be infrastructure investment and streets. The budget maintains full services and the general fund contains some capital expenditures, mainly for computer upgrades and replacement. City Manager Shea Charles says that millage rates were lowered a little bit due to Headlee Rollback on the City’s general operating millage. He noted that Council designated that current service levels be maintained during various budget work sessions that took place in the fall and into the winter. Charles tells WHMI they did trim about quarter-million dollars out of the anticipated budget to bring it into balance. He says the budget is the result of a lot of hard work by Council and staff to get to this point so they’re excited but challenges remain.

Charles says overall the City is still suffering the effects of the recession and the state continues to not fully fund revenue sharing. He says one of the challenges is that the City does not have the capacity to do infrastructure projects as it has in the past so not a lot of money is in the budget, just some general maintenance dollars out there for road infrastructure. The City is funding a portion of the State Street reconstruction project currently underway but that is funded via a 90% grant. Charles says Council earlier set a policy that any road projects on a go-forward basis had to have 80% for construction costs grant funded.

The budget does reflect a tentative water and sewer fee increase of 5%. The City is awaiting completion of a rate study review by consultants so the increase is subject to change. The last time the City adjusted rates was July 1st of 2017. (JM)