Budget talk begins in Dexter Township

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The budget season is upon Dexter Township and there’s one line item in the proposed plan that could change how things work inside township hall.

The first thing that needs to be emphasized is the budget is purely in draft form at this time and there will be opportunities for the board, staff and community to give their input and feedback, which could see the draft plan adjusted or changed.

It was put together by township supervisor Diane Ratkovich, who presented it to the board this month.

Although it is early in the process, there was some talk at the Jan. 18 board meeting about the proposed addition of a manager or superintendent.

Ratkovich said it’s her desire the township hire a township manager/ superintendent full-time to take over and control the day-to-day management of township operations while she would concentrate on being supervisor.

According to statutory duties, a township supervisor does such things as develop the budget and moderate the board meetings. These are just two of the supervisor’s duties.

The drafted budget proposes setting aside $84,000 for township superintendent/manager salary with $124,300 set aside for the overall costs for this position.

As part of her proposal, Ratkovich would take a significant salary cut from $37,000 down to $12,000.

Board trustee Jeff McDole said he has a hard time supporting this at this time and was not sure it should be earmarked yet in the budget. He said he wants more discussion because this would be a structural change.

Ratkovich said yes there should be more discussion about this and it’s her plan to have a special meeting where the board could talk with some individuals who currently serve as a township manager or superintendent. This would be done to learn more about what this person could do.

She said the day-to-day management has taken her away from some of the bigger ideas and initiatives the township is taking on.

Treasurer Maris Metz said another option to talk about is maybe delegating more responsibilities to those who can take on the work.

Board trustee Laura Sanders said she also wants to discuss the proposal more and probably other options as well. She said it is a lot of money and it’s a shift in how the township operates, so maybe they should look at different creative alternatives as well.

She said maybe someone could be brought on half-time or as a deputy.

The next steps will see the board have a workshop on the budget and put it before the community with a public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Feb. 15 at township hall.

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