Saline Taxes Go Down Slightly In New Budget

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No one from the public choose to comment as the Saline City Council voted to adopt its FY22 budget. Saline’s newest budget will be paid for by a 17.0493 millage levy on its residents.

“This final iteration is obviously still open to amendment during the fiscal year, but those reflect our best estimates and priorities for the upcoming fiscal year,” City Manager Colleen O’Toole said.

The 14.0023 general operating millage, which includes Saline’s contribution to the Saline Area Fire Department, will be the bulk of what Saline tax payers will pay. The 2004 street debt millage will also cost 0.355 mills, the 1.000 mils street millage and 1.6920 refuse millage will also be levied.

The tax rate in Saline actually went down slightly, according to City Manager O’Toole “by point one eight mills.”

The city is expecting to take in about $1.25 million in revenue and spend the same, according to a draft revenue estimate in the council’s packet.

“Property tax revenue increased due to increases in real property values offset by the loss of personal property tax parcels taken off the role. Interest remains low. Total prior committed reserves of $526,493 includes $481,493 as a continuing projects reserve and $45,000 for a bond reserve,” Deputy Treasurer Joanne McDonnough said in a letter to the Tax Increment Finance Authority Board.

The city is planning on spending $90,000 for pickle ball courts in People’s Park, $10,000 for dam repairs, $55,000 in lift station repairs and $145,000 in road repairs, according to McDonnough. McDonnough estimated that the city will have a year end reserve of $648,415 and a $45,000 bond reserve.

The entire council voted to approve the millage, but some councilors did voice future funding priorities, which weren’t part of the budget.

Councilor Janet Dillon wants to find a new source of revenue to continue to fund the recreation center over the long run, as well as establish “formal expectations” on Saline Main Street, the small business non-profit, which helps promote downtown’s business community. Saline Main Street saw its budget increase in a new contract approved at last week’s meeting; at $56,000 per year.

Councilor Dawn Krause also wants to find a way to increase mental health funding in the city.

Mayor Pro Tem Dean Girbach praised the Biden Administration for it including funding for municipal funding in the r American Rescue Plan. Saline is expecting to receive nearly a million dollars, this year and next, as part of the $1.9 trillion stimulus package that passed Congress on a party line vote last spring.

“It is fortunate this year that Covid did not hit us as hard as we anticipated. Coming forward into this year, we may be able to find a lot of matching funds to cover not only our pensions, but hopefully some of our construction projects that are coming forward, so I think we have a good path forward,” Girbach said.

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