BELDING — For the first time in nine years, the city of Belding will see an increase to its general fund balance.
At Tuesday evening’s Belding City Council meeting, council members voted 5-0 to approve the tentative fiscal year 2014-2015 city budget.
According to City Manager Meg Mullendore, the budget is balanced and it is also the first budget to see revenues outweigh expenditures in the city’s general fund since the fiscal year 2005-2006.
“As a staff, we’re really excited that we did not have to draw from our fund balance to balance the budget,” she said. “As usual, I like to underestimate our revenue and overestimate our expenditures. That’s reflected here, and we still came up with these numbers.”
According to the budget, the expenditures of the city’s general fund amount to $2,219,820. Expenditures include city services such as the police and fire departments, planning and community development, and finance and administrative services.
The revenues for the general fund, which are collected through property taxes and state revenues, amount to $2,279,083, leaving a remaining balance of $25,963.
Add that balance to the city’s previous fund balance and it is projected to be healthy at $1,104,997 as of June 30, 2015.
Mullendore described the work on the upcoming budget as a “team effort,” after having worked with City Finance Director Sam Andres and council members during two work sessions.
“This is the first year in nine fiscal years where we have not had to take from our general fund balance, where we have excess revenue.” Mullendore said. “We’re just being leaner.”
Mullendore added that no city services were cut.
“The city of Belding has met this challenge by cutting expenses each year, receiving additional revenue in the form of grants and by pursuing strategies now, which will improve future revenues,” she stated in her budget report.
Mayor Ron Gunderson thanked Mullendore and Andres for their work on the budget, and admitted that though the process isn’t fun, it’s important.
“In the end, after all of our work, it worked out well,” Gunderson said. “Thank you for your efforts and all that you have done.”
The city’s general fund is the largest budget managed by the city. Including the city’s other budgets, such as major streets and the capital improvement fund, the total expenditures incurred throughout the city is estimated to be $10.4 million, which Mullendore said is balanced.
The budget will be discussed during a public hearing at the next council meeting on May 20. After the hearing, council members will vote on whether to approve the budget.
In other matters …
The Belding City Council voted 5-0 to approve an Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption Application for Belding Tool and Machine. The council recently approved the establishment of an industrial development district for the company and owner Jason Markham said the tax exempt status will allow the company $420,000 in improvements, machinery, acquisition, equipment, furniture and fixtures to be completed by the end of 2016. The tax exemption will last for a period of 12 years for real and personal property associated with the development.