GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council on Tuesday passed a balanced, $4.38 million proposed general fund budget for the 2014-2015 fiscal year; a budget that includes a 1 percent raise for city staff.
“The city employees have not had a raise in about five years,” City Manager George Bosanic said, adding it was important to have competitive wages in order to keep what he called a talented staff on board.
“I am becoming concerned about the talent that we have and the opportunities they could have going forward,” he said. “I want to make sure we’re retaining those we still have.”
Other than the raise, the budget is largely similar to the previous year’s $4.38 million estimated budget.
The city continues to try to rebound from the losses of United Solar Ovonic and Electrolux. In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, four full-time positions were cut and some full-time employees were reduced to part time due to declining revenue.
“The loss of UniSolar had a profound effect on us in the last two to three years given that the payments in lieu of tax was quite substantial and once the property went bankrupt that revenue stream no longer came in,” Bosanic said. “The bankruptcy process that we engaged in was quite substantial so it became a cost issue for us.”
In 2010, when United Solar was in its prime, the city’s fund balance was at its peak. Since then, it has been dipped into several times to balance budgets, but
Bosanic said the fund is still in great health considering the enormous loss of large employers.
The 2013-2014 fiscal year will likely see about $3,000 added to the general fund balance and a projected $30,000 could be added in 2014-2015, which would bring it to just over $160,000.
Bosanic said the budget decisions have been tough over the past few years, but have been essential in getting the city back on its feet and financially stable, something not a lot of communities in Michigan have been able to do.
“No one wants to do it,” he said of the layoffs, “but it was necessary in order to bring the city back into financial good shape. As you can see, in the last couple of years the fund balance has grown. In the proposed year, we’re actually proposing to put more back in the fund balance at the end of the year. So our revenues will exceed expenditures and we think that trend will continue.”
The 2014-2015 budget approved at Tuesday’s council meeting is only a proposed budget and can still be amended. Cities must provide a balanced annual budget to the state.
“We worked really hard on all that,” Mayor John Hoppough said, giving most of the credit for the city’s financial shape to Bosanic and city employees.
“Greenville is in good hands, in your and your staff’s hands.”