The Chesterfield Township Board of Trustees held a special meeting Wednesday at the municipal offices to review the township's budget for 2013.
The general fund budget will rise from about $6.7 million in 2012 to $6.9 million next year. The increase was not attributed to any one particular item, according to Chesterfield Township Financial Director Vicky Bauer.
Employee Travel Budget
Trustee Christine Bell expressed concern over the increase in travel costs within various departments, noting that the amount given seems "very high."
Supervisor Michael Lovelock, whose travel stipend increased from $700 to $1,500, said that in four years, he has not been to any conferences and feels that the conferences are a crucial for training. Lovelock recommends that all board members attend the upcoming Michigan Township Association Conference in Ann Arbor next year.
"Being informed is a wealth of knowledge," Lovelock said. "We want everyone on this board to understand and know their duties and obligations."
The amount represents travel costs and conference fees.
Newly elected township Clerk Cindy Berry questioned why there was a "floater" clerk addition under the "general administration" section of the budget.
Lovelock explained the job role refers to a person who various departments can request extra assistance from during busy periods. The so-called floater clerk was part of the 2012 budget under a union agreement.
Another question was brought up by Berry regarding an increase in the 'Township Hall & Grounds' portion of the township's budget, displaying an $800 increase in 'planting'. It was clarified that the money is actually being used toward Chesterfield Township hosting the Beautification Council of Southeastern Michigan next year. Tickets will need to be purchased by attendees of the event, ultimately, off-setting the cost.
The final question addressed at the meeting was from Trustee Bell, regarding the Anchor Bay Pump Station. An increase of $1,500 was made to the 2013 budget, bringing the total to $2,500. The reason for the increase is that outside workers need to be hired to do maintenance on the four pumps at the station, according to Lovelock. Sand and silt must be vacuumed out from underneath the station so that the pumps do not become clogged and can continue to operate smoothly.
During the meeting, Lovelock praised township employees for their hard work and dedication.
"I want to commend all the department heads," Lovelock said. "Everyone's working harder and smarter for less pay."
He focused directly on the building department, noting an increase in permits in the past year for commercial properties.
"When commercial starts coming back, it's a great sign and eventually, residential will start to follow," Lovelock said.
No questions were asked by audience members during the session that lasted for approximately 30 minutes.