Huff: Funding bump ‘refreshing’Published 10:39pm Thursday, February 16, 2012
Niles City Administrator Ric Huff breathed a short sigh of relief when he saw Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal for 2013.
After several years of the state chopping away at revenue sharing to Michigan municipalities, next year’s budget calls for a modest 2 percent increase to Constitutional revenue sharing.
The Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) will be back, offering cities, villages and townships additional revenue-sharing funding if they meet specific standards and adopt the governor’s “best practices.” EVIP is funded by $210 million in state sales tax revenue.
Huff called the slight bump in funding “refreshing” after seeing significant cuts in the past several years. The city has lost more than $200,000 in revenue sharing payments in the past two years.
The funding increase next year would be nominal for the city — Huff estimates about $10,000 — but it’s better than a decrease.
The slight increase won’t be enough to fund projects or replace lost employees. It might just be enough to offset potential property tax losses, Huff said.
“It’s better than nothing,” he said. “It’s just very encouraging that it’s not being cut again.”
Huff said the city couldn’t handle any more cuts without major changes in how it provides services.
“We had reached a breaking point,” he said. “The community really would feel a difference if we cut back any more.”
But Huff is not getting his hopes up, as the governor’s proposed budget still has to pass the State House and Senate.
“We’re still going to watch very closely as it moves through the legislature, but the initial outlook is encouraging,” he said.