Archived Story

Berrien budget unveiled

Published 6:36pm Thursday, October 18, 2012


ST. JOSEPH — Berrien County will spend $331 per resident in its 2013 general fund budget unveiled Thursday.

That’s $5.33 more than $326 in 2012 (and $319 in 2011 and $320 in 2010). Expenditures per capita are based on 156,941 citizens.

A 22-page overview presented by Doug James, financial services director, indicates $51,733,677 revenues and $52,033,677 expenditures, which will reduce fund balance $300,000 to $15 million.

Fund balance is projected to end next year at 28.9 percent of a full year’s spending, solidly within board policy of 20 percent to 40 percent.

Revenues are up 1 percent, or $535,906. Expenditures increase 1.6 percent, or $835,906. A $51,197,771 budget was adopted for 2012.

Taxes make up 63.6 percent of revenue, or $32.9 million. Charges for services account for $6.3 million, or 12.1 percent. State revenue sharing amounts to 5.4 percent, or $2.8 million, which is down from $3.6 million in 2009-2011.

Taxes generated at least $33.5 million in each of the last three years, 2010-2012.

State equalized value declined for the third straight year to $8.683 billion — a $337 million, or 3.7 percent, decrease.

Taxable value declined slightly to $6.948 billion — a $36 million decrease, or 0.5 percent, and is equivalent to 80 percent of SEV.

The decrease in taxable value equates to $689,000 of the total tax revenue decrease, $785,000. A $32,999 increase from permits is largely driven by dog licenses.

State court funding decreases $141,000.

The P.A. 90 parks millage increase generates $326,149.

Public safety makes up 29.9 percent of expenditures, or $15.5 million, while the courts are responsible for another 18.9-percent of spending, or $9.8 million.

General government, such as clerk, treasurer and building and grounds, costs $8.8 million, or 17 percent.

“Salaries and benefits make up about 59.4 percent of the total expenditures,” James said. “That’s $30.9 million of the $52 million budget.”

Contractual services, pegged at $2,352,135, represents a 20.9 percent increase from $1,990,271. Jail health services climbs $400,000.

“We have gone from the fulltime equivalent of 670.5 people in 2012 to 650.8 — a decrease of 19 to 20 people,” James said. “We are projecting 4.1 employees per 1,000 residents.”

The county has lost 88.3 positions since 2006. The change from 2012 of 19.7 includes six in trial court, 4.7 in the health department, three in the sheriff’s department and two each, clerk and building and grounds. From the dollar side, salaries and benefits decreased 0.4 percent, or $110,000 from 2012.

“However,” James said, “the net reduction of 15 FTEs saves the general fund $951,000 in total salary and benefit costs. Salaries and wages decreased by 2.7 percent, or $593,000, of which $569,000 is due to the elimination of vacancies/positions net of transfers.”

Benefit costs increased 5.1 percent, or $583,000.

At the end of 2011, pension funding was at 73 percent of the actuarial liability, including component units such as Riverwood and the road commission.




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