Township passes 2011 budget 4-2

Published 3:40 am Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Niles Township Board passed the 2011 general fund budget last week.

The total budget, which came in at $1.93 million, was passed by a 4-2 vote with Township Supervisor Jim Kidwell and former trustee Michael Bailey voting no.

The special meeting when the budget was passed was Bailey’s last meeting with his resignation now in effect.

The budget is about $11,000 lower than the 2010 budget of $1.94 million.

Treasurer Jim Ringler said the township has begun to expect reductions in revenue, considering state revenue sharing continues to decline.

State revenue sharing for the township dipped from $895,000 in 2010 to $852,000 in the 2011 budget.

“We’re structured pretty lean anyway for a township our size,” Ringler said. “That’s what makes it very challenging (to balance the budget).”

Kidwell said he voted no on the budget because it didn’t include switching to a township police department that he estimated would save the township $150,000 from the current coverage from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.

The board voted no on Kidwell’s township police proposal by a 5-2 vote at the end of September.

“I still feel strongly the taxpayers could still get a professional police department with the same caliber of people and still pay less tax dollars for it,” Kidwell said. “I didn’t feel right to vote for the total budget with that underlying.”

Kidwell said other than the police department issue, he was satisfied with the budget.

“We made the right cuts. We were able to keep everybody on board (didn’t lose any employees),” he said. “When you’re able to do that, it’s always a good thing.”

Kidwell said the board was able to find a $55,000 sheriff department surplus that went a long way in helping to balance the budget. The budget also calls for building inspection funding to drop from $188,154 to $159,336 and parks and recreation funding to fall from $93,153 to $84,734.