by Graham Sturgeon, co-editor
The Durand City Council voted to approve the city’s 2016-17 Budget during a May 16 Special Meeting, with city manager Amy Roddy calling the budget balanced, though with “no bells and whistles.”
The projected General Fund balance actually rose, from $2,050,480 to begin the 2015-16 year to $2,104,845, despite the city undertaking the extensive Rural Development project. Roddy reported that the city has a 20 percent fund equity, which falls into the auditor’s recommended 15 to 25 percent range. Additionally, the city’s Minor Street Fund holds a balance exceeding $102,000 and the Major Street Fund just over $92,000. Councilman Dr. Brian Boggs also reminded The Independent that the sale of the three Lansing Road parcels to Randy Wise are not yet included in the budget, meaning that the numbers will only improve once that sale hits the books.
As the council has warned for months, city water rates will be raised two percent to compensate for the Rural Development bond payments the city will begin paying during the 2016-17 fiscal year. To put the percentage into perspective, Roddy said that a resident that uses 6,000 gallons of water per month would see their bill rise from $96 to $98.
Roddy reported during the first budget reading on May 2 that the Rural Development project will be completed during the next fiscal year, with 18 city streets also to be replaced along the way. Most of the road work will occur in the southwest quadrant, with streets such as Scougle, Maryette, Brand, Division, and Campbell all being re-done following the completion of the underground infrastructure work. The council also plans to employ a full-time building inspector in the upcoming fiscal year, with a probable cost-sharing deal worked out with the city of Swartz Creek.