CHARLOTTE, Mich. —
Charlotte's leaders say they're dealing with a financial crisis.
The city council approved its 2021-2022 budget on June 21, and it's more than $860,000 less than last year's.
That means they’re delaying purchases of things like fire trucks and park equipment.
"So our adopted budget in 2020-2021 was $6,374,020 and then are adopted budget for this upcoming fiscal year for the 2021-2022 year was $5,510,761," said City Manager Erin LaPere.
That's a cut of more than 15 percent. The city has decided to put off purchasing park equipment, a fire truck, and updating its master plan.
"Some of those things that eventually we will have to address, but can be delayed, you know, while we work through some of these fiscal challenges," LaPere said.
The city is also bringing accounting and financial services back in house, which is expected to save about $100,000 a year.
LaPere said, in 2018, the city decided to outsource some of its accounting and financial services to a private contractor.
With the budget cuts, some of the things citizens will see are changes at the park, as mowing will be done less often and equipment will be older.
"Some of these equipment purchases that we're delaying it's not something that the residents will see day today," she said. "The staff will have to make do with an older firetruck and things like that, but certainly it's nothing the residents will see in terms of change in service."
LaPere said the city has been spending more than it's been bringing in revenues in the general fund for the last few years.
"Much like a person at home, if you're spending more than you're bringing in, you can sometimes dip into your savings to cover that difference. And that is what the city has been doing for the last few years," LaPere said. "And our savings account balance is getting to a point where we can't continue to do that."
She said the city should have just under a million dollars in savings.
"And right now we have about $300,000. And we do know that number will be reduced with the upcoming audit because of course last year's budget that was approved, the expenditures exceeded the revenues as well,” LaPere said.
Adjusting will allow the city to rebuild its savings, get back to only spending what they bring in and pay down unfunded pension liability, she said.
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