Rochester Hills Year-End Budget Review

by DREW HOWARD

The Rochester Hills City Council adopted fourth quarter budget amendments at their final meeting of 2017 on Monday, December 11.

Rochester Hills Chief Financial Officer Joe Snyder proposed fourth quarter budget amendments that would increase city-wide revenues by $831,000 and decrease expenditures by $15.7 million. This $15.7 million total is made up of $12.9 million in capital expenditures, $2.8 million in operating expenditures, and $17,000 in transfer-out expenditures.

The fourth quarter budget amendments results in an additional $16.5 million to the fund balance, with $10.3 million of these funds expected to be carried over in the next fiscal year as part of the first quarter budget amendment for projects not completed in fiscal year 2017.

Snyder also took time to review the 2017 budget. He noted that city capital expenditures reached $19.4 million in 2017, though the city only drew $7.9 million total from the fund balance. This is what Snyder described as a “structural surplus.”

Council Member Susan Bowyer was especially pleased to see that the city completed all expected projects while still coming in under budget.

“You came in under budget on so many things that we ended up with a really nice surplus at the end here for the (fourth quarter) amendments,” Bowyer told Snyder. “It’s just great to see that when you’re actually forecasting and projecting a budget you’re definitely going for a more conservative outlook.”

Mayor Barnett was also happy with the year-end results, comparing the 2017 budget overview to a strong report card.

“What this says is that, consistently and across the board, we have come in under budget with expenses less than anticipated and revenues greater than anticipated,” Barnett said. “There aren’t a lot of cities that enjoy this every year, putting millions back and accomplishing everything their legislative bodies have asked them to do.”

The $19.4 million in capital expenditures in 2017 was broken up in the following categories: $4.612 million for major roads (24%); $4.643 million for water and sewer capital (24%); $4.269 million for local streets (22%); $2.682 million for fire capital (14%); and $1.463 million for facilities (8%).

Other expenses were directed toward pathways, storm water, and capital improvement, among other areas.

Capital expenditures in 2017 were lower than 2016 ($20.6) and 2015 ($20.9), though considerably higher than 2014 ($15.5), 2013 ($8.8) and 2012 ($5.1).

Moving on to other matters, State Rep. Michael Webber updated the council on his efforts to pass three House bills in Lansing that would add significant revenue to the 45th District, which encompasses Rochester, Rochester Hills and part of Oakland Township.

“House bills 5314, 5315 and 5316 have passed committee and await action on the House floor,” Webber said. “These bills would seek to add an additional $5 million a year to the revenue sharing pot through existing sales tax revenues. These will be debated and discussed next year during the budgetary process.”

Webber also updated the council on a House bill that would allow contracting of some election services aimed at benefiting small municipalities, with the end goal to increase access to voting. The bill passed nearly unanimously in the House and now awaits movement in the Senate.

The Rochester Hills City Council will meet again Monday, January 8 in 2018. You can watch this meeting and others in full by visiting the council’s YouTube page, “Council Meetings – City of Rochester Hills.”