KALAMAZOO, Mich – The city of Kalamazoo’s proposed 2013 budget looks to be balanced, thanks to a 2012 early retirement program that plans to reduce municipal workforce to its lowest level in decades.
The plan unveiled Monday includes about $1.5 million dollars in proposed new revenue that will require the city commissions approval. If they can’t get approval, city leaders say they will have to find more ways to cut the 2014 budget.
The city says they continue to experience declining property tax revenue and little help from state or federal sources. The city has to write off an estimated $2.5 million of revenue from prior-year property tax bills that are aging, non-collectable, in foreclosure or ordered refunded by the state tax tribunal.
Officials plan to drain the municipal “rainy day” fund of $1,650,000 to supplement declining revenues.
The budget predicts 674 city positions in 2013, down from 759 this year. Kalamazoo’s municipal staff peaked at 915 in 2001 and has declined more than 26 percent since then.
Rather than budgeting year-to-year, the city of Kalamazoo adopted a five-year fiscal plan model in 2007 that uses the best available data and projects both revenues and spending out over five years.
Capitol improvement projects are budgeted for 2013 including upgrades at Hayes Park and Kik Pool, city hall maintenance, updating two fire trucks and technology upgrades.
They also promise to spend about $4.8 million toward major and local street improvements that include:
- Alvan, from Saidla to Sprinkle
- Austin, from Oakland to Davis
- Fulford, from Cork to Stockbridge
- Kendall, from Hylle to Memory
- North Burdick, from the railroad tracks to the north city limits
- Oakland/Parkview intersection
- Race, from Stockbridge to Lake
- Sailda, from Miller to Alvan
- Westfall, from Michigan to Hylle
- Wheaton, from Merill to Westnedge
- Various traffic signal upgrades
A public hearing on the proposed 2013 budget is expected December 17, 2012 with final adoption scheduled for January 7, 2013.