Sterling Heights on $1,000/resident?
The proposed budget for 2011/2012 has been released for public consumption. The overall budget comes in at $135,265,030. With 129,699 residents as of the 2010 U.S. Census, that works out to spending $1,042.91 per resident during the coming fiscal year, or in the monthly terms the city likes to use, about $86.90/resident/month. Note that is $86.90 per month for every man, woman and child in the city.
At this level of expenditure, the city plans to spend $4.5 million more than it takes in via taxes, fees, fines and revenue sharing. It will cover this overspending by taking the money out of the so-called “rainy day fund” — the carry-forward balance from previous years, which will have $7.2 million remaining for next year.
There are, of course, many issues with a city government that refuses to live within its means year after year. Not the least of which is this: should the tax base hold its value at 2011 levels for the next 24 months (doubtful) and should the city manage to keep spending at 2011 levels for those two years (even more doubtful) we will run out of money in the “rainy day” fund sometime in the latter part of the 2013/14 fiscal year. Obviously, that means a tax increase is looming. In the meantime, our road infrastructure will continue to crumble to match our declining property values.
My modest proposal is this: let’s reduce spending this year by $42.91/resident, bringing the total expenditure to a still-solid $1,000/resident. That represents a 4.11% spending decrease, which ought to be attainable.
$34.69 of the unspent money will wipe out the deficit spending. The remaining unspent $8.22 will represent a true move towards the sort of austerity a local government in Michigan ought to be making.
Can you, as a resident of Sterling Heights, live without less than $43 of the spending the city proposes and still have a nice, safe town to live in? I sure think so!