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Posted on Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 9:15 a.m.

Sylvan Township board unanimously approves $463,500 operating budget

By Lisa Allmendinger

Sylvan Township is expecting a $15,000 bump in state revenue sharing this year, but a $3,400 reduction in property tax collections as part of its recently adopted $463,550 operating budget.

Supervisor Bob Lange said Wednesday that the anticipated increase in revenue sharing for the 2012-2013 operating budget was based on what the township had seen in past years.

Township officials are anticipating $190,000 in state revenue sharing compared with $175,000 that was received in 2011. In addition, the township anticipates collecting $168,600 in property taxes, which is a $3,400 decline compared with the $172,000 that was collected last year.

This also means a reduction in administrative fees that are collected with twice yearly tax bills. A 1 percent fee is added to tax bills in Sylvan Township and many other cities, villages and townships across the county.

The fees are used to help pay the salaries of the township treasurer and assessor, Lange said. The remainder is added to the general fund.

On the bright side, the township plans to add about $5,300 its contingency fund by the end of the budget year. In 2011, the projected contingency fund balance was about $285,000. By the end of March 2012, that balance is expected to be about $286,000 and by the end of March 2013, that total is projected to be about $292,400.

In total, township officials are expecting $463,550 in revenues from a combination of sources in 2012, while in 2011, there was about $448,950.

“It’s a living document that can be amended during the year,” Lange said on Wednesday. “Nothing is set in stone.”

On the expense side, Lange said that during Tuesday night’s budget hearing, residents asked for more specific breakdowns of certain budget items such as the $170,000 legal line item, as well the $25,000 in maintenance costs for township facilities.

“Those will be provided to them,” he said.

The township is still anticipating expenses of about $170,000 in legal fees and financial advice this year, the same amount that was planned for 2011 as the township fought a series of lawsuits from developers.

An additional $6,000 was budgeted for elections in 2012, because of the addition of a primary in this year’s budget cycle.

Also receiving an increase was the Planning Commission line item that doubled from $2,200 to $4,400. This planned increase, Lange said, was because it’s expected that the commissioners, who are paid for attending meetings, will meet more often as new building plans are submitted to the township.

The budget was unanimously approved following the public hearing.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter for She can be reached at



Thu, Mar 8, 2012 : 4:03 p.m.

This budget is a mess, and bears no resemblance to reality. Not only was it not presented in accordance with the Michigan Uniform Budget Act (no actual performance was given, only budgeted numbers), it also makes no allowance for the changed circumstances of the township. The legal/financial adviser line item is set as it was last year, at $170,000 (a mind boggling 36% of all projected expenditures), with no recognition that our ruinous law suits are for the most part behind us. Indeed, an informed source has told me the township's expenses in this regard were slightly over $100,000 last year, not the budgeted $170,000 (remember, no actual numbers were presented to the public as part of the budget hearing process!) This creates a substantial surplus in the general fund budget (not to be confused with the woeful shape of the broke debt service fund). Seems to me that bears some discussion. As for Mr. Lange's comment as to the administrative fee: Perhaps he should acquaint himself with the statute before he so blithely admits to violating it. Michigan Compiled Law 211.44.4: "A property tax administration fee collected by the township treasurer shall be used only for the purposes for which it may be collected as specified by subsection (3) and this subsection." In other words, Bob, no, you can't just dump it into the general fund. Of course, this casual disregard for statute is no stranger to Sylvan Township. The township not following the rules closely. What could possibly go wrong (he asks, $13,500,000 later)? Michael Williams Sylvan Township Supervisor nov 20, 2004 - nov 20, 2008