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Posted on Thu, May 9, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

Ypsilanti's budget: General fund revenues expected to increase 7.25 percent

By Katrease Stafford

Ypsilanti City Manager Ralph Lange announced during the city's first budget session of the year that general fund revenues are projected to increase 7.25 percent.


The city of Ypsilanti held its first budget meeting Tuesday.

Steve Pepple | file photo

Lange said Tuesday the city's revenues will increase from $13,252,090 in fiscal year 2012-13 to $14,212,047 in fiscal year 2013-14.

"If it wasn’t for the Water Street debt, we would have a balanced budget," Lange said. "We’re going in the right direction. We're projecting the revenues will increase a million."

The city owes $24,764,695 on the Water Street debt and to date, the city has paid $4.6 million of the debt. The payments, and interest rate, are expected to increase as the city continues to pay through 2031.

The debt repayment schedule shows two payments are due each year and the first 2013 payment of $848,783.75 was due May 1 of this year. The next payment, $435,070, is due Nov. 1. Officials have discussed refinancing the total debt in the near future.

However, Lange said the city has already rescheduled and reduced the interest on its Water Street related Community Development Block Grant program loan through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 4 percent to 2 percent in fiscal year 2012-13.

"It's one of the things I'm most proud of," Lange said. "That gives us very critical breathing space."

Lange noted the city has also been meticulous in its hiring. The city lost 18 employees between Jan. 1, 2012 and May 1, 2013 and only hired or rehired five individuals.

Lange also said the city's housing and business markets are expected to continue improving over the next year.


The chart shows the projected taxable and assessed values of properties in the city of Ypsilanti.

Courtesy City of Ypsilanti

"The proposed fiscal year 2013-2014 budget is based upon the 2013 taxable value of $289,614,595, which is .38 percent lower than the fiscal year 2012-2013 taxable value," Lange wrote in the city's budget packet. "This decline is much less than that experienced each of the last five years and reflects the reported stabilization of the real estate market locally."

According to Lange, property tax revenues for FY 2013-2014 are projected to be about $308,046 higher than originally projected due to an increase in the fire and police retirement millage from 7.403 mills in 2012-2013 to 8.9229 mills in 2013-2014.

Council will have its second budget session Tuesday, May 14 and police Chief Amy Walker, fire Chief Max Anthouard, Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority Tim Colbeck, and Finance Director Marilou Uy will present their budgets.

Katrease Stafford covers Ypsilanti for her at or 734-623-2548 and follow her on twitter.



Thu, May 9, 2013 : 11:13 p.m., why is it every time there is an article about Ypsilanti you use a photo of Depot Town, just curious?

Pete Murdock

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:05 p.m.

The budget calls for three additional police officers (or public safety officers depending on how that goes) and two replacement firefighters . More on that at the next Monday's meeting.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 9:48 p.m.

If I understand Mr. Murdock correctly, it would appear that the proposed budget is wholly unsustainable beyond the current year – despite the dramatic reductions in personnel (primarily in the police and fire departments). Water Street debt, owed and payable by the taxpayers through 2031, is thwarting any possible chance of real fiscal turnaround in the city. No regrets, huh?

Depot Town

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:33 p.m.

Isn't Murdoch really saying the that declining taxable value and the unsustainable fire and police pensions are what is really to blame? He said the pension is causing property taxes to increase 1.5 mills a year. How long before the biggest expense in the budget is paying for police officers and fire fighters who get to retire in the 40s and start pulling a pension for the next 40 years?

Jay Thomas

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 9:16 p.m.

Police. Police. Police. Did I mention police?


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:02 p.m.

We pay more in property taxes and, in return, the city fails to provide even basic public services – including sufficient public safety services. The arrogance of the city manager to actually state that he is "proud" of anything is stupefying.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : 2:46 a.m.

Property taxes are down because values are down, not due to any benevolence from the city. If the economy does finally rebound and values go up, so will your taxes and the city coffers will be better for it.


Fri, May 10, 2013 : midnight

Michael: I was referring to the millage increase. If taxable values remain roughly the same (no material decrease) the city portion of your property taxes are going to increase.

michael Limmer

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 10:42 p.m.

Property taxes are down 25% city wide, how is that paying more? Look, we all believe in less government, and this is what it looks like. I do agree that the City Manager should be ashamed to use the term "proud", but more for the jiggling of account to balance the budget.

Pete Murdock

Thu, May 9, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

General Fund Revenues have increased because of the inclusion of ~$1M of grant and contributions for Rutherford Pool, a 1.5 mil (~$420K) tax increase for police and fire pension and retiree health care, a one year delay in the elimination of the personal property tax ~$90K. Taxable value has actually declined slightly. In addition, the proposed budget is "balanced" by shifting the costs of street lighting to a special assessment and with the use of ~$1.5M of various reserves - reserves that will not be available in future years.


Thu, May 9, 2013 : 8:04 p.m.

Thank you for providing the truth in an easy-to-understand manner. I respect your candor and transparency.