By ZEINAB NAJM
HEIGHTS — The City Council approved the city’s 2019-20 corporate fund budget, which keeps the city work week at four days, with only Councilman Tom Wencel voting no during a special meeting June 3.
For the upcoming year, the city will have a total revenue of $49.5 million and expenditures of $49.28 million equaling a surplus of about $218,000 according to the budget documents.
“I am living up to my word to the residents that I wouldn’t approve any budget that didn’t contain a five-day work week for the city of Dearborn Heights,” Wencel said.
Councilman Ray Muscat said he voted yes because the council needed to pass the budget and hopes to continue having further and future discussions about the city going from a four-day work week to a five-day work week.
At the May 28 council meeting, the council voted against approving budget because of several concerns, but held the special meeting June 3 to meet the budget deadline.
Revenues listed in the budget documents include $9.45 million for public ACT 345, $2.7 million for sanitation; $2.39 for public safety; $6.02 million for state shared revenues; $3.6 million for the 20th District Court; and $11.375 million for fees, license and permits combined.
The ACT 345 — to fund police and fire retirement systems — was discussed during a study session prior to the special meeting, as was the 115 Trust Fund.
According to the Focus on Public Benefits website, “a 115 trust is a vehicle for segregating agency funds from general assets for the purpose of funding essential governmental functions. For example, a 115 trust can be used to set aside monies to meet future pension contributions or liabilities. Funds placed in a 115 trust are irrevocably committed for the essential government function specified in the applicable trust agreement.”
ACT 345, which is “to provide for the establishment, maintenance, and administration of a system of pensions and retirements for the benefit of the personnel of fire and police departments employed by cities, villages, or municipalities having full paid members in the departments, and for the spouses and children of the members,” according to the Michigan Legislature website.
Council approved both the 155 Trust ordinance as an emergency ordinance and the ACT 345 voter-approved tax levy of 7.636 mills unanimously.
Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton said the 115 Trust Fund ordinance establishes two separate funds with one for general government healthcare and a second for the police and fire health care with an independent board oversight, on her Facebook post.
“We discussed this and I think this is the best way to ensure that there’s not going to be any sort of a problem saying that this is not appropriate under ACT 345,” Corporate Counsel Gary Miotke said during the study session.
Hicks-Clayton responded by saying, “I appreciate that. It is imperative we do it correctly and avoid any controversial — between general fund is here and police and fire have to be separate which means that money cannot be in general fund it has to be separated.”
The city council agenda for the June 11 meeting includes clarification of 2019-20 budget motion and budget amendment relating to corporate fund both from Comptroller Linda Vance under the reports from city officials section.
Also during the June 3 special meeting, the council 6-1 voted in favor of the resolution to award the 2019 Spirit Festival’s adult beverage supplier to the O&W Inc. company.
Councilman Dave Abdallah was the vote against the resolution.
The 33rd annual Spirit Festival was held June 5 and 9 at the Canfield Community Center.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected])