Wyandotte budget woes could mount in next 5 years

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE — Despite cost reductions, the city is projected to experience significant increases in its general fund deficit over the next five years.

City Administrator Todd Drysdale presented the five-year budget plan and predicts the deficit will grow to over $1 million after the 2015 fiscal year if nothing is done. He said the city could see a deficit of about $200,000 by the end of the 2014 fiscal year, even though the city has cut $4 million over the last three years.

This is the last year the city will have a supplemental 1.75 mills factored into the budget and once the millage is gone, he said the problem is only going to get worse.

“This year we are short about $200,000, but the future without the supplemental millage is far more dire,” Drysdale said. “It would entail much more stringent cost cutting or a renewal of the millage, if this body and the citizens agree it is appropriate.”

By fiscal year 2015, the budget deficit could reach $951,000 and about $1.35 million by fiscal year 2017. In comparison, the city’s deficit for fiscal year 2012 was $29,000.

Drysdale said the drastic increases in the deficit are due to many negative trends facing the city. The city collected about $381,000 less in property taxes than last year, he said, while the payments made into the retirement system saw an increase of about $274,000. The city also saw roughly a $100,000 reduction in the income from the district court.

“The budget is like running a race,” Drysdale said. “Every time we pick up speed, the expenditures pick up speed just a little bit faster, especially when you are a local municipality, because there’s very little you can do to grow your revenue. You are at the whim of everybody else.”

(Gabriel Goodwin can be reached at ggoodwin@bewickpublications.com.)