By JAMES MITCHELL
Sunday Times Newspapers
SOUTHGATE – City officials considered last week a proposed 2015-16 annual budget that Mayor Joseph Kuspa said reflects a “comfortable” economic standing.
“This is a solid budget,” Kuspa said after the first reading Wednesday. “It’s based on solid numbers and we’re comfortable with it. It reflects our ability to live within our revenues.”
Little has changed in recent projects of the city’s revenues and expenses, and the balanced budget again includes a projected fund balance of nearly $900,000.
As presented, Kuspa recommended a budget showing $21,519,632 in estimated general fund revenues for Fiscal Year 2015-16; and $21,519,374 in expenses for the period.
“It’s still a tight situation and will be for years,” Kuspa said. “But once again we’ve provided a balanced budget.”
Kuspa said that an anticipated 10 percent increase in property values represents a positive turn, but that most investments the city might make will continue to rely on grant funding or private investments.
“We’ve always been active in getting grant dollars to augment the fiscal year budget,” Kuspa said. This year’s plans include a Parks Capital Improvement Program to upgrade recreational facilities, and various projects will continue making upgrades to city roads.
Having endured the economic downturn of recent years – as well as last summer’s unprecedented flooding that revealed infrastructure issues – Kuspa said the foundation continues for economic prosperity. Live music is expected to launch this summer at Market Park, the public gathering place at the former Montgomery Ward corner of the Southgate Shopping Center. Investment at that location began several years ago when property owner Mickey Sisskind donated the acreage to the city and financed the building demolition in October 2012. Early business interest included Downriver Gymnastics setting up shop in the former Farmer Jack, and Kuspa said more have followed.
“There’s a lot of interest in the vacancies, which won’t stay that way for long,” Kuspa said. “Even through the downturn we’ve balanced a budget and have been proactive in making Southgate a community people want to invest in.”
Final council approval of the 2015-16 budget is expected at the panel’s next regular meeting on May 20.
(James Mitchell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)