City Council Update, May 15, 2023

City Council Update, May 15, 2023

At Monday's meeting Council approved next year's budget and fees, multiple upcoming events, and two new ordinances.

New Ordinances

Two ordinances passed their second reading.

The first will make it easier for restaurants to offer outdoor dining.

The second prevents new stores in Berkley from selling dogs and cats.

I anticipate that in June we'll see an additional ordinance that regulates the existing dog store.

City Budget and Fees

There are several items that make up the City's budget and fees. Detailed budget documents can be seen on the City website. The Digital Budget Book will be completed in the coming weeks.

Capital Improvement Plan

The Capital Improvement Plan covers things like building and land improvements over the next seven years. I'd encourage watching the City Manager's presentation from the April 25 Planning Commission Meeting.

Solid Waste Fees

Solid waste fees partially cover trash and recycling.

Residential fees increased by 4%. This is a passthrough of the costs that are charged to the city.

Business fees were changed to make billing more consistent and convenient. The increase will help cover the cost of trash pickup from the downtown street trash cans. It will also help make the fund more self-sufficient and require fewer dollars from the general fund.

Water and Sewer Fees

Water and Sewer rates will increase by 10% this year.

4% of that is a passthrough of the increase the City is charged for water and sewer services.

The remaining 6% is to help to start paying for lead service line replacements in the city. This is a state requirement but they have provided no funding to help. Even with this 6% increase, it does not begin to fully pay the costs the city will see, so we should expect to see large water bill increases over the next few years.

Because of the state mandate, these increases would have been necessary with or without the passage of the millage in order to keep our water system solvent.

The Fiscal Year 2023/2024 Budget

Because the Headlee Override failed, there will need to be severe cuts in ongoing expenses over the next three years and there will be fewer new projects the city can take on.

Some of the service and operation cuts and new fees starting this year include:

  • We are ending brush collection service.
  • A tag will be required for each bag or can of yard waste collected - fee to be determined.
  • Leaf collection will be cut in half.
  • The library will not replace a retiring librarian and thus will close on Saturdays during the summer and every Wednesday evening.
  • We will cancel Public Safety Lids 4 Kids and Fire Open House.
  • We will cancel the Santa Drive By.

You can see the full list of cuts in the May 7 Budget Memo.

These cuts amount to about $500,000 and will need to be permanent. An additional $500,000 in permanent cuts will need to be made next year and another $500,000 the year after that, for a total of $1.5 million in permanent, ongoing cuts.

Without once-in-a-lifetime Federal ARPA funds, we would have needed an immediate $1,500,000 in service and operation cuts instead of gradually phasing out services.

Budgets are always a forecast and can change. If costs are lower than expected or new revenues are raised some of these cuts might be reversed.

The nine hours of budget work sessions can be viewed below. I recommend watching at least the first hour of Day 1. The slides for the first night's presentation are here.

Upcoming Events

Council approved the safety plans for the following events:

Other upcoming events include

Meeting Info

The meeting packet.