Thursday, February 23, 2012

Public Safety Fund - Wages & Benefits Unsustainable

Hi All,
The charts used in this blog come from the following township website source:   Proposed Budget PresentationThis document is available to view in PDF format.  used at the Board of Trustees meeting discussing the proposed budget for 2012/2013.
Someone at the township combined the many line items in the "proposed budget" to produce these easier to understand charts to explain the public safety fund.  That fund includes revenue and expenses for police, fire and dispatch.

The public safety fund revenue chart is misleading. 
  • The line item identified as PTAX is money collected as property tax. There are 4 dedicated public safety millages totaling 7.55 mills as originally levied, with expiration dates of 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2016.  
  •  However, the line item identified as TRSF- Transfers  is also collected as property tax. It is just not dedicated public safety millage money.   The 1.3 new tax passed in February 2010 voted as a general obligation tax can go for any use in the township, however most of that money has gone into the public safety fund. That tax expires in 2020.
  • Therefore, revenue for the public safety fund from property taxes is really about $22.8 million dollars per year.  The entire public safety fund budget is just under $24 million.
  • Dedicated millage money may be spent only for the purpose stated in the ballot language.
  • The township taxpayers need to stop the flow of money into the public safety fund especially as dedicated millages.  The wages and benefits are unsustainable.  Major adjustments need to be made in the employee contracts or employees in this department (police, fire and dispatch) need to be cut.
  • The 2012 expiring public safety millage, that the township so far has refused to discuss, has been reported that it will appear on an early August 2012 ballot.  The 2.5 mills that is expiring represents about $8.5 million dollars.  I say, find that money somewhere in employee benefit cuts.  The public should vote NO in August or whenever the issue shows up as a ballot issue.

The next three charts show expenditures for the public safety fund as it relates to police, fire and dispatch.  What is being highlighted is how much money is spent for wages and benefits per year.
These are wages just for the employees in the police, fire and dispatch...or..Public Safety Department.
  • Each chart begins with wages for the year for current employees in that department and the second line item combines all the benefits that need to be paid for those employees and perhaps benefits for retirees.  It is not clear if retiree benefits are included here.
  • The police department wages and benefits combine for just under $ 10.8 million dollars per year.
  • The fire department wages and benefits combine for just over $ 9.6 million dollars per year.
  • The dispatch department wages and benefits combine for more than $ 1.1 million dollars per year.
  • Add these three departments of the Public Safety Fund for just wages and benefits, the public safety costs the township taxpayer in employee costs and benefits only:  somewhere around    $21.5 million dollars per year.
  • Keep in mind, about 90% of the costs for public safety is for personnel.  Unsustainable.
  • Perhaps it's time for major restructuring of the entire public safety department. 
  • FYI:  the 2010 census reports a Bloomfield Township population of 41,070 that is occupying 16,466 households.

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