The Sterling Heights City Council will discuss the proposed 2017/18 City Budget during a special budget meeting beginning at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 11 at City Hall.
The proposed spending plan for the fiscal year beginning July 1 totals $192 million – an increase of $6.3 million or 3.4 percent. The budget funds Parks and Recreation operational and capital improvements through the voter approved Recreating Recreation Proposal, continues to fund the voter approved Safe Streets Proposal that enables the City to avoid further cuts to public safety staffing, funds the employees and equipment necessary to implement the self-sustaining model for EMS transport services, provides for needed community investments, and increases reserves for the fourth consecutive year. The budget also incorporates the City’s Vision 2030 Plan that seeks to keep the community vibrant, maintain the City’s overall excellent quality of life, and provide recreational and other place making opportunities.
The City tax rate will increase by 0.97 mill due to the Recreating Recreation proposal approved by the voters in November 2016, however the City’s tax rate still remains one of the lowest in the State and 4.5 mills lower than the average of all cities in Macomb County. As a result, the average homeowner’s total property tax bill this upcoming year will be $90 or 3.3 percent less than it was ten years ago.
The budget funds 471 full-time positions – a net increase of 22 positions, which includes 15 new Firefighters, 3 additional Public Works positions and and several conversions from part-time to full-time. The City has reduced funding for 178 full-time positions or 27 percent of its workforce since 2002, saving $13.9 million annually. The City continues to fully fund post-retirement legacy costs and make significant progress toward reducing unfunded liabilities.
The budget prioritizes funding for road repairs , including the continued increase in neighborhood road repairs, the resurfacing of Schoenherr and Clinton River roads, the rehabilitation of Canal Road and median improvements on M-59. The spending plan also includes a multitude of improvements funded through the voter appproved Recreating Recreation Proposal such as the Splash Park, the Skate Park, the Farmer’s Market Pavilion and Ice Rink and new playscapes and improvements at nearly every neighborhood park. The centerpiece of the proposal, a new 118,000 square foot Community Center, will also break ground next spring.
The budget also continues to restore public safety capital funding that had been scaled back and delayed due to revenue declines. Funds are budgeted to replace 14 Police vehicles, a tandem-axle dump truck, an aerial sign truck, a brush flail and a street roller. Four emergency warning sirens and election equipment will also be replaced. Funds are also allocated for repairs to the Upton House and for facility repairs at the Police Department, Fire stations, the Public Works garage and the Library.
“Sterling Heights is on an exciting path to the future investing $45 million in quality of life services for residents, fostering an environment where businesses can not only survive but thrive, resulting in billions in new manufacturing and commercial investments over the past five years,” said City Manager Mark Vanderpool. “The investments have created high paying jobs throughout numerous sectors. The proposed budget not only continues the City’s successful economic development services but also increases funding for new public safety services including EMS Transport and the Community Outreach & Engagement (CORE) program. Despite the State’s continued dis-investment in cities, the proposed budget continues progress toward financial stability and major investments in our aging infrastructure.”
A series of budget workshops will be held prior to the budget adoption on May 3. The workshop schedule and a copy of the proposed budget document are available under “City Budget” on the City’s website at www.sterling-heights.net.All budget workshops will take place in the Council Chambers, located on the upper level of City Hall (40555 Utica Road). All meetings will be televised live on Sterling Heights Television (SHTV), Channel 5 – Comcast, and Channel 10 – WOW!, and will be rebroadcast throughout the week on SHTV. Meetings are available for viewing over the Internet the following business day on SHTV On-Demand at www.sterling-heights.net.For more information, contact Community Relations at (586) 446-CITY (2489).