Trenton Budget Shortfall Reaches $3.1 M

Trenton's city budget shortfall is over $3 million, due in large part to legacy costs according to Trenton officials.

Trenton's budget shortfall has reached $3.1 million dollars and could continue to grow according to Trenton City Administrator Jim Wagner.

Increasing legacy costs are chewing up a large portion of the coming budget.

In February, Trenton officials brought in Plante Moran to identify the places where costs are raising and revenue is decreasing.

Costs for 190 retired employees of the City of Trenton make up about 21 percent of total city expenditures, totaling nearly $4 million according to information provided by Plante Moran.

  • Required pension contribution--$1.7 million
  • Retiree healthcare premiums--$1.2 million
  • Retiree prescription costs--$1 million

Trenton's remaining revenue to provide services is about $14.5 million after legacy costs.

What happened to the revenue?

Decreased property taxes are a major factor in the substantial budget shortfall. Property taxes made up 76 percent of last year's general fund revenue.

Property values have decreased significantly, which has negatively affected Trenton's primary revenue source according to Plante Moran.

In addition, the Michigan State Tax Commission introduced new personal property multiplier tables for automotive manufacturing equipment companies like Chrysler, which has also reduced revenue.

Chrysler was once one of the highest single tax revenue resources in Trenton.

What can be done?

Trenton administrators are holding public meeting with each city department in the conference room on the second floor of Trenton City Hall to find out where cuts can be made in an effort to balance the shortfall:

  • Fire Department: 7:30 p.m. April 23.
  • Department of Parks and Recreation: 7:30 p.m. April 24.
  • Department of Public Works and the Water Transfer Plant: 7:30 p.m. April 30.

Wagner said Plante Moran helped city officials find a number of money saving areas. He added he's concerned there are few areas left where cuts and reductions can be made without affecting city employees.

"We have picked all the low hanging fruit," Wagner said.

Nate Stemen April 23, 2012 at 05:10 PM
Any suggestions for city administrators? Where can the city save money without affecting current employees?
michelle April 24, 2012 at 01:55 PM
Hmmm...excuse the sarcasm but maybe not pay Plante Moran for stating the obvious? Without being an expert I could have told them all of the above.
TJ April 24, 2012 at 04:18 PM
I wonder if anyone ever thought of putting money aside for such things when times were good.
Rich April 26, 2012 at 07:16 PM
Sorry but dump the Ice rink and the Pool the city has been subsidizing the rink for to long the last time I saw the figures on the rinks shortfall was $500,000.00, sell it get out from underneath and any of the nearly free services that the city offers(like dial a ride ) shoud be self supporting or get rid of them


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