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Trenton City Budget Approved, Layoffs Still Possible

Though a budget has been approved, contract negotiations between city administrators and police and fire continue.

Trenton City Council members approved the 2012-13 budget Monday night at , which will likely jumpstart contract negotiations with police and fire according to City Administrator Jim Wagner.

Though the , Wagner said layoffs could still be possible.

"There are no layoffs at the present time," Wagner said. "If we get contracts that are workable, and based upon the assumptions of the budget, there will be no layoffs."

Wagner added he and other Trenton officials have set meetings with police and fire personnel to try to come to an agreement.

The Budget

To balance the budget after council members included a tax increase of three mills. The increase would be the equivalent of about $3 per $1,000 of taxable property value for residents.

The increase did not require a vote by residents because a limited number of mills are allowed for regular city services like garbage pickup and emergency services. Trenton has not exceeded the cap, though the increase has has brought the city very close.

The budget requires taking $250,000 from the fund balance, but Wagner said the important thing is that people get to keep their jobs.

To maintain the budget, Wagner said the city has been placed on an indefinite hiring freeze for full and part-time positions, except for seasonal employees.

Trenton Fire Chief Bruce Vick's was not approved in the budget.

"I think the council had a very difficult time, based upon the current economy and the issues that the city faced ... they did not take it lightly, they took it seriously," Wagner said.

michelle May 23, 2012 at 01:38 PM
Call me the oddball but I would be ok with slightly higher taxes if it meant keeping Trenton from losing any more people and/or services. Our taxes have already dropped a lot because of property values going down. Losing or reducing city services will only make it worse because other people will leave. An extra 3 mills won't hurt us. If your house is worth about $100,000 then that is only $25/ month more. It is doable for me.
Nate Stemen (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 01:43 PM
What do you think about the tax increase?
Carrie A May 23, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Does a millage increase need to be voted upon by residents?
Jason Strange May 23, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I personally think its ridiculous that the council members expect the tax payers to bail them out. Make the tough decisions we elected you to do. I won't be re-electing any member that voted yes for a tax increase. The citizens of Trenton are hurting too. Paycuts, job losses, and now tax increases? How can they just raise it without thinking twice about the effect it will have on the residents of Trenton? The city council should be ashamed of themselves. How about deeper paycuts? How about the people at the top do they pay 20% for healthcare? Anything towards their pension? Do police really need to make 100k a year to hand out seat belt tickets? I know that may sound silly but think about it. The police officers are encouraged to give out tickets for overtime. Can we do something about this? Sure it may come out of some sort of grant but let's use that money for something else. Why does the city still collect the garbage? Trenton has to be the last city downriver that still takes care of the trash. Seems like a big savings could be made if we outsourced this. Why aren't there more businesses downtown Trenton? Wyandotte has all kinds of events to bring people to the city. I feel as if Trenton has none. I recently moved to Trenton and am very discouraged by the news that my property taxes have been raised so easily.
Jason Strange May 23, 2012 at 02:55 PM
Michelle your missing the point. Why should you be punished for the cities mistakes? You are bailing out the city. I'm glad you can afford the extra 25 bucks but what's next year going to be like? The city council needs to stop the bleeding now, not tax us to buy themselves another year. Also it the tax increase will be more than $25. If you think your house is worth 100k, presume the city has you at a taxable value of 50. So for 1000 it's 3 bucks.. Simple math says it will be $150. Feel differently now?
Amanda May 23, 2012 at 04:29 PM
I don't appreciate taxes being increased and now Trenton is talking school of choice next year...really unhappy about that!! We stay in Trenton because there was not school of choice & now we are going to allow non residents in our schools...the classes are too big now!
michelle May 23, 2012 at 04:35 PM
How much more can our little city cut? Was it really poor planning or did the property values tanking and the economy have an effect? I think Jason lives in a bubble. Oops, yeah and thanks for correcting the math. I didn't use the SEV, I used a home's value. So, it would be LESS. :-) Even better! $12.50 per month! $150 /yr divided by 12 months = $12.50/month (which if you look above the $25 was what I figured monthly, not an annual figure). I can handle that. I don't want to lose any more services or people. We can only cut so far. Have they cut where yo work yet? Do YOU know how that feels to have your pay cut, or lose coworkers and have to do 2 or 3 times the work for less pay? In all fairness, I do think it should be voted and people should have the ability to know what they would gain or lose by voting for or against it. We are the residents and should have that right. Remember, I did start my post claiming to be the oddball willing to pay a little more so we don't end up like Allen Park or other cities that are really hurting. Boy...I'm really glad you caught my mathmatical error because now $12.50/month seems even more doable. Look how much our taxes have already decreased during the last few years. That is money the city has lost while trying to keep services going. My taxes went down a lot more than $12.50/month. I don't mind paying the taxes to keep what I love about the city intact.
michelle May 23, 2012 at 04:42 PM
By the way, I am 35 and lived in Trenton 30+ of those years so that could be why I care so much MORE than some new person to town. I knew by moving back in 2002 that I would pay more in taxes to live in Trenton and I accepted that because I love the city, I love the schools (but am very discouraged about all of the cuts). I like how I feel safe and I like the small town feel. I don't want to lose what we have. Maybe I'm in the minority, but I care about the city. I don't mind $12.50 more a month. I do feel they have been making cuts. I also trust that our mayor (who has also been in this city for most (if not all) of her life is trying to do all she can to preserve Trenton. Maybe I'm crazy. I just don't want to see our city go down the toilet. If you want more cuts and less services then go somewhere cheaper to live.
Nate Stemen (Editor) May 23, 2012 at 04:45 PM
The tax increase only needs to be voted on once the city has exceeded the maximum amount of mills allowed for regular city services like garbage pickup, police, etc.. Trenton has not exceeded the cap, though the increase has has brought the city very close.
michelle May 23, 2012 at 04:49 PM
How about everyone with a negative opinion balance the budget for the city? Of course no one really WANTS to pay more in taxes. I don't WANT to pay more but am willing to do so because my taxes have already dropped over the last 3 years by a lot more than what they are asking for to help the budget. The schools and the city are hurting but no one wants to pay and no one wants cuts (to school programs, teachers, city services, etc). You have to give and take. Do you have a solution? Do you not see your taxes going down year after year and realize that it affects things like the schools and the city services? Something has to give. If you don't want to pay more and continue to watch your taxes decrease you are going to continue to watch the schools and the city suffer. We are a small city so every little bit counts. So fine, don't pay more in taxes but then don't complain about school of choice. You have to realize they need money. If you have better ideas of where to cut from go for it. Show up at the meetings and present your ideas. Just put yourself in the shoes of those you want to cut, the residents and the kids in the schools.
Jason Strange May 23, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Michelle you must work for the city. So to publiclly look for support makes sense. Your post made no mention of looking at it as far as a montly cost. My apologies I'm not a mind reader. I do however think it's funny your mainly upset about the math correction part of my post. To answer your question I have indeed taking several hits as far as salary. I am a school teacher. I along with pretty much every teacher in this state has taken several hits. To name a few.. The district I work for changed my healthcare plan to have a higher deductible and less overall coverage. I also contribute 20% towards the overall cost of the plan. I also two years ago took a 3% salary cut. Next year more cuts are on the horizon but a new contract is not in place yet.
Jason Strange May 23, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Your right living in Trenton 29 more years than me makes your opinion that much more important than mine. Please forgive my ignorance. Living in Trenton longer definetely makes you more important..
michelle May 23, 2012 at 05:14 PM
Jason, you are cute. I work in the financial services industry in Southfield. I just love my city and what it offers. If you want less go live in a city that is cheaper. :-) You get what you pay for. I do feelf or you and all teachers. You should know more than anyone what losing tax revenues does. Unfortunately teachers are usually one of the first to get hit when the districts lose money. It is a stinking shame. I would think you would understand more than anyone why we need help with the taxes. Also, I was not upset by your correction. I make errors and was actually really happy to see that I was wrong in a good way. :-) I was thanking you. I made my point even better. I really do wish you well and sorry to hear all you have been going through. I have personally been blessed with a good job and have not been hit hard. I know many who have. With a small city with limited resources any cuts are going to seem huge here. I hope you get where I am coming from. Losing one police officer, one teacher, one firefighter, etc. is a lot larger than when it happens in a bigger city with more people. A cut in a larger city percentage wise doesn't make a huge difference. I see you propose cutting the garbage service out. How much would that save the city and then how much do we then have to pay later for outside services? I just don't think it is that simple and that we can cut a lot more.
Kelly Grignon May 23, 2012 at 05:52 PM
not until we have reached our millage cap. We are still under than amount. If they feel the need to raise it above that cap then the residents will need to approve it.
Kelly Grignon May 23, 2012 at 05:54 PM
well said Michelle. I agree with the last thing you said " Show up at the meetings and present your ideas. Just put yourself in the shoes of those you want to cut, the residents and the kids in the schools."
michelle May 23, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Living in Trenton longer doesn't make me more important, just more vested in the city. My parents graduated from Trenton, I did and so will my son. I am not saying I am more important, just that I may care a little more. I will fight for something I love and I love my city.
Maribeth May 23, 2012 at 11:13 PM
Nate, it seems like a lot if people don't understand that the tax increase doesn't need to be voted on. It is part of a millage that was already voted on years ago!

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