June 25, 2008 ALMONT — As taxable values continue to decline across the state, fewer operating dollars are available for municipal governments to maintain services.
Such is the dilemma for Almont officials who struggle to provide services to residents with less tax money and state revenue at their disposal.
Village Manager Gerald Oakes says the village is nevertheless trying to hold the line on taxes to residents.
As evidence, the village recently borrowed $100,000 from the "financially healthy" equipment fund to pay off a loan in the same amount to the waste water treatment plant. Oakes notes that the money loaned to the water treatment plant came from village's general fund.
The result of the financial maneuvering is that the village is able to reduce its general fund millage rate from 11.7144 mills to 10.3175 mills.
"That's a substantial savings," says Oakes, "but it's not all rosy."
In order to reduce the general fund millage rate, water and sewer rates will be going up, he says.
Oakes says water usage rates will rise by 35 cents, from $2.64 per thousand gallons used to $2.99 per thousand gallons of usage.
Sewage rates will increase from $5.53 per thousand gallons to $6.06 per thousand gallons; a boost of 53 cents. In addition, the fixed sewer rate will rise from $13.50 to $20 per quarter.
"We're doing what we can to minimize the impact on taxpayers," says Oakes. "Our costs continue to go up, but our revenues keep going down. We're caught between a rock and a hard place."