Cost-saving measures on table

Marquette Township board

MARQUETTE — The Marquette Township Board will take additional steps to balance its 2018 budget during a regular meeting at 6:30 p.m. today at the Marquette Township Community Center.

The board, which has been grappling with financial issues stemming from a reduction in tax revenue in recent years, approved its 2018 budget on Dec. 19.

Township general fund revenues in 2018 are expected to be $2,119,560, according to the budget resolution, with expenditures totaling $2,062,728, providing for a positive balance of $56,832.

An adjustment to the township law enforcement contract with the Marquette County Sheriff’s Office which reduced the amount of patrol hours from 80 to 60, added $48,500 to township revenues over expenditures.

While the reduction in patrol hours is incorporated into the 2018 budget, the board agreed to consider renewing the agreement at 80 hours at its first regular meeting in 2018 if significant cost savings can be found.

Sheriff’s office representatives spoke to the board during the Dec. 5 and 19 meetings to address the increasing need for law enforcement presence in the township.

They also highlighted potential cost-saving operational changes, such as more efficient handling of retail fraud issues to minimize impact on patrol activity.

Other measures to keep patrols at 80 hours while reducing cost would be: eliminating planned overtime for some holidays; reducing mileage on the township patrol car in order to defer replacement to the 2020 and 2021 budget cycles; and keeping the officers’ hourly pay rate at 2017 levels.

The township’s 2017 agreement with the sheriff’s office expired on Sunday.

The board will also consider additional cost-saving measures to offset a larger-than-expected rise in employee health insurance premiums.

Township insurance cost will rise 16.5 percent, $9,062 more than the 12 percent annual increase initially budgeted, according to a Dec. 28 memorandum to the board from Marquette Township Manager Randy Girard.

The options for cost savings may be found by reducing board member education costs; cutting the township’s membership cost for the Marquette Chamber of Commerce; reductions of $2,000 in the planning department budget; $4,500 for recreation expenses; and $5,500 possible cuts to appropriations, which include fireworks, community events and the beautification committee.

Other business on the agenda includes a board of review resolution, a discussion of a 2018 work plan and meeting agendas, and consideration of a purchasing contract through the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget.

Lisa Bowers can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242. Her email address is