Performance dashboard allows Gladstone residents to see where tax dollars go

Children enjoy tubing at the Gladstone Ski Hill in this file photo. The Gladstone Ski Hill is one of many facilities supported by tax dollars. Gladstone residents can get an updated look at where their tax dollars go with the latest performance dashboard developed by the city. (Escanaba Daily Press photo)

GLADSTONE — Gladstone residents have an updated view of where their tax dollars are going and how the city is using it, following the approval of the latest performance dashboard.

Creating the dashboard is an annual affair for the city, which produces the document to meet transparency requirements set by the state to get statutory revenue sharing. However, the document goes far beyond allowing the city to recoup tax dollars that have gone to Lansing. It translates large amounts of data into easy-to-digest charts and graphics for residents.

“The one that everybody likes the most is the dollar bill one,” City Treasurer Vicki Schroeder told the city commission during their regular meeting on Nov. 21.

The graphic shows a single dollar bill that has been broken into segments representing how much of each tax dollar goes to each tax-collecting body.

According to the graphic, the city collects 25 cents of every dollar, while the county collects eight cents, the ISD collects four cents, Bay College collects six cents, Gladstone Area Schools collects 50 cents, and all other collecting bodies collect seven cents.

“It’s interesting to see on that dollar bill that the school payment is double the city capture,” Commissioner Brad Mantela said during the meeting.

A few of the charts in the dashboard related to the city’s debts and liabilities may be surprising the residents. Because the city negotiated other post-employment benefits with retirees as a result of the Protecting Local Government Retirement and Benefits Act, Public Act 202 of 2017, the city’s liability for those benefits has dropped to zero.

That doesn’t mean the city is without debt. Currently, the city’s unfunded pension liabilities and long-term debt — those debts related to project funding — is around $5,164,473.

As a point of reference, that means the city has $983 of debt per resident, but that the city’s long-term debt and pension liabilities are 65% funded. This represents a significant increase in the funding percentage, which dropped to as low as 47% in 2017.

While the dashboard dives deep into the city’s financial picture, it also gives a good look at what life is like in the city by outlining basic demographic trends. For example, according to the 2020 census, the city’s population increased to 5,257 people from 4,973.

Those people primarily live in owned homes, as 75.7% of homes in the city are owned, not rented, a significant deviation from the national average of 64.4% homeownership.

The number of people looking to build in the city also rose slightly in 2022. The city issued 29 building permits compared to the 24 issued in 2021, which itself was higher than the 18 issued in 2020 during the height of the pandemic.

The value of construction, however, rose drastically. In 2022, there was $20,344,000 worth of new construction in the city, the highest value recorded in the dashboard. The second highest value was $6,829,700 in 2016.

The dashboard also gives a look into crime statistics for the city. In 2021, the most recent complete reportable year, Gladstone Public Safety took 1952 calls for service. No violent crimes took place, down from five aggravated assaults and two forcible rapes in 2020. There have been no murders or non-negligent manslaughters in the city since 2017.

Property crimes, such as larceny and burglary, rose slightly in 2021 from 2020, but were still significantly lower than the city’s all-time high for the reporting period, which took place in 2017 when 87 larcenies were reported in addition to five burglaries and two motor vehicle thefts. In 2021, there were 32 larcenies, four burglaries and two motor-vehicle thefts in the city.

Overall, larceny was the most common crime in 2021 and the only crime in the top five that increased from 2020. The top five were rounded out with disorderly conduct (14), obstruction (12), property damage (10) and fraud (8) — all of which dropped from the 2020 levels.

The entirety of the dashboard is available on the city’s website at www.gladstonemi.org. To see the dashboard, click on “How Do I” in the menu at the top of the page and select “Documents” under “Download.”

The dashboard is titled “2022 CVTRS Report” under the “City, Village, Township Revenue Sharing (CVTRS)” category.


Today's breaking news and more in your inbox

I'm interested in (please check all that apply)
Are you a paying subscriber to the newspaper *

Starting at $4.62/week.

Subscribe Today