Orrock sets 2015 tax levy at $385,500
Fri, 03/14/2014 - 9:15am admin
Orrock Township residents set their 2015 property tax levy at $385,500 at their annual meeting Tuesday, following the election.
Of that, $10,000 is designated for the general fund, $290,000 is earmarked for the road and bridge fund. and $85,500 will go into the fire fund.
“We have levied less than we intend to spend, “ said resident Gary Goldsmith. “But it is a reasonable levy and it has my vote.”
There was considerable debate about reducing the levy further because Orrock has an additional $140,261 in a capital reserve fund which was originally set aside for the construction of a fire hall in the township. The idea of building a fire hall was later abandoned.
Earlier this year the board of supervisors moved $50,000 out of the capital fund and into the fire fund to cover costs.
“We have two and a half times the recommended amount of cash on hand,” said Eisinger. “It is just sitting there doing nothing and it has been for years. We should give it back to ourselves by using it to keep the levy down.”
Supervisor Jeff Jones, who chose not to run to keep his seat on the board, asked what the board would do in case of an emergency such as a damaging storm.
“If we get a big storm and there are hundreds of trees down all over the roads, where are we going to get the money to clean that up?” he asked.
Most cities and townships keep about half the cash on hand they expect to need to cover their bills over the course of the year.
Treasurer Laura Jones urged voters to spend down the capital reserve funds gradually over the next few years and keep property taxes on an even keel.
“It can be hard for people to pay if we suddenly have to raise the levy again to cover some unforeseen event or major road repair,” she said.
In 2013, Orrock Township set the levy at$425,771. In 2012 the levy was $348,429 and in 2011 the township levied $521,394.
Sup. Michael Eisinger was asked to chair the meeting. Karel Lind made a motion to accept the agenda. The board of audit report was made available for residents to peruse.
Sup. Jones gave a report from the Zimmerman Fire Board.
“We were told our bill from them might go down but it will not go up,
Jones said. “Also they bought us an defibrillator out of their charitable gambling funds.”
Sup. Meier said there were no changes in the township’s agreement for fire service with the Big Lake Fire Dept.
“The only new thing is that Fire Chief Randy Miller resigned in early January,” said Meier. “The new fire chief is Paul Nemes. They also have a new first-responder vehicle.”
Township Engineer Mike Nielson presented a report on township roads and he told the assembly about the road management plan currently being created after it received board approval at the February meeting.
“There are studies that show the $1 spent on road maintenance at the right time can save $7 in the future,” he said.
Chip filling and sealing a new road prevents deterioration from sun and wind exposure,” Nielson said. He estimated the value of Orrock’s 40 miles of road at $13.5 million.
Nielson estimated the township ought to spend $440,000 per year to maintain the roads in good shape. No roadwork beyond basic sweeping and crack filling was done in 2012 or 2013.
“This sounds like more than we would usually spend,” said Goldsmith.
“Let’s keep the levy constant for now but at some point it will have to go up to maintain the roads and or event larger bills in the future,” said Treasurer Jones.
Residents also passed three resolutions, one encouraging the supervisors to proceed with road maintenance operations, one to change the capital fund to a capital reserve fund and one authorizing the board to take action on three stretches of township roads which do not serve the township.
Tuesday, March 10 of 2015 was set as the date for next year’s annual meeting.