Brookfield trustees approved a 2019 budget on March 11 that shows more than $300,000 in unappropriated funds, a sign of financial health for many of the township’s departments and an indicator that officials are looking to the future, officials said.
Trumbull County estimated that Brookfield officials will have more than $3.8 million in taxes, other revenue sources and money carried over from 2018 at their disposal in 2019.
However, township officials are only encumbering a little more than $3.5 million.
The township carried over nearly $1 million from 2018, about $336,000 in the general fund and more than half of the rest in the police and fire departments. Having carry over is important so officials can pay the bills in the early months of the year until new tax money starts coming in. It also gives officials a cushion should unexpected expenses pop up.
Township Fiscal Officer Dena McMullin noted that, prior to her taking office, “very few of the funds actually had much of a carryover at all.”
She said Police Chief Dan Faustino has been managing his money toward a goal of carrying over 25 percent of his budget each year to the next year.
“He’s working so that he would have enough money to be able to, like, retire a car every year and replace it,” she said.
Faustino was unable to buy a cruiser last year, but expects to have a newly purchased one on the road in May.
Faustino brought his conservative approach to the fire department, where Chief David Masirovits, who took over in October, is just learning the ropes on budgeting. Faustino, who was fire fiscal administrator at the end of former Chief Keith Barrett’s tenure, and during much of the interim period when the fire department did not have a chief, prepared the fire budget for 2019, McMullin said.
“He (Masirovits) needs to learn that (budgeting),” Trustee Dan Suttles said.
“He is,” McMullin replied, noting Masirovits sits down with Faustino frequently to discuss financial issues. “We’ve talked about it. He said it’s overwhelming at first because he had so many issues to deal with.”
The fire budget is complicated by having two funds, a fire district fund that accounts for nearly $1 million in the budget, and an ambulance and emergency fund, which accounts for about $435,000 Salaries, benefits, repairs and equipment are split between the two funds, with some expenses appropriate to only one fund but others could come from either.
Faustino instituted retirement line items in the police and fire district funds to help with the payouts due when a vested full timer retires. The police department had its first retirement this year when Cpl. Ralph Marchio went out, and is expecting at least one more in the coming years.
In the fire department, Capt. Dave Coffy is going out this month, and another could be going in a year or two.
McMullin said she also brings a conservative approach to budgeting.
“Every year, we project lower than what I think we’re gonna bring in,” she said. “I try to be real conservative on every thing. It only works to the better if we are. If we live within a smaller budget then we’re gonna carry over more at the end. The thing about the budget is you don’t have to spend it all.”
One budget area McMullin said she will be watching is the lighting assessment fund. Residents who are served by street lights pay an assessment on their taxes. That money goes to the township to pay the electric bills for street lights, about $2,500 a month.
“We are getting pretty slim in that account, now,” McMullin said. “We have carried over $25,000. That’s down from about four or five years ago, we had about $90,000.”
Aside from street lights that have been installed in the time, the fund is shrinking by about $10,000 a year.
“I think we have to keep an eye on that in the next couple years because, if need be, we may have to go back to the county and say, ‘We need to tack on a few more cents on everybody’s taxes just for that,’” McMullin said.
Here is breakdown of the major fund appropriations in Brookfield Township’s 2019 budget:
- General fund, $622,005.
- Motor Vehicle License Tax, which goes into the Brookfield Road Department, $100,921.
- Gasoline tax, which goes into the road department, $140,196.
- Road and Bridge Fund, which goes into the road department, $273,743.
- Cemetery Fund, $131,993.
- Lighting Assessment Fund, $45,177.
- Police District Fund, $880,345, which leaves $125,142 unappropriated.
- Fire District Fund, $978,347, which leaves $83,504 unappropriated.
- Ambulance and Emergency Fund, which also fund the fire department, $340,750, which leaves $96,107 unappropriated.
- Senior Citizen Van Fund, $15,648.
- Community Park Improvement Fund, $8,046.