By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.– On Monday night the township board of trustees approved an audit presented by Ken Palka, from the accounting firm of Pfeffer, Hanniford and Palka.
Palka reported on the township finances following the completion of the yearly audit ending March 31, 2019. The township ended the year with $192,308 of additional fund balance now at $2,379,728 in addition to $2,771,806 in the infrastructure fund. The infrastructure account, established in 2009, includes funds earmarked for projects such as road paving, property development and emergency reserves. A transfer from the infrastructure account requires board approval.
The total revenues for the fire fund is $1,284,624 with operating expenditures of $1,095,194 increasing the fund balance by $189,430. The fire department fund balance is now $1,577,771.
“This is the third year the fire fund has a surplus,” said Palka. “The chief is doing a good job overlooking things.”
The building fund added $60,258 to a starting fund balance of $723,435 ending with $783,693.
The township fund balance is now $7,512,998, which includes general, infrastructure, fire and building department funds.
“Overall it’s pretty good for the township,” said Ken Palka. “It’s good to see you’re (township officials) planning more on the long term bases because of all the projects you have coming up during the next few years. With all the infrastructure and roads you want to take care off it’s good to see the township look to the next five to 10 years rather than one year (in the future).”
The township spent $350,000 on roads in the last fiscal year. About 1/3 of the $1,096,600 in total expenditures for the township. “We had a lot of road work this year and pretty good amount next year,” said Bob Depalma, township supervisor. “The bulk of the surplus in the infrastruture fund is assigned to what we are going to try to do with the township’s property and the development.”
DePalma said Groveland Township has a very small tax base. More money is generated, he added from projects the board has put in place with underutilized assets than from all of the tax dollars generated from all the parcels in the township.
“The reason we use that money (infrastructure fund) for ad hoc projects, for projects like road work is it takes a lot of money—you have to put it away for several years to do it,” he said.
Projects like Fire Station 2 on Grange Hall Road, the extra fire hydrants and dry wells around the township, the storm warning sirens and the fire department training center, the one time costs, all come from infrastructure fund.
“These are one time costs that we put away money for years,” he said. “These are valued assets for the betterment of the community, that don’t have an ongoing monthly commitment. Long term goal of the township is to develop (township) property on Grange Hall into a support function for the recreational activities in the area. This will generate enough money to use on a perpetual bases for the township in the future.”