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Surviving Michigan’s Economy. The Springfield Story. About Springfield. Population: 5,200 Tax levy: 14 Mills AV 2009: $99.5 Million TV 2009: $92.0 Million 2009-10 GF Operating Budget: $2.68 Million 29 Full-Time Employees. Funding Issues. Cash Reserves June 2001: $1.97 Million

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surviving michigan s economy

Surviving Michigan’s Economy

The Springfield Story

about springfield
About Springfield
  • Population: 5,200
  • Tax levy: 14 Mills
  • AV 2009: $99.5 Million
  • TV 2009: $92.0 Million
  • 2009-10 GF Operating Budget: $2.68 Million
  • 29 Full-Time Employees
funding issues
Funding Issues
  • Cash Reserves June 2001: $1.97 Million
  • Cash Reserves 2006: $820,000
  • Planned 2007 Deficit: $236,000

According to Department Heads, we had cut to

the bone, and our cash flow problems were all

exclusively related to revenue sharing cuts . . .

there was no answer on the expense side.

We’re Doomed!

march 2007 we know it s going to get worse so how do we solve this and prepare for the future
March 2007: We know it’s going to get worse, so how do we solve this and prepare for the future?
  • Reviewed staffing levels, upcoming events (retirements, wage increases, etc.), OT, and other personnel-related expenses.
  • Reviewed existing purchasing protocols . . . especially replacement schedules.
  • Reviewed contractual services in place.
  • Met with employees to discuss additional responsibilities, job security, and overall expectations by the employer and the employees.
  • How do we capitalize on new revenue streams???
staffing changes
Staffing Changes
  • Step 1 – Reduce personnel costs w/o layoffs.
    • Office Manager position was set to become open in August via retirement. We advertised internally and filled it with our current Level II Assessor.
      • The Assessor position was then filled with a jointly-hired Level III with much more experience and expertise than we could have otherwise afforded. Annual savings have been approximately $55,000. OPEB savings are expected to equal $500,000 – mostly by eliminating the Department Head retiree health benefit normally provided to the Assessor.
      • Our Assessor is on-site two days per week, and we feel our services is better and our assessments are more accurate.
staffing changes continued
Staffing Changes Continued
  • Early Retirement offered to DPW Supervisor
    • This was also a Department Head position. The employee had completed 34 years of services but had not met his age requirement of 55. The cost to provide the benefit was minimal.
    • The vacant position was realigned from a Department Head to a non-union supervisory position, and an existing AFSCME member was promoted; the newly vacant AFSCME position was not filled.
    • Annual savings equal approximately $80,000 per year.
staffing changes continued7
Staffing Changes Continued
  • Public Safety Personnel costs were rising at a greater rate than all other personnel costs.
    • Annual OT expenses trended at $225,000+
    • In June 2007, an executive order was issued by the City Manager to the Police Chief eliminating all non-essential OT. Minimum staffing would remain at 3 PSOs per shift. OT costs were reduced by $50,000. This was still not enough.
staffing changes continued8
Staffing Changes Continued
  • DPS Continued . . .
    • Six DPS positions became available over the next year as a result of typical employee turnover.
      • Four of these positions were kept vacant pending negotiations of the new CBA with the POLC and forecasting of the economy by the City Manager.
      • An agreement was made to reduce minimum staffing levels by one PSO per shift.
      • The net result was 3% employee raises and nearly flat health insurance for the 12 PSOs left in the DPS . . . The City’s net savings as a result will equal approximately $400,000 per year and OPEB savings are estimated at more than $1 Million.
staffing changes continued9
Staffing Changes Continued
  • Moved from 34 FT Employees in 2007 to 29 in 2009
  • 4-Day Work Week
    • In June 2008, when gas was out of control, we began looking for ways to save $$ for the City and employees.
    • Following an employee survey, we decided to move to a Mon-Thurs work week, with hourly employees working 9.5 hour days.
    • The net effect is a 2½ week unpaid furlough for all affected employees.
    • Employees liked this and unanimously approved of it!!!
    • This option is a great alternative to layoffs, because it buys time for normal attrition to take place, with the opportunity to eliminate positions via attrition and then return to the status quo 40 hour work week w/o overloading employees.
staffing changes continued10
Staffing Changes Continued

Annual Employee Furlough Savings

(assumes $35,000 median salary, FICA, Comp, and 10% MERS contribution):

  • 10 Employees: $21,000
  • 15 Employees: $31,000
  • 20 Employees: $42,000
  • 25 Employees: $52,000
  • 30 Employees: $62,000
  • 35 Employees: $72,000
staffing changes continued11
Staffing Changes Continued
  • Step 2 – Reduce short-term and long-term employee benefit costs.
    • Created an aggressive insurance deferral program.
      • Defer your family and receive a $125 weekly stipend.
      • 7 out of 24 eligible employees take advantage. Cost savings over 10 years is estimated at 320,000 (60% savings).
      • Similar program provided to retirees has also saved significantly.
    • Eliminated retiree healthcare for new employees.
      • We now contribute to an HSA and do not need to worry about estimating insurance costs 15-20 years into the future.
      • At minimum, you should consider capping retiree health premiums at the level in effect at retirement.
staffing changes continued12
Staffing Changes Continued
  • Step 3 – Make sure existing employees have the tools, environment, etc. needed to be successful.
    • If an employee is taking on additional work, find a way to compensate them (financially, additional time off, special acknowledgment, etc.).
    • 25 happy employees will probably be more effective and efficient than 28 unhappy employees.
      • There is a good chance many employees could have an unemployed spouse, mortgage problems, etc. – making them feel secure with their jobs and pay/benefit levels will be key in retaining them and maximizing their time in the office.
purchasing protocols
Purchasing Protocols
  • New copiers? Nope. $20,000 savings.
  • Previously, the DPS purchased 2 cruisers each year . . . In a bad year, at least one was purchased.
    • This policy was immediately eliminated.
      • Cars are rotated out when needed.
      • No new cruisers have been purchased since 2007
      • Two completely equipped used Tahoes were recently purchased from MSU for $30,000.
      • No vehicle purchases are planned for 2009-10, but funding for one is included in the budget.
contractual services
Contractual Services
  • A change in auditors netted a $12,000 annual savings. The 5-year contract will save $60,000 from current audit costs.
  • Recreation Plan was don’t in-house to save $5,000.
  • Three street construction projects were engineered with neighboring municipalities’ in-house engineering departments.
  • Master Plan is being created in-house.
  • Our Attorney no longer reviews all meeting packets. If there is an issue that I feel he needs to weigh in on, we send that packet to him. The net affect was 7 less billing hours per month @ $150/hr: $12,000/yr.
net expense reductions
Net Expense Reductions
  • 2006-07 GF Expenses: $2,711,674
  • 2009-10 GF Expenses: $2,684,700
  • 2009-10 GF Trend: $3,229,700
creating new revenues
Creating New Revenues
  • 2009-10 GF Revenues are anticipated reach 2006-07 levels.
  • Trends should be around $3 Million . . .
  • Budgeted revenue is $2,687,700 for FY 09-10.
creating new revenues19
Creating New Revenues
  • New Housing
    • Previously developed 41-lot Orchard Hills Subdivision was paid for by the City in 2006, and eventually abandoned by the City’s developer as the housing market failed in 2007-08.
    • After studying housing needs and new homebuyer desires, we reorganized the plat, shrunk some lots, added more lots, and dramatically lowered the lot costs, utility hook-up costs, and inspection costs.
    • Net result is 4 custom home starts since April 2009, with 6-8 additional homes expected later this summer.
    • Net new income to the City beginning in FY 09-10 is $15,000 in property and income taxes.
creating new revenues20
Creating New Revenues
  • Adjust Fees
    • If the cemetery is not self sustaining . . . now’s the perfect opportunity to justify a need to make it so.
  • One-Time Revenues:
    • Contacted the real estate agents of a number of commercial properties that have been on the market for 18 months or longer, targeting those owned by larger companies. We requested a tax deductible donation of the building/property (using a local real estate agent to show them the value of the tax deduction vs. the realistic sale of the property). To date one building was donated and flipped to an investor. Net income: $65,000
creating new revenues21
Creating New Revenues
  • Looked for new investors
    • On a recent visit to the Flint area, I noticed that a cellular company named Metro PCS was flooding the area with new stores. After doing some research, we found that they intended to move into the Battle Creek and Kalamazoo areas. We contacted their tower consultant and convinced them that two city-owned areas were appropriate for towers. One lease is in place and a second is likely in the coming months. Annual revenue per tower is approximately $10,000. This is the equivalent of $1.5 Million in new real estate development (based on our tax levy).
creating new revenues22
Creating New Revenues
  • Looked for new investors – continued
    • Contacted real estate development companies in other metropolitan areas (but not in Michigan). Financially-stable firms are looking to invest the down market in exchange for future returns.
    • Organized one firm’s visit from Chicago . . . they have determined that Springfield is a good place to invest, and have agreed to purchase a struggling business and a vacant neighboring property. We anticipate the net affect will be two more-sustainable businesses in Springfield. They are also interested in investing in the City’s town center concept.
tips for surviving thriving in michigan s economy
Tips for Surviving Thriving in Michigan’s Economy
  • Make sure your employees have what they need to be successful!
    • Not necessarily the same as what they want . . .
    • Listen to their needs and lead by example.
    • With unemployment nearing 20% and housing values still falling, it’s likely that some employees may have financial problems looming. Don’t take advantage of them . . . if they are covering for eliminated positions, taking on new challenges, etc., the proper reward is not a pay freeze or a cut in benefits just because the job market allows.
    • If you cannot afford the long-term liability of a raise, consider a cash bonus equal to 1%-2%.
    • Don’t constantly remind them of how “bad” the economy is . . . Ensure your employees that your leadership and their dedication will make the difference.
tips for surviving thriving in michigan s economy25
Tips for Surviving Thriving in Michigan’s Economy
  • Be creative with cuts.
    • Small cuts count, too.
    • Try to forge personnel cuts in a way that also benefits the affected employees.
    • Get the employees involved.
    • Get lean . . . and if you can effectively run your city at the depleted funding levels, don’t grow your expenses every time there is a bump in revenue.
    • Now that we know how quickly funding can disappear, start eliminating long-term liabilities to better position your city for the next downturn.
tips for surviving thriving in michigan s economy26
Tips for Surviving Thriving in Michigan’s Economy
  • Search for new revenue
    • Cell towers, land donations, new investors looking to profit from the down market, etc.
    • New, affordable housing is still desirable . . . know your market, and help facilitate appropriate development.
    • Market your community to new residents and investors . . . It’s not that expensive!
tips for surviving thriving in michigan s economy28
Tips for Surviving Thriving in Michigan’s Economy

If all else fails . . .

I’ll meet you at the Downtowner