County Tax Fund Balance

It was good to see so many at the 4th of July parades in Gregory and Fowlerville.  A special thanks to all who helped organize and bring together such a large group in a safe and positive way.  I’m proud to be an American and part of a free society where we may all have space to worship, speak, and gather as we think is good.

There has been some question raised about the revolving tax fund balance of 42 million dollars.  Each family and business has its own sense of how large a “nest egg” or “rainy-day fund” should be.  Let me give you an overview of how Livingston County uses this fund and what steps we take to make sure it is not too large.  The first purpose of this money is to loan it to local taxing units equal to the amount of revenue that has not been paid by the due date.  This is so that schools, local governments, etc. may have a predictable cash flow to operate as though all taxes had been paid on time. This year that amount was 8 million dollars.  During the recent recession, the need was 24 million.

Sixteen million dollars of this fund is earmarked to pay for the jail.  Local government units can request to bond projects, such as the Fowlerville sewage treatment plant, through the county and get the best interest rates using the fund and the full faith and credit of the county, saving thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan.  Thirty-five million dollars of such debt is backed by this fund.

We have asked an outside auditing agent to assess the size of our cushion to get an independent view on what is the minimum level to keep the county’s AAA bond rating as well.

Wednesday the Juvenile Court came to us with a request to increase their budget by 225,000 dollars because the number of minors who could not be placed in foster homes rose from 5 youngsters to 9.  This sounds like lot for just four people, but these will have to be put in special state-licensed facilities because of a variety of reasons, behavior or other needs, costing at least $300. per day and their stay averages one year.  The state will pay 50% of this but only if the county budgets for the full amount.

I’m looking forward to seeing many of you at the Fowlerville Family Fair.  Please stop and say “hello”. Have a safe and wonderful summer with family and friends!