Cuts in store for public works programming
Updated: Dec 29, 2020
By Jamie Wiggan
Passed by the board of commissioners Dec. 7, Robinson’s 2021 budget forecasts a 7% revenue dip as a consequence of ongoing economic headwinds resulting from the coronavirus pandemic.
The budget holds property taxes steady at 3.2 mils and calls for a $124,000 transfer from the general savings fund to prop up programing.
“We’re trying to be ultra-conservative with being able to hold the budget, but we want to be realistic as far as basing it on any false revenue that might be,” Finance Committee Chair Ron Shiwarski said during the township’s Nov. 2 business meeting where the budget was first outlined.
By department, the biggest cuts are due for public works, which will see its 2020 budget of $4.62 million reduced to $3.84 million next year. More than half of this is being absorbed by the $1 million road improvement program, set to be slashed down to $450,000.
In 2018 and 2019, road improvement program spending was set at $500,000
Also within the public works department, capital purchases – factoring in at $100,000 last year — will be suspended in 2021.
Other departments, including police, fire and ambulance service, are due for only marginal cuts.
Contributing to the shrunken budgets, both of the township’s biggest income streams are expected to dwindle in 2021.
A $400,000 reduction in forecasted wage taxes drawn from those employed within the township, speaks of the larger economic fallout stemming from the coronavirus. Meanwhile, real estate taxes fair somewhat better, with expected losses at around $130,000 from 2020’s projections
Another major cause of loss results from lower than expected revenue collected throughout the current year. While at the beginning of 2020, the township carried over a $540,000 surplus from 2019, projections for a 2021 drawdown based on this year’s revenues are down to just $120,000.