THREE OAKS – Members of the Three Oaks Township Board on July 12 reviewed highlights of the 2020-2021 fiscal year audit report from Kruggel, Lawton & Company CPA Allison Allman.

The financial report for the fiscal year that ended March 31, indicated that the township’s net position increased $13,648 from the previous fiscal year, from $4,068,299 to $4,082,337.

Over time, increases or decreases in the township’s net position is an indicator of whether its financial health is improving or deteriorating, respectively.

Total assets were reported as $4,094,040, with total liabilities of $11,703.

The township’s unrestricted net position – the part of net position that can be used to finance day to day operations – increased by $1,133 for the governmental activities, and the current level of unrestricted net position for governmental activities stands at $2,570,448.

Net investment in capital assets totaled $984,440.

It was noted that the township’s total governmental revenues increased by $1,166 and expenses decreased by $43,768 during the fiscal year, with the expenses decrease largely attributable to the decrease in restoration project expenses and general government attorney fees.

The most significant external service is police protection which incurred expenses of $93,982. That service is supported by general revenue sources of the General Fund.

At the end of her presentation Allman thanked clerk Liz Zabel for scanning and submitting all the materials that were needed to compile the financial report.

“The board really did a great job,” Allman concluded.

Also on July 12, there was a lengthy discussion on what action to take, if any, on the current public safety millages while factoring in the $621,000 in revenue the township received for the sale of the Enterprise Park property, along with the anticipated $96,400 in revenue that will be received as its share of the American Recovery Act.

Supervisor George Mangold said one action could be to suspend the annual 1.75 mills for police protection that voters approved.

“If we do that for a year then we could review it in the future,” he commented.

However, other board members took a more cautious stance.

Treasurer Kathy Osburn voiced some reluctance and noted that the Public Safety millages the voters approved were minimal in comparison to the revenue the township garnered in tipping fees while the Forest Lawn Landfill was in operation.

“Our voters approved these millages, and the costs of things such as utilities keep going up,” she said.

Trustee Chris Mitchell concurred and said he felt it was too early to make a decision on a reduction.

“We’re just getting over COVID-19, and now there’s a variant,” he said. “We really don’t know what the future holds. Where do we reduce, and how much do we reduce? We have a responsibility to be fiscally responsible with our funds.”

A motion for the millages to remain the same for now with an automatic annual review was approved on a 3-2 vote, with Zabel, Osburn and Mitchell voting yes, and Mangold and Trustee Rexalee Gordon voting no.

In a related agenda item, there was consensus on a request to allow Mangold and Zabel attend a discussion on the American Recovery Act at Lake Michigan College.

Also on the agenda, there was a unanimous vote to approve a motion to follow the recommendation of Fire Chief Dave Flick and establish a Fire Truck/Building Options Study Committee.

“We need to look at the options that are available to acquire a new fire truck and/or expand the fire station,” Mangold said. “I would like us to hear the recommendations of our firefighters and then establish a blue ribbon committee. This is something that needs to be addressed.

“We are thankful for our fire department personnel and the outstanding service they provide to our community,” he concluded.

Finally, Mangold reported that the township’s proposed Recreational Marijuana Ordinance was still in the process of being reviewed and redrafted by township attorney James McGovern and should be available for review and comments by the board members by the end of July.

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