With no state or federal windfall expected in 2013, Shelby Township will continue its efforts to reign in spending, which includes reforming police and fire pensions, and work to balance its budget while preserving residents’ present quality of life, Supervisor Richard Stathakis said.
Stathakis joined Sterling Heights Mayor Richard Notte and Utica Mayor Jacqueline Noonan Wednesday at the annual Heritage Luncheon hosted by the Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce to provide an overview of 2012 and highlight the pros and cons the township will face in 2013.
“Our No. 1 priority is to reform police and fire pensions,” Stathakis said. “We couldn’t afford these programs 30 years ago and we absolutely cannot afford them now. The out-of-control pension program is running us broke.”
With “six fiscal conservatives” re-elected to the township board, Stathakis said the township plans to concentrate its resources on re-negotiating the contracts tied to these programs and balancing the budget without adding taxes or reducing services.
Although the township will continue to face challenges in public safety, the supervisor noted that Shelby did complete its new $4 million police station at 52530 Van Dyke and shut down the sale of K2 at the Citgo Gas Station on Van Dyke Avenue and 21 Mile Road and at Woodstock Tobacco in 2012.
“K2 is a growing problem and we promise to tackle this,” Stathakis said.
As for improving the quality of life in Shelby Township, residents can look forward to more concerts and outdoor movies, additional mountain bike trails in River Bends Park, an expanded bike path from Stony Creek to Lake St. Clair Metropark and completion of Gene Shepherd Park, formerly Soccer City Park, in 2013.
“We’re not going to raise taxes in Shelby. Period. We’ll do what we can with what we have,” Stathakis said, adding that the township reserves the right to lay off employees as needed to stay within budget.