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Ontonagon Township strong financially

ONTONAGON — While local, state, and even national governments are struggling financially, a township with almost 200 square miles of land mass is proving to be strong financially.  Ontonagon Township opened up its financial records in an effort to be very transparent, and the results are surprising.

“Ontonagon Township has a cash basis budget where, even money that does not belong to the township is acknowledged and recognized on both the expense and income side. We do this because we keep detailed attention to all money that flows through the township. In these cases, we are merely a conduit for other political subdivisions,” said Township Clerk Bill Chabot.

The township that has the highest population in Ontonagon County, 2,251 as of 2017, appears to have a budget over $500,000. Of the $555,486 they are working with, $287,600 goes to separately political entities. 

“As a result, on the Income General Fund we collect millage for the Ontonagon Village Volunteer Fire Department, the Ontonagon Township Park, the Ontonagon Township Library that are all separate political entities that we have no control over,” Chabot said. “They all have their duly elected boards and operate completely independent.  The township merely collects the millage and passes 100% of it on to the various political subdivisions.”

The Ontonagon Fire Department revenue and expense amounts to $107,000. This is from the regular tax and delinquent. The Ontonagon Road Fund amounts to $67,400. The Ontonagon Township Library amounts to $37,400, and the Ontonagon Township Park amounts to $18,700. 

“The total of all these amounts adds up to $230,600, which should be subtracted from both the expense side and the revenue side as Ontonagon Township is only a conduit to collect for these various political entities and receives no enumeration by the collecting,” said Chabot.

Chabot broke down, to the dollar, how the total passed on to various entities comes out to $287,600.

“In addition, another wash exists on the expense and reimbursements for both the library and township park,” Chabot said. “Ontonagon Township, because of our payroll set up on computer, pays the wages of both the library and park and then are 100% reimbursed by both units of government, again with no profit or expense to the township. 

“This requires that $57,000 be subtracted from both our expense side and revenue side. Combining this with the $230,600 complete wash for the fire, library, and park millage, and the total that should be subtracted from both the revenue and expense amounts to $287,600.”

The biggest increase in the budget was $12,000 for the 2020-21 as compared to last year was in capital outlay. 

“In capital expenditures, we are estimating (budgeting) to improve the property we purchased, to make it accessible to handicapped,” Chabot said. “That is known as the Filppula property.”

This increase is also in improvements at the township hall.

Election salaries also saw an increase of around $5,000. Township government salaries increased by around $2,500.   

“The township is in great financial shape, and we are running smoothly,” said Chabot.

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