Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Media and Township Spin/ The Other part of the story

Hi All,
An Oakland Press article on Safety Path Millage:
http://www.theoaklandpress.com/government-and-politics/20140630/millage-would-help-construct-maintain-safety-paths-in-bloomfield-township

I wrote a COMMENT at the end of the article.  You can do the same if you go to the link above.  Below comment is similar to what I wrote.... however, I added or changed the language here.

The Township Safety Path is "only 80% complete"..... because the township has not spent all the money collected since 1998. Why? At the end of the fiscal year March 31, 2014 there was $2,673,640.00 in the "fund" ...which can ONLY be spent on safety paths. However, the BUDGET page makes NO MENTION of this existing "fund".

The township FOIA document of this "fund" (found in the text of this link) says that there will be estimated  $2,745,757 at the March 31, 2015 fiscal year end. ONLY ONE PROBLEM.... the millage expired in 2013. NO MONEY can be collected in 2014 unless the millage passes. Vote NO. Spend the $2.7 million first.

There is still over $2.6 MILLION to be spent from the savings in the fund. The township is planning to spend only $731,559 this year (June 23, 2014 meeting) ( and the 2014 proposed project on Maple Rd. path is on the same stretch of road as an EXISTING path on the other side of the road). That Maple Rd. project costs seem to be more drainage repair than concrete sidewalk @ $469,315 for 0.7 mile safety path.

This millage question CAN WAIT until the November 2016 elections where all money issues should be on the ballot. Therefore, VOTE NO.

Another troubling issue with the safety path millage... is that the township has (now and last year) placed an EMPLOYEE wage package to be paid by the millage money. The amount with benefits, etc. is approx. $53,383. Will they add more employee wages to this account? Who knows. The township leadership does whatever they want. That could mean winter maintenance and VERY high costs and liability to the taxpayers.  This is NOT a department of the township.

The safety path millage budget... seems to have other strange expenditures listed....
$3000 misc./ $7500 tax/write off/ an astonishing $350,000 for engineering... R& M.. for $75,000.

At the February 2014 Study Session, many of our township leadership wanted to do winter maintenance and many wanted to change the safety path millage to include road repair. EGADS... high costs and high liability for winter maintenance... and there already is an existing 1 mill ROAD millage...and the road department budget is over $4 Million a year already.  Here they are looking for MORE $$$ for roads.  Fortunately, the road part got left out... but the winter maintenance issue will be REVISITED by the leadership IF this millage passes. VOTE NO.  

In my opinion, the township needs to find as many ways to get taxpayer money... because the wages/ health benefits/ and pensions are out of control.   STOP the insanity.  Vote NO now.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Excessive Taxes... Vote NO on Bl. Twp. Four Millages

Hi All,

$98 Million in reserves, but Bloomfield Township wants to continue high tax rates.  There is enough in reserves to retire the renewing 4 millages.   (One millage doesn't even expire until 2016)

Of the 85 Townships within the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments, The Charter Township of Bloomfield, with total expenditures of $76,366,077, places 2nd  in terms of total expenditures for fiscal year 2013. The Township spent $1,859 per capita; $1,115 more than the Regional Average for Townships.

Bloomfield Township management continues to OVER SPEND.



WHY should management ask for 10 year millages... then BANK a lot of that previously collected money... and then continue to ask for more money for another 10 years claiming the township is broke?   The Bloomfield Township AAA rating is because there is money in the bank.... and some of that money is in DEDICATED funds... meaning the money may only be spent for a specific department. 

Recently, the local media has begun to weigh in on how the taxpayers should vote.  They take the Township leadership spin position.  I disagree with the Township spin.  The media gives a mere mention that I disagree.

Recently, the author of an Oakland Press article wrote this:
"Robovitsky believes that the millage is unfair because even non-members
would have to pay it. She thinks a better solution is to charge each
member of the senior center $100 per year, including non-residents who
use the center."

That statement doesn't go far enough.
The "non-members" as the author wrote it.... are the Township residents... that are NOT OLD ENOUGH  to be members of the Senior Center. Why should the younger generations have to pay the operating costs?  Everyone in the township is obligated to pay the costs for the BOND for the Senior Center building construction.

There are other "non-members" who do NOT LIVE in the township, yet benefit from our tax dollars. At the present time, they only pay $10 extra to attend programs, classes, and trips. No millage tax payments, no construction bond payments. Why is our local government giving outsiders better deals than the taxpayers?

The Senior Center leadership says there are 11,000 "profiled" members. MY suggestion was to have a FEE/ or DUES for those 11,000 "profiled" members....say $100 annually. That fee would raise $1,100,000, which would be $300,000  MORE than the millage money would generate ($800,000). The "non-members" that do NOT live in Bloomfield Township should have a fee/dues at least twice that or be excluded altogether. They can always move and live in the Township and pay the high taxes.

Why hasn't this fee/dues plan been discussed by township leadership or the senior center leadership?

Perhaps the 11,000 "profiled" members... really don't attend the center.  Perhaps part of that number is a lot of NON-residents.  Perhaps the figure of 400-500 daily usage is not really correct.  There has NEVER been, in the ten years of collecting millage money for this senior center,  an ANNUAL REPORT.  Why give another 10 years of millage money when there has been NO accounting to how the money has been spent for the last ten years?  There is $2.4 MILLION  CASH (saved from previous millage money) in the Senior Services Fund that can only be used for the senior center.  The millage brings in approx.  $800,000 a year. That means there is $2.4 Million currently SAVED  to operate the senior center for the next 2 years WITHOUT the need to raise more cash via the August 5, 2014 "stealth" election.

  •  THINK !
  • the township citizens should vote NO on this proposed millage on August 5, 2014
  • Vote NO.  The November 2016 election is the time for money issues to be on the ballot.
  • the township leadership should demand an Annual Report from the Senior Service Dept.
  • the township leadership should consider and discuss a FEE based policy to generate the approx. $800,000 revenue that is needed for employee wages/health benefits/pensions
  • MUCH of the operation of the Senior Center is via grants/fee based classes/trips  and volunteer generosity
  • the taxpayers should not be burdened with this 10 year dedicated millage
  • there is absolutely NO reason with the current funds in savings to shut down any part of this senior services for the next two years.... there is money in the bank
  • Senior Service FUND balances on March 31 at the end of the fiscal year for the years 2013, 2014, and estimated 2015  numbers from a FOIA document I obtained:
  • I recommend a NO VOTE on this and the other Bloomfield Township millages because Supervisor Savoie stated that IF all the millages fail... his 2014-2015 budget is good... no cuts needed... as I did find out with this FOIA document of  approx. $98 MILLION In FUNDS at the township:
Marcia

FYI:  
Article in Downtown Publications:
http://www.downtownpublications.com/Articles-election-c-2014-06-27-218564.112113-Our-endorsements-for-August-primary.html

Two  articles from The Oakland Press about the millages:

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/government-and-politics/20140624/bloomfield-township-safety-millage-renewals-critical-to-community

http://www.theoaklandpress.com/general-news/20140623/bloomfield-township-senior-services-millage-allows-center-to-continue-normal-operation