Thursday, May 26, 2016

Real Bl. Twp. NEWS.. not the BS the Twp prints...

Hi All,

ANOTHER USELESS  E-NEWS...5/26/16  from the Bloomfield Township government and Mr. Kowalski.  I attached the township website link to  Mr. K. 's  E-News at the end of this message, but the last one posted  is from May 1 st. 

I'm a "watchdog" blogger and  I don't get a salary and a pension like Mr. K.  Therefore,  I add opinion when I write to my "HI ALL"  list.... but  I also give you a LOT OF FACTS....and news.
 
1.
There is an election on August 2, 2016
.... with challengers for every electable position.  
The people I listed below should be elected for a better township government.   I have been attending meetings for years.  Trust me... vote for these people ...  Absentee ballots are out soon. Please... share this message with others ... BEFORE the absentee ballots arrive.  Thanks.
Winners in August will be the next elected officials, as there are no Democratic challengers in the November 2016 election.

There is David Thomas for Supervisor
There is Susie Kern for Clerk
There is Dan Devine for Treasurer

AND THE FOUR  TRUSTEES:
There is David Buckley for Trustees
There is Jeff Axt   for Trustee
There is Kirk Brannock  for Trustee
There is Dani Walsh  for Trustee

2. 
There are 2 Township millages on the ballot on August 2, 2016. 

VOTE  NO  and NO  on the two millages.....my opinion.  
I didn't ask the candidates I mentioned above their OPINION  of the millages.  
Why?  Because I want  you to vote for THOSE  people....even if they may end up differing with me on those issues. You may differ with me on the millage issues, too.

But please consider WHY I say NO NO:

There are millions of dollars in a dedicated RESERVE fund for both of those departments.... more than what could be spent for one year.  Those RESERVE funds can ONLY be spent on police, fire and roads.    The township is NOT spending those RESERVE funds...  perhaps  to keep the AAA rating?    Money in the bank?

Meanwhile,  the township keeps raising wages/ increasing pensions/ and asking for more and more money.  Time to put on the brakes.  Let new leadership evaluate the budget and the needs.   Spend those hard earned dollars we sent to the township in previous years to fund the police, fire and roads that is now deposited in the reserve accounts.   The township asked for the money via milages .. to  pay for police, fire and roads.... so spend those previous dollars ... That is what we expected...paid services, not savings accounts.
  
Did you know that the current township leadership takes GENERAL FUND dollars and transfers it to Public Safety and Road Department even though there are millions of dollars in DEDICATED funds?  Dedicated funds can only be spent for the department the millage money was collected for.   

The leadership should ONLY supplement the public safety and road department , when needed, with the DEDICATED reserve millions instead of using General Fund money.   But they don't.  WHY?    Answer... because they can do it and they get away with it...because no one is paying attention.

Taking General Fund dollars each year and transferring  millions of dollars to  Public Safety and Road Departments   depletes that source of money that should be spent for other departments and general payments ie: pensions, etc.   When the other departments don't get the money from the General Fund each year...... the FEES the township departments charge us and others ie: contractors we hire/etc...go up.  
  
When the township says:  ... if you don't vote for the millage, we will have to lay off the police and fire  or the road department people.   NO NO NO....they are lying to you.    There are millions of dollars in RESERVE  that can be spent ONLY on police and fire....and roads.... so spend it this time.... and let the new leadership review the books. 10 years is a LONG time... especially when the people you elect are only there for 4 years.  New leadership hopefully will examine the entire structure of township government and right size it for our community.  That means... voting NO now gives new leadership time to assess and review... and if needed... put millage requests on the next ballot opportunity.

That's my recommendation on the millages.  Detailed blogs to come soon.  Absentee ballots come soon, too.
 
      Local Proposals – August 2, 2016 Primary Election

Renewal of Public Safety Millage                    one of 4 millages dedicated to public safety.... this is NOT the only one... there are 3 more plus extra transfers...

Renewal of Road Maintenance Millage          a $4 million plus ANNUAL  budget for ROADS...  and those folks that bought into that township trap of paying for re-doing own roads... are having to PAY $ 5000 to $22,000  EACH to pay for those new subdivision roads.  Are you nuts... vote NO on the road millage.  Oakland County is responsible for our roads.  We are the ONLY township in the entire state of Michigan to have our own road department.  Should we do some of our own work on roads. Sure, but $4 million plus budget ?  NO

3.
Financial Sustainability Committee meeting coming up  Wednesday, June 1, 2016 @ 11 am.  This is a public meeting and all are welcome to attend.  I'm trying to get the $50,000  Graystone Report in a format I can put in my blog.  Frankly, the township should have put it in a board packet for the meeting. 

The township paid  $50,000  to Graystone Consulting  for a very thin written report and a 2 hour  consultation at a public meeting.
On Friday, May 20, 2016 @ 10 AM,    Graystone Consulting gave a 2 hour presentation of their findings.  It was ended at noon,  because Supervisor Leo Savoie said it would.  He was wearing a golf shirt... guess he had a tee time?  Didn't seem to matter that some at the meeting seemed to have more questions and that deadline for the meeting to end @ noon rushed  Graystone through their presentation.  And you want to know why I want Supervisor Savoie gone? Really.. not good!

You can get a copy of the AUDIO of the meeting that was held on FRIDAY, May 20, 2016 @ 10 am ..... yes...a day that the township is normally closed.  That's another issue.
Cost for that audio recording:   $  0.33   yes... cents.    Cost used to be $40 for a CD of the meetings.  Thirty three cents is one good surprise at the township... but that came about because of the new FOIA law.  The Graystone Consulting/ Financial Sustainability  meeting was held in the township hall.  Too bad the cameras that are available were not rolling.  Should have been audio/video recorded and archived.  Supervisor Savoie brags about transparency in his re-elect literature.  Not true.

4.
There is a Design Review Board meeting same day/  Wednesday, June 1, 2016 @ 2pm.   No one (as in the public)  knows the agenda until 18 hours before the meeting... which is so wrong.. obviously the people on the agenda know about it before 18 hours.... why can't the taxpayers?
 
5.
Senior Center is CLOSED on Saturday, Sunday and Monday  this weekend....Memorial Day.   Mr. Kowalski forgot to mention this in his "township closings" paragraph.    By the way,  I was at the senior center this morning working on the puzzle.  I like doing that because I only think about colors and shapes.... not what $#@!   me off about the township.  When I arrived,  a lady in exercise clothing walked past the sign-in desk.  I asked of the staff... do you just allow people to pass the desk and not sign in?   "Oh, non-residents don't have cards ! "    So I said,  so if someone just walks by without signing in... you just assume that it is a non-resident?  You don't ask why they are here or where they are going?    They said,  "well,  THAT person signed up for a class."  Which by the way is only $10 more than a township resident would pay.   Difference is.... YOU PAY for a 10 year DEDICATED millage  and YOU PAY  for the never ending Bond for the construction of this  building... and other buildings at the "campus" and YOU PAY to attend the same class.   Many of the classes should be FREE... we already paid.
FYI:    The Senior Services department... has NEVER  (over 10 years now)  submitted an annual report like the other township departments.   How many NON-residents  officially "joined"  our tax paid government senior services... for $10 extra a class.....  and how does the staff MONITOR their coming and going?   Do they leave after the class or just stick around and take advantage of other equipment  or services?   Just asking. 

My news and opinions...   Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend.  Remember why we celebrate. 
Marcia  


PS:
 I think Greg Kowalski should resign or be fired.  He didn't last at the Eccentric... and he was "given" this job as part of the "friends and family"  hiring culture. 

He does NOT give us  GOVERNMENT news in his E-News most of the time.  When he does, it is often just a recap of a meeting he never told you was happening in the first place.
The BHSD can write their own school event articles.  They are NOT part of township government.
The Library has their own newsletter and website.  The library is a separate taxing authority and NOT part of township government.
The Dream Cruise can promote their own event.   They are NOT part of township government.
The food "lesson"  can be put on Cable TV with one of the cooking shows.   WE pay big bucks $$$$ for cable.

FYI:  here is the township website link for the E-News... but it was last updated May 1, 2016.   This township is as useless as the newsletter.    Sorry, as of this date, you cannot see the message sent to township residents.  You didn't miss a thing.
http://www.bloomfieldtwp.org/EmailList/MailingListArchiveMessages.asp

Since you can't read the useless E-news... watch the May 23, 2016 Board of Trustees meeting especially concerning agenda # 7.  Once you start the video, drag the white rectangle to the time of 1:16:15  to go directly to item # 7.   Another reason why this township needs to vote for the people I listed at the beginning of this blog.   I commented several times... the board did not like my comments... but they were true. 
http://www.bloomfieldtwp.org/Services/cable/Videos/BoardOfTrusteeMeetings.asp 

Agenda # 7 was a redo from May 9 agenda #6.  I wrote a blog about it:
http://bloomfieldtwphappenings.blogspot.com/2016/05/savoie-and-gang-not-good-for-twp.html
 








    

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Savoie and "gang" - Not Good for TWP.

Hi All,
At the May 23 Board of Trustees meeting,  Supervisor Savoie and his "gang" of trustees proved that they are NOT interested in the best interests of the township taxpayers and should be replaced at the August 2, 2016 primary election.  Out of the seven trustees,  only Treasurer Dan Devine and Trustee David Buckley should be retained as they vote for the best interests of the taxpayers and transparency.

THE ISSUE/   Road Special Assessment Districts  (S.A.D.)    resolution for "closeout"....*** 

May 23 agenda # 7  was a "re-do" of agenda # 6 from the May 9 meeting.   Minutes on Demand


At that 5/9/16 meeting only Supervisor Savoie voted NO. 
He was not happy that his voting bloc: his "gang" :   Roncelli, Barnett, Kepes all voted Yes....with the other "gang" member, Khederian absent AGAIN/both nights, as is often the case.
  
So, Savoie, not happy with the vote, apparently had the issue brought back to the agenda May 23 by trustee Neal Barnett so the "gang" could change their vote and remove some language  that was added May 9 to the resolution.  Specifically a section # 7 of the resolution.  see below.

Original language: 

Treasurer Dan Devine,  added language making it necessary for each S.A.D. to have the project financials reviewed  by (currently, Wayne Domine) Township Engineering Director,  (currently, Jason Theis) Township Finance Director and the township treasurer (currently, Dan Devine) and the refunds to taxpayers approved by the board of trustees at a public meeting.  



The first resolution originally had just the employee positions that are currently held by Wayne Domine and Jason Theis reviewing the projects and making the decision of who gets what refund and then simply issuing the checks. No ELECTED  Board of Trustee involvement.  This resolution sets policy for payments of refunds to be done "administratively".   FYI:  Domine helped set the price and details of the road S.A.D. projects and Theis writes the checks.   Neither were elected and are not trustees of our money.

So, Treasurer, Dan Devine asked for and got an amendment to the resolution on May 9, that would include the Treasurer in the review (an elected person).    The treasurer bills the taxpayers the S.A.D. fees and collects the money.   Devine included in his amendment to the resolution bringing the information to the board at a public meeting for approval of the refunds.  FYI:  The only person  that voted no on May 9 was Supervisor Savoie.  Was it because the Treasurer, Dan Devine, would have the opportunity to see the project financial facts and figures?  Why was Savoie so against transparency?  Having a trustee part of the process and the full board voting on the decision at a public meeting seemed very reasonable.  Because it is.

But, during the May 23 meeting for the "RE-DO"  Savoie and his gang focused on the word "invoices" in the ADOPTED language of 5/9/16.    Quite frankly, I do want the trustees to see at least a final report of the project as to costs/ bills paid/ who owes what to the S.A.D., who paid in full and when, what the bond was, etc.  and how the determination was made as to refunds and WHY people get refunds and how much.  

VOTE WAS CHANGED... RESOLUTION REVERTED TO MAY 9 LANGUAGE

However, on May 23, the Supervisor and the "gang"  voted to remove the amended language  and revert back to the original resolution... and have just the 2 employee positions decide who gets refunds and how much each taxpayer will receive.  Trustees apparently don't need to know/ nor the public.  No transparency as to the financial accounting of each and every road S.A.D. project.  Scary.


WATCH THE MEETINGS /  AUDIO - VIDEO     on your computer or on local cable TV

You can view the audio/video of both meetings.   May 9 is agenda #6  and May 23 is agenda # 7.
May 23 has twists and turns and me commenting several times on the issue.   Take time to also listen to public comment as the last agenda item.  I had a few things to say.   You don't have to watch the entire meeting, you can click and drag the "time" line after the video starts to advance to the agenda item you wish to view.
http://www.bloomfieldtwp.org/Services/cable/Videos/BoardOfTrusteeMeetings.asp 


SUPPLEMENTAL READING... 
  
One of those township  S.A.D. road projects is Echo Park Road.   Here is my blog after that public meeting in 2014.
http://bloomfieldtwphappenings.blogspot.com/2014_05_01_archive.html

Here is another blog I wrote in 2013 about a "township"  early road project... instead of doing road repaving with Oakland County.
http://bloomfieldtwphappenings.blogspot.com/2013/10/sad-407-road-repaving-issue-divides.html

Extra information can be found in my many blogs written over the years. There are many archived blogs listed in the right side column.

  
HONESTLY,  THERE ARE LOTS OF ISSUES WITH THE WAY THE TOWNSHIP DID THESE ROAD PROJECTS AND A THIRD PARTY SHOULD REVIEW THE RECORDS.   

I had called for a forensic audit of the projects back in 2014  and again at the May 23, 2016 meeting.  It's OUR money... and we should know how it is spent.   Employees should not be making the FINAL decisions.

Having  2 employees simply deciding who gets money refunded and one of them simply writing refund checks "administratively"  without the Trustees approval at a board meeting and without presenting any documents or a report to the trustees before dispersing township tax dollars is simply not right. 

Those refund checks will be randomly listed one meeting in Payroll and Vouchers without being identified as to reason or purpose... so when, the Trustees approve Payroll and vouchers they are "approving" the refunds.  Savoie will make sure they all take fiduciary responsibility.  Payroll and vouchers is another major issue ...  Trustees approve with little knowledge of facts.

One of the taxpayers at Carillon Hills S.A.D.  road project... was listed in payroll and vouchers months ago receiving a $600 check.  No explanation why.  But, I do know they complained about "over-paying" for their share of the road back then.   IF.... $600 was for road refund,  who authorized the  $600  refund for the road SAD?  I don't know.  Suspicious... but without proof.  

Savoie basically said at the May 9 meeting that REFUNDS will be coming for Carillon Hills S.A.D. subdivision in June 2016... as he spoke to a member of the audience that night.   Really?   Behind door promises?  ... that is Savoie.  Deals for ......?    Fill in the blank.   He needs to be replaced.
 

IF YOUR SUBDIVISION WAS PART OF A  S.A.D. 

It is critical for any person facing a special assessment levy to participate in public hearings and monitor the special assessment process from its earliest stages and know all the details.    

Was your road project done "the township way"?

If so, everyone in these cases, were assigned a total dollar amount that was equal payments for all.  Everyone was to pay the same amount.  But now, some have or will be getting refunds for more than others?  If deserving, why?  Make the reason public knowledge.  Let everyone in those S.A.D. road projects know the final costs and who got money refunded and how much and why.   Know how much money was bonded for the project..an important figure to know.


***WHEN ARE S.A.D.'s  to be CLOSED....LEGALLY?  
  
And, by the way,  even though this agenda item says "closeout".... there are many more years of payments to this S.A.D. by many of the homeowners.  To me,  the " S.A.D. "  should not be "closed"  until the end of the legal term set up.   Many more years to go.   Even though some have paid in full.. the "close-out" of  some of the township's road  S.A.D. 's  are perhaps even a decade or so away.  Can the confirmed assessment roll be altered and the figures changed?  

My opinion.
Marcia