Friday, July 31, 2015

Retirees: Pension/Health Care and COST to TAXPAYERS

Hi All,
To the Bloomfield Township Taxpayers:

Employee PENSIONS and  retiree health care.... are still problems that need solving... and should be a major topic at contract renewal.  The 6 year contract ends 2016.  History has shown that the Bl. Twp. contracts can be changed/negotiated EARLY.    

Doing some research, I came across a Study Session from 12/2/08 minutes... see LINK below.... that indicates that money out of the GENERAL FUND was used to pay Pension benefits rather than taking money out of the then Equities Fund that was set up for paying the Pension liability.
http://bloomfieldtwpmi.minutesondemand.com/  This is how to find the 12/02/08 STUDY SESSION minutes:  go to link/ choose Board of Trustees/choose Study Session minutes/ choose 2008/ choose 12/02/08
Please read this link... 

QUESTION:  WILL THE TRUSTEES TAKE MONEY from the General Fund to pay the Defined Benefit Pension Fund in the future.... while we have in place the $82 million  BOND MONEY in an Equity Trust account that was to satisfy the unfunded DB pension? 


I HOPE NOT.   WHY... do I ask this?  Because there will be MANY retires in the next 5-10 years that will most likely deplete a large portion of the EQUITIES money.  Quite honestly, I don't see the stock market continuing to rise like it has in the past 3 years.  The scenario I can envision is a low balance in the DB Pension Equities Fund and low market returns in the near future.    Would/Could  the Board meet at a STUDY SESSION... and take money from the General Fund just to preserve what is left in the Equities Fund of the DB Pension Trust?  Perhaps.
THIS TIME... the taxpayers of Bloomfield Township have been told that the $82 +/- Million Bond money is to satisfy the Pension liability.  THAT MONEY MUST BE USED FIRST....in my opinion.


I asked at a Study Session recently:
  • How much money must be transferred into the Prudential Guaranteed Account (or whatever it is called)  EACH TIME an employee retires? The answer was approximately $1 MILLION each.  When can employees retire?  Some can at age 50.
  • I then asked:  HOW MANY employees are still eligible for retirement IN THIS DB PENSION PLAN?  The answer was 188 employees +/-   are still eligible for this DB Pension Plan.   Currently there are 288 former employees or their beneficiaries still collecting.  This DB Pension plan will exist for at least another 50-60 years or possibly more.
  • I then asked:  How many employees are eligible NOW to retire?  I believe the number was in the 80's... but someone said... that is not likely to happen soon... they do not see a  "run" to retire on the retirement plan. Really?  It could happen.  However, 20-40 employees may retire in the next ten years.  See the ANNUAL REPORTS for the various departments.  Some list the employees and their years of service to date.
  • Now think about this:  188 current employees are still eligible to retire in the DB Pension plan...and.... if the cost is $1 Million for each retiree into the Prudential Guaranteed Account the Township MIGHT need:   $188,000,000.   Ok, maybe not that much because of the life expectancy of those now collecting benefits.   But still,  money would need to be transferred from the  DB Pension Equities Fund... and that has only $75 MILLION +/-  currently.  This Defined Benefit Pension Plan is still expected to be in operation 50-60 more years.                                               
  • I also learned that the COLA (cost of living allowance) to the DB Pension is NOT PART OF THE GUARANTEED PENSION and the Township MUST ADD to the Prudential DB Pension Account... the amount of money to cover those COLA benefits.  Can this COLA payment to retirees be eliminated in a future contract??  What IS the dollar figure for COLA payments for the retirees?  the current employees?

FYI: 

  • The Study Sessions are not audio/video recorded in the main township hall. 
  • THAT IS A MISTAKE.  ALL  PUBLIC MEETINGS SHOULD BE ARCHIVED. 
  • What is really being said at the Study Sessions, the ZBA, the Planning Commision, the Design Review Board, the Lake Boards, etc. ?  The minutes do not include what the "Public"  ... asked during the "public comment" portion of the agenda.  The minutes do not include some other comments that I personally have heard at the meetings that I think are important.  Minutes are not verbatim.   An audio/video rendering of the meetings are important in my opinion.
  • I will continue to fight for full TRANSPARENCY... BUT..
  • I NEED YOUR HELP.  SPEAK UP TO THE TRUSTEES... DEMAND TO HAVE ALL PUBLIC MEETINGS AUDIO/VIDEO ARCHIVED FOR THE RECORD.

ALSO IN THIS same LINK.. from 12/02/08

is a paragraph talking about RETIREE HEALTH CARE.... and that GASB 45 (Gov.Acct. Standards)  states that this will have to be DISCLOSED. 
  • In this 12/2/08 meeting  it was reported that the UNFUNDED liability @ that date is $60,646,000  over a 30 year period.  
  • So....7 years have gone by... the Township ONLY pays what is needed for each year.  Surely, more people have retired in those 7 years.  Therefore, WHAT IS THE UNFUNDED liability @ this date:  7/27/15  for the RETIREE HEALTH CARE??  over the LONG TERM??   I understand that the Township is just paying annually... so what is that current figure and what could that figure be over the long term?
  • I believe this should be part of the DEBT SUMMARY page of the annual budget.  I don't see that there.  Please, the BOARD should tell the taxpayer... what is the debt still owed...over the long term... for all the retirees as it relates to health care?  
  • Also, what is the projected long term health care pension debt for the 188 current employees? Or has that been changed? Is changing the Health Care Plan a negotiable item in future contracts?   


QUESTION:   What are the annual payments into the NEW PENSION 401k... (or whatever the new pension is called)... for all those hired after 2005?
  • How many employees are in this situation?  
  • What is the new form of pension (for hired after 2005) costing the taxpayers annually?    
  • Because of the recent (for all employees)  2% raise for 2013  then another 2% for 2014  then another 2% raise for 2015  then another 2% raise for 2016..... and the continued language in some of the contracts permitting longevity or step payments....
  • Is there a separate Health Care Retiree Account for those hired after 2005?
  • How much does EACH RAISE really cost the taxpayer EACH YEAR in a dollar amount?  

QUESTION:   With the 6 year employee contract expiring in 2016.... WHO will be doing the negotiations representing the taxpayers?
  • It appears as though the 2% raises for each of the 4 last years of that contract were an "EXECUTIVE DECISION"  by Supervisor Leo Savoie  with the Board of Trustees approving those raises... without much or any discussions as to the TRUE cost of those raises.
  • I BELIEVE... that the taxpayers have a right to know WHEN the negotiations begin and WHO is representing all parties and WHAT contract language is written..... before the Board votes on any new employee contract.  Employee contract language should be found in the Board Packet for an AGENDA  for taxpayer review and comments. 

FYI:   

  • ALL SEVEN positions at the Township are EXPIRING.  At the November 2016 election the taxpayers will choose their leadership....all seven... Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer and 4 Trustees.
  • Will there be CHALLENGERS to the existing Board?  Who will be doing the negotiations on the employee contracts or will this board have those expiring contracts completed ahead of schedule?
  • ARE YOU INTERESTED IN THE DOLLAR AMOUNT OUR BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP RETIREES ARE RECEIVING?  No names are given for the employees.   Go to this link and follow the next steps:  
http://bloomfieldtwpmi.minutesondemand.com/
then choose:  Board of Trustees
then choose:  Board Packet
then choose:  2015
then choose:  STUDY SESSION board packet 3/10/15 
WAIT for the PDF to load
then go to page 13-19 of the PDF for the current 288 RETIREES PENSION monthly benefits....

FYI: from above document:  line 31/ retired in 2011 is ASSUMED BY ME... to be former Supervisor David Payne  who receives from the township taxpayers... guaranteed by the Prudential Guaranteed Pension account:  a monthly benefit for himself and his beneficiary... $11,122/ month.    Apparently each year there is COLA to the retirees... so this figure would change... and this figure does NOT include the cost to the taxpayers for the RETIREE HEALTH CARE COSTS.  Some retirees are again "hired" for certain township jobs... does that also change these monthly figures? 

Do you think the Bloomfield Township TAXPAYERS need to pay more attention to what is happening at Township Hall?  I do. 

Marcia

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Pontiac School Millage: What FAILED in May should FAIL in August..Vote NO Aug. 4

Hi All,

This blog is mainly for the Bloomfield Township residents who happen to live in the PONTIAC SCHOOL DISTRICT and for other taxpayers in other communities that live in the Pontiac School District.
(Please forward this blog to those that live in the PONTIAC school district.)

MILLAGE PROPOSALS
Last May 2015, the Pontiac School Board had a millage on the ballot that FAILED.  Well, here it is AGAIN on the ballot August 4, 2015.  How much is it costing the Pontiac School District to put this on the ballot in August?  What if it FAILS AGAIN?  Will the voters see it for a third time?

Below is the official language of the ballot issue:

SCHOOL DISTRICT OF THE CITY OF PONTIAC
MILLAGE PROPOSAL, BUILDING AND SITE SINKING FUND TAX LEVY


Shall the limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property in School District of the City of Pontiac, Oakland County, Michigan, be increased by and the board of education be authorized to levy not to exceed 2.87 mills ($2.87 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 5 years, 2015 to 2019, inclusive, to create a sinking fund for construction or repair of school buildings
and all other purposes authorized by law and state agency interpretation;
the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and levied in 2015 is approximately $7,082,074?


Click here to see the Pontiac School District literature to vote in favor of the millage.   

I recommend a NO VOTE....AGAIN !!!  
The words in red above ...I did for emphasis...you won't find it that way on the ballot.   
What "OTHER PURPOSES"?
Of course buildings that are repaired are healthier and safer for the education of children.
I would hope that an evaluation of the buildings currently in use have been completed and a list of must have repairs are so noted.  The taxpayers should be given an idea of how the $7+million each year for 5 years will be spent.  Personally, I would not vote to hand over $35 million dollars unless I had a much better idea of exactly where it will be spent.
"other purposes"
Government/Schools "other purposes" language scares me.  Too vague.  Too costly.

Below is what I wrote before the MAY 2015 ballot issue:
Here is the section of my archived blog from April about Pontiac Schools. 

Pontiac
DESPERATE: ... What will a five year "sinking fund" @2.87 mills/ a little more than $7 Million... do for a FAILING school district?  If money is needed for "construction or repair"... why not QUICKLY sell the 17 properties/and others not listed for sale to generate revenue and stop maintenance fees and repairs?
Enrollment is DROPPING...and Pontiac HS was the state's bottom ranked school.  Can you blame the many suburban households ( Bl. Twp., W. Bl., Sylvan Lake, Auburn Hills, Lake Angelus, Waterford, Orion) that are located in the Pontiac school district for wanting out and reassigned to adjacent school districts?  Best way for that to happen...go VOTE.... quit voting yes and let the district DISSOLVE.   Now is the best time to vote NO.  Say NO on all future millages until the State ends this district for good.  Save the students... send them to better schools.  My opinion.


As for my community, only people living in Bl. Twp. precincts 12 and 29 will vote:  Bloomfield Township  on August 4, 2015.   Please VOTE !!!

Here are the other MUNICIPALITIES THAT NEED TO VOTE ON THE PONTIAC SCHOOLS MILLAGE PROPOSAL
VOTERS need to go TO THEIR normal precinct and vote on AUGUST 4, 2015.
Here are 7 other communities in the Pontiac School District and links to each:
Pontiac, Auburn Hills, Sylvan Lake, Lake Angelus, West Bloomfield Township, Waterford Township, Orion Township.

There are currently 430 homes for sale in the Pontiac School District.    Click here to view homes for sale.   The amount each property will PAY in taxes will vary greatly

While NOT having a VOTE, maybe the surrounding school district taxpayers should pay attention... as I believe this school district should go into bankruptcy and be absorbed by surrounding school districts.  Right now, the Pontiac School district avoided bankruptcy by agreeing to operate under a STATE CONSENT AGREEMENT.  The MI State Treasurer provides oversight and monitoring of contracts.  Oakland Schools provide Business and Human Resources Services and the MI Dept. of Education monitors all educational plans.

What do the homeowners want?  They need to express their wants...by voting.  Is it to try to save     "a world class school district"  as their own Pontiac School District website describes themselves... or let the state close the district and send the children to other neighboring school districts?

In my opinion, this is NOT a "a world class school district" as it currently exists.
 
WHAT SCHOOLS ARE OPEN FOR THE 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR?The school website has NOT BEEN completely UPDATED for this 2015-2016 school year that begins Aug. 17, 2015.  Some schools have data from 2013 still listed.

Only these schools are listed under the heading "select a school" at the very top of the school website.. but none with current information, so who really knows what buildings are being used.

The address and some information is given for each of the following buildings:
Alcott Elem., WHRC Elem., Herrington Elem, Owen Elem. (sold?), Rogers Elem., Pontiac Middle School, Pontiac H.S. and ITA (formerly Walt Whitman elem).
 
WILL THE MILLAGE MONEY GO TO REPAIR ONLY THE SCHOOLS OPEN OR ALL THE PROPERTIES ... EVEN THE ONES FOR SALE?  How else will the money be used?
I learned that there are 17 properties currently FOR SALE...some with buildings, some vacant land.
From Feb. to April, 2015, three companies PURCHASED 12 other PROPERTIES for a total amount of $1,600,000.   See an Oakland Press article from Feb. 2013 about some of these properties.

Was any of that $1,600,000 money used this summer to improve the buildings being used this fall?
That would be nice to know.  How are these building going to be re-purposed? 
  • Pontiac Community Investments, LLC purchased the Franklin and Fairlawn properties for $750,000.
  • Pontiac Surplus, LLC purchased the Le Baron and Owen properties for a total price: $50,000.
  • Pontiac Investment Properties, LLC purchased 4 properties: Crofoot, Perdue, McCaroll and Jefferson for a total price of $500,000  and another 4 properties: Emerson, Longfellow, Washington and Webster for another $300,000.


 TIME FOR CHANGE:  do it at the ballot boxWith falling enrollment in many school districts throughout the state, it is TIME to consolidate the districts.  There are too many administrators/buildings/ buses/ and associated costs.  TIME to use the limited resources to actually EDUCATE our children. Vote NO...    My opinion.

Take a look at the:    Pontiac School BUDGET listed under "quick links"  :
See the costs for:   administration, transportation, building maintenance, etc.

Pontiac School District     

Attend this event to learn more:  
SATURDAY, AUGUST 1    from 10 AM  to  2  PM
BACK TO SCHOOL RALLY 2015
HEALTH, EDUCATION, SAFETY
Location:  47200 Woodward Ave., Pontiac, MI 48342 @ the Odell Nail's Admin. Building
Sponsors:  lots of businesses from the surrounding communities
Events:  FREE:  food, health screening, parent resources, Book Bag Giveaway, and much more.

  • My Blogs are usually just about Bloomfield Township... but SCHOOL DISTRICTS include many different municipalities.  Please feel free to pass this blog on to others that you know that should be VOTING in the August "stealth" election.  Thank you.
Marcia

Friday, July 24, 2015

Financials Discussed/Details shown in Board Packet

Hi All,
A lot of Bloomfield Township FINANCIAL information in this agenda.  There are 466 pages in the PDF of the Board Packet which gives the DETAILS of the agenda items.  Be sure to choose: Board of Trustees/Board Packet/July 27, 2015.   http://bloomfieldtwpmi.minutesondemand.com/    

Do you think you can read all this ... before the Monday, July 27, 2015 @ 7 pm meeting?

To my knowledge, this may be the first time the township will actually present and discuss some financials as an agenda item in a full/recorded/archived public meeting.  Pension info starts @ page 40/466 of the board packet.

Please note:  that one detailed financial report is ONLY included at the END of the board packet and is NOT part of the public discussion (quarterly investment report: 6/30/15).  Please review that report  on pages  393-457/466 of the Board Packet.

The township also formed a FINANCIAL SUSTAINABILITY Committee... and one agenda item is a RFP (request for proposal)...... read about that... who will reply/submit bid for that?  Start reading with the study session meeting minutes on page 22/466  and then continue reading for the RFP.

Page 37/466 speaks to the Fire Department request for another Rescue Truck @ $185,475.00.  Perhaps because of the detailed specifications REQUIRED by the township in the bid, 3 of the 4 potential bidders did NOT submit a bid. Only Kodiak Emergency Vehicles (Braun Ambulance) made the bid. No surprise, the township already has 3 Braun Ambulances in the fleet.  Could only this company meet the bid specs?  Just asking.

Payroll and Vouchers:  see figures/recipients:  page 389-392/466  of the Board Packet.