Friday, September 23, 2011

Seeking Revenue Outside Township Borders

Hi All,
Mr. Leo Savoie, the Bloomfield Township Supervisor, was a guest at the United Homeowner Association (UHOA) monthly meeting. He was questioned (among many other issues) about the "independent contractor" work of Township employees in Sylvan Lake for planning, inspections, and assessing. He defended the decisions of the Township Board to approve these "revenue sources" and claimed contracting Township employees to other communities was a good deal for the Township.  It was important to keep employees.  Laying off employees would not be cost effective.  Really?

He was asked why no minutes and public discussion was part of Township decision- making as to "sharing services" prior to the vote on the contracts.  His response was basically that "negotiations" are done in private.  Fine, to a point.  But what about the decision to even consider entering into "negotiations"?  That should have been part of an open and transparent government discussion with the public prior to the first meeting with another community.  The Township should start right now proving their theory of  "...gaining revenue by sending Twp. employees to other communities as independent contractors is a benefit to the taxpayer..."   before considering doing more deals.  But no,  Mr. Savoie indicated that conversations are still occurring at this time with other communities and believe it or not, he declined to name the other cities/towns/villages/townships  or the services being considered.  Not open and transparent and apparently Mr. Savoie and the Board plan to keep it that way.  Township taxpayers will learn the "deals'" when a future agenda item says: approval of contract  for.....X...fee.

Here is a head's up:  Read the minutes from neighboring communities for information.   Thus, I've added the link to the City of Sylvan Lake on this blog site.  City of Sylvan Lake minutes provide some details of Bloomfield Township "negotiating". There were too many paragraphs that I wanted to quote. I suggest you just link on and read the City of Sylvan Lake  minutes for many months of 2011.  

FYI:  Sylvan Lake has a millage request on the ballot this November.  What if it fails?  Millage proposal PP for 2011 John 9 13 11-1.ppt  (SEE THE PHOTOS BELOW) from the City of Sylvan Lake.   Then see the Township budget for public safety and the costs to Township taxpayers.  Don't forget the cost for specialized equipment/vehicles that is needed to perform fire and police work.

What other cities are in "negotiations" with Bloomfield Township?  Perhaps I should start researching the City of Franklin minutes as they recently defeated a millage request/override. What about Birmingham and dispatch services?  Hello.  Don't you think you have a RIGHT TO KNOW what your government is doing?  Why should a Bloomfield Township resident need to read other community minutes to learn what YOUR elected leaders are doing?

At the UHOA meeting, Mr. Savoie questioned my dollar figures that I presented in an earlier blog on assessing with Sylvan Lake.  He said he needed to check the figures.  I believe he said "do some research".  My thought:  as a then Trustee Board member who voted on the issue,  shouldn't he already  know the figures BEFORE he voted to sign the deal?  Who did the negotiating?  An employee?  The attorney?  The elected officials?  Who came to the conclusion of how much to charge?  How much does it really cost per property to do inspections, planning,  assessing? For Sylvan Lake?  For Bloomfield Township?   Does the Township taxpayer pay more to have their home or business assessed?  Why weren't these questions answered to the public BEFORE the vote?  How can Mr. Savoie claim it is a good deal if he needs to research my "guesstimates" now?

What should I FOIA to learn more?  Closed door meetings ?  Just asking.


In fact I did ask these questions in my 3 minute allotted time at the July 25 , 2011 Board of Trustee meeting.   Questions and concerns are not recorded in the official printed minutes.  Just the name and address of someone that "spoke." That is not open and transparent government.  That is why the visual and audio recording of the public meeting was a top priority.  Public meetings need to be presented on public cable TV and website archived.   FYI:  A complete copy of the Agreement for State Construction Code Services is located in the Clerk’s Office.

There were other issues presented to Mr. Savoie at the meeting by Township residents.  I will write about those issues in a later blog.
FYI:   Mr. Gregg Kowalski, editor of the Eccentric was present at the meeting.  I'm sure his Sunday, Sept.  25, 2011 edition of the Birmingham Eccentric will have his review the meeting.

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