Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Police Department Vehicles and the Budget

Hi All,
The Township police department apparently has 8 vehicles on their lot that have never been used according to the City of Sylvan Lake website minutes from 8/25/11.  Those minutes indicate the Township vehicles were purchased to be used as "back-up" vehicles.  Perhaps the Township was anticipating contracting police and dispatch with Sylvan Lake?

Bloomfield Township Police Chief,  Kirt R. Bowden,  stated in his 2010 letter to the Board of Trustees in the Annual Report that:
"...the Bloomfield Township Police Department has made deep cuts as an organization..."

If that is true, why would there be 8 unused vehicles at the police department ?

The Bloomfield Township budget has a line item #978 that is described as "vehicle purchase". Here are the police budget figures:
2009-2010 @$229,080      2010-2011 @ $240,000     2011-2012  @  $240,000

Bloomfield Township government is not open and transparent.

I do not recall those vehicle purchases on any Township Board of Trustees agenda.
Over $700,000 has been given to a company(s) for the purchase of vehicles over the past three years. 
Where in the minutes of the Board of Trustees were these vehicle purchases/leases authorized?
Who were the companies that bid?
Where did the Township eventually buy or lease these vehicles? Where did the old vehicles go?
When did the purchases/leases occur?
Why were the purchases necessary (last vehicle old/poor repair/damaged, etc.) ?
What kind of vehicle was purchased/leased? 
How many vehicles were purchased/leased each year?

From the 2010 Annual Report for the Police Department I found the following statistics for the police vehicle fleet.

Vehicle Type # In Fleet
Police Patrol Units 20
Police Motorcycles 2
Animal Welfare Units 2
Identifications Van 1
Village Police Units 2
Unmarked Police Units 16
Other Utility Vehicles 4
Prisoner Transport Van 1

The police department budget does not indicate "deep cuts" as to vehicle purchases. The budget also shows the total expenditures of the police department to be over twelve million dollars a year.  That is true for all of the past three years.  If "deep cuts" are made, shouldn't the expenditures  go down each year?

The really "deep cuts" in the Township have been to your property's value. The Township is collecting less revenue. Well, they were, until the February 2010 millage vote,  where 1.3 mills was passed by a narrow margin. That millage was proposed so the Township could recover lost revenue due to the economy and falling property values and to maintain the current level of services.  That new 10 year tax is classified as general obligation, not public safety. That money may be spent in any department of the township. However, the approx.  4.4 million dollars collected each year on that 2010 tax levy has largely been transferred from the General Fund into the Public Safety Fund to maintain the necessary revenue to meet police, dispatch and fire department expenses.  Those public safety expenses have not gone down, but have remained fairly constant over the past three years.  So, where are the "deep cuts" in the budget?  Same revenue, same expenses....

The Township has been seeking revenue by going to the public for more taxes and looking outside our borders for added work.  It's time to start making "deep cuts" in all Township departments.  A hard look at line item #978: vehicle purchase, would be a great start.

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