This 2/9/12 fiduciary review meeting at 9 AM Thursday is a Study Session by the Township Board. It is open to the public.
The archived minutes for the Board of Trustees regular meetings and study session minutes are found in the same place. There are usually six study sessions or more per year. The way to identify on the website which meeting minutes are a "study session" is to look for the asterisk (*) after the date. Fiduciary review should happen quarterly at a study session meeting. However, not all study sessions are about finances. The minutes usually are not very long...but revealing. Try reading the (*) minutes for 2011, 2010 and 2009 before you attend the 9 AM morning meeting. START with 2009 Study Session minutes*....read the progression of thoughts and actions taken by the township to date.
What will the reports show? Be there to find out.
Remember this: in late 2009 the township board of trustees determined that a new 1.3 millage general obligation tax was absolutely necessary to maintain the current level of services.
The trustees put the "general obligation" type millage issue on a February 2010 ballot. The millage narrowly passed, thus saving a large reduction/lay-off of public safety/other personnel according to published literature and township comments. By December 2010, that new 1.3 mills --- $4.4 million tax was collected along with the previous passed township millages. Approx. 90% of that new 2010 tax is directly deposited from the general fund to the public safety fund each year since first collected. So....even though it was collected as general obligation tax...it is a form of a new public safety millage.
(below is 2008 data from a "financial data" pdf in the township Strategic Plan....note: 2010 new tax NOT shown).
Where is Updated Data?
Not only do the township taxpayers have the above obligations, more bonds have been added since 2008 and the 1.3 mills 10 year tax. How many other obligations have been added? Where is updated data from the township? Some bond rates have risen as the property values have fallen. Which ones? How much?
More Taxes Collected From YOUR Checkbook, But Not Deposited to Township Accounts
There are also Oakland County taxes such as: state education tax, an Oakland Co. tax, Oakland Intermediate School District tax, Oakland Community College tax, Oakland County Parks and Recreation tax, Huron Clinton Metro Authority tax, Zoo Authority tax, and SMART bus tax. It has been suggested that perhaps there should be a future tax to support the ARTS in Detroit. Look carefully at your tax bill generated from the township. It should include itemized details of all taxes collected not only for other purposes, but taxes that are deposited in the different township accounts. Do you see all these taxes itemized on your tax bill?
Too Often You Are Told Before A Millage About It Being Just A Small Amount of Dollars Added to Your Tax Burden. The Real Question: What Does It All Add Up To?
FYI: If you are living in a house VALUED near/above $300,000 your yearly tax bill is most likely over $6000. I hate to tell you, in today's economy, that house may sell for as much as 20-50% less.
From Desperate For New Millage in 2010 to AAA Rating in 2011? How?
Now for the surprising announcement out of the township leadership in April 2011. The township is rated AAA. From the mentioned AAA article: "....Bloomfield Township Supervisor Dave Payne said, "The AAA bond rating is the direct result of a great team effort put forth by the Board, administration and employees...."
Notice the TAXPAYERS did not get any credit for getting the township to AAA rating in the above quote for giving more and more $$$$ money for each millage vote the Township continually asks for.
Read the "team effort" by the township Board, administration and employees below:
- In late summer, early fall of 2009: the township reaches contract agreements with employee unions EARLY, before the April 2010 contract expiration date. Contract not posted on web.
- Township establishes "Strategic Plan".
- The fall 2009 Township Board of Trustees pay for a "survey" for a possible 1.3 millage increase.
- A late 2009 decision by twp. board for 1.3 mills x ten years for a ballot question approved with the vote to be Feb. 2010. Hired survey company later provides services to S.O.S. for fees.
- A political PAC was formed in late 2009 and registered at the County...the proposed Feb. 2010 millage was highly promoted for a yes vote by: "S.O.S." (Save Our Services) which collected more than $85,000 from contributors to S.O.S. with approx. 90% of those contributors being vendors and employees of the township. Glossy mailers highlighted scared citizens not being helped because of reduced public safety service IF the millage didn't pass. The co-chairs of the 2009/2010 SOS campaign were and still are active in township politics and have been appointed to board positions.
- Weeks after the narrow "win" in Feb. 2010 by the YES votes, the township thanks 2 rookie firefighters for their "help" (among many) in getting out the yes vote, then proceeded to award/hire them and give them their firefighter badge and helmet as a regular employee....instead of giving them a "pink slip" should the millage had failed. More people have been hired since.
- Four months after collecting the $4.4 million dollars from the 2010 1.3 mills from the taxpayers via the summer and winter taxes collection.....the Township announces its AAA rating in April 2011.
- Dave Payne and the Board of Trustees, in June/July 2011, renegotiates employee contracts....EARLY.... and extends them for six years. The contracts also provide for step increases each year....sort of a bonus for each year worked. Contract not on web.
- The Dec. 2011 Board of Trustees EXEMPTED the township from the provisions of Public Act 152 which was passed in Sept. 2011 which was to help reduce the costs to public employers (us). A FOIA request revealed that the township did not calculate what the potential savings to the township MIGHT have been had the board voted not to exempt. The township can exempt out for another 5 years since the contract was approved before Sept. 2011 signing of Act 152.
WARNING: A 2.5 mills public safety millage expires in 2012. I wonder what the fiduciary review at 9 AM will reveal? Supervisor Savoie already (before board approval) announced that there will be a public safety renewal vote in August 2012. If this 2012 millage results in a NO, he stated the 80 public safety personnel will need to be cut. Do you believe that? Are there other options?
If you can't attend the THURSDAY morning @ 9 AM study session on fiduciary review, look for my blog review and archived blogs. FYI: the township minutes won't be on the web until AFTER they are approved at a regularly schedule Board of Trustee meeting.
Tuesday, February 21 @ 4 pm is now scheduled to be a full board meeting rather than a study session.
Since this will be a Board of Trustee meeting, it means that decisions can be made, motions made and votes taken. The stated purpose of the meeting is to focus on the preliminary budget review. There should be an agenda posted before the meeting. This meeting should also be video recorded and archived. You will be permitted 3 minutes to speak to each agenda item if you wish.