The Board of Trustees agenda is on-line and so is the Board Packet. Thursday is a strange night for the regularly scheduled 7 pm Monday meetings. No reason was given for the change, just a short announcement by the township: "The May 14th Board of Trustees meeting has been rescheduled to May 17th."
Please remember when reviewing the agenda, it is actually the Board Packet that is essential to read for the details of each item. Or so I thought. Note: item # 7 is missing from the board packet. I believe the information was intentionally left out.
The township paid over $12,500 for a survey to determine the voter interest in renewing a public safety millage that is expiring this year.
[PDF] Board of Trustee Minutes - March 12, 2012
...Steve Mitchell has been retained by Bloomfield Township to gauge community support of millage proposals and renewals since 2002. The results of this survey will give the board an idea of how residents feel about the renewal of the public safety millage....
The biggest waste of money to date? The results of that survey are to be discussed as agenda #7. Guess what...NO packet information for the survey is provided. What were the questions? How many people were contacted? Where did the list of people come from? What is the conclusion? If one can examine the board packet details before the meeting, one might have time to formulate questions and actually ask questions in the three minute allotted time given to the public to comment.
I have been told in the past that the Trustees receive the same "board packet" as what is found on the website for the public....at the same time the public can see it. Therefore, will the trustees learn of the results of the Mitchell survey on Thursday night? Or, have they met behind closed doors to review and discuss the survey ahead of the public meeting? How will they vote on agenda item # 8? I think that is predetermined.
Agenda item # 8,
What? Why is there ballot language for the public safety renewal request already written and ready for approval? I thought the township needed to see the results of a survey before making a decision on the public safety issue? When did the trustees and the rest of the board get together to draft this ballot language? Again, why was the $12,500 + spent?
Now for my opinion: The township leaders (and few in the public) KNEW this ten year public safety millage was expiring:
- last summer when there was a change in the leadership at the supervisor position
- during the fall/winter when the 2012-13 budget was being drafted by the township
- in early spring when the budget was approved....with NO MENTION or DISCUSSION of this millage expiring
- and, that it didn't take a rocket scientist or a Steve Mitchell Survey to write a new ballot proposal to present to the public
- this public safety millage....is just ONE millage for public safety out of FIVE millages dedicated for or used primarily for public safety....a whopping $22,800,000 in revenue from millages (must add line item: 403 PLUS line item 699.03 to get all five millages)....collected every year
- the Feb. 2010 new general obligation millage for 1.3 mills has transferred approximately 90% of the collected money to public safety each year (see line item 699.03 in budget above)
- the next dedicated public safety millage to expire is in 2013....then 2015...then 2016...then the above general obligation millage expires in 2020....and the cycle continues with the public constantly being bombarded with literature that suggests threats to our safety and severe cuts in personnel if we don't pass the millages
- The township HAD THE OPPORTUNITY to discuss the expiring 2012 public safety millage and the impact a NO VOTE would have on the budget...but chose to ignore any public discussion and made no budget cuts in any other department in the event of a NO VOTE.
- the following chart is from 2008 and therefore does not include the Feb. 2010 new tax millage or other debt millages
ANNUAL REPORTS for Police and Fire for previous years can be found on the township website.
Note the number of employees that are above the rank of firefighter and patrol officer. Perhaps the cuts should come from the top should a NO VOTE occur.
MICHIGAN TOWNSHIPS are to be governed in certain ways.... different from cities, etc. Please take time to read about Townships from this link.
More to come on the proposed millage renewal for public safety....that will be on the August 7 ballot.
I believe there needs to be a LIMIT on how much the township spends on Public Safety....and that 5 millages expiring at different times and at different rates every year or so is misleading to the public. The propaganda literature for the millage will give you a dollar figure on how much it would cost you for your SAFETY. BUT...the literature will only tell you the costs for this millage only...what about the costs to you for the other four millages? ADD it all up for the true cost to you.
It is time to make changes....