Friday, April 5, 2013

Budget, Spending, RAISES...Your Tax Dollars

Hi All,
I didn't blog much in March.   The Board of Trustees meeting on the 11th was a review of the proposed budget that lasted 2 hours and my three minutes wouldn't change I didn't attend. There was a meeting on Thursday, March 28 (unusual day for this meeting) that had some interesting agenda items.  Both meetings can be viewed separately via the audio/video archived records at:

March 28  Board of Trustee meeting
If you aren't into viewing the audio/video March 28 meeting, here are MY thoughts/opinions of some of the agenda items. Please go to the  4/8/13 Board Packet that is 197 pages  where you can find the real written minutes for the 3/28/13 meeting.   Here are my thoughts/opinions with page numbers from the board packet:
  • The 2013-2014 Budget was approved (page 2,3 of Board Packet).
  • 2013 RCOC Annual Maintenance Agreement (page 4 of Board Packet)(a current copy is in the Clerk's office) (see old blog on maintenance agreement) where the township gets approx. $607,500 as "revenue" from the county...which is already your tax do work that could be done by the Oakland County Road Commission ..IF.... we didn't have this agreement. 
  • Because we have this agreement, the township has their own ROAD department budget at over $4 Million dollars/year.  The Budget (see: page 14/35) has $2,267,000 listed as revenue from property taxes from a special Township Road millage. That figure is misleading because there is MORE property tax revenue... see the last line #699.03 in the Road Budget listed as "transfers in general fund". That also is property tax money from the Feb. 2010 special millage election for ten year collection for general purposes.  That amount transferred is $1,075,000.  Your property tax dollars each year puts $3,300,000 into a road fund.  This Road Fund has been in existence for about 40 years in the Township.  How was the money spent each year and where?  So WHY do the subdivision roads need replacing and YOU need to put MORE money into the roads in front of your home?  Read an old blog on roads if you want to read more.
  • Another agenda item from 3/28/13 was another Road Paving Project in the subdivisions.  This time it is listed as S.A.D. # 406 and includes properties including Wabeek Country Club and surrounding homes and condos.  The lucky 215 property owners (one being the CC) will have a $7000 plus bill ...but... you have 15 years to pay for it. What will that road look like in 15 years?   Of course, not all are happy about this or the other subdivisions scheduled for repaving.  Only 51 % approval total # of homeowners and total # of lineal footage.  That's about all each of the three subdivisions managed to get. Does that make for a happy neighborhood? See pages 8-15 in the April 8 Board Packet for more details and a list of the properties affected for the Wabeek S.A.D. #406.
  • If it matters.. the subdivisions could still opt out of these repaving projects....all three still need FINAL board approval...I think.   Those public hearings are coming up in April or May.  Watch the agenda's. Make your own decision.
  • Sewer and Water bills are changed. Read pages 5,6,7 of the April 8 Board Packet for details. Nothing is getting cheaper. $$$  (some recent water bills are printed incorrectly)
  • Proposed drain project...more $$ from township pages 16-19 of the April 8 Board Packet.
  • How about the Sanitary Sewer Rehab project near Wing Lake?  $$$  read page 20.

Monday, April 8 @ 7 pm is the next Board of Trustees meeting for Bloomfield Township.  
 My comments/opinions of this agenda:

  • MDOT to reimburse Twp. $35,000 for State Highway Landscape Maintenance Work (that they could do) ....but the Township wants to do it spending $77,500 + ....  because the township residents expect better...???   pages 77-79 in the April 8 Board of Trustees Board Packet
  • Gallery Restaurant to get Tavern license....most likely...over 700 patrons signed petition and the owners are approved     pages 41-76 in the packet...mostly petitions
  • TENTATIVE AGREEMENTS with Bargaining Groups RETROACTIVE TO APRIL 1, 2013 WITH ONLY CHANGE BEING WAGES:  2 % increase effective April 1, 2013 and 2 % increase effective April 1, 2014   for:  DPW Association, Bl. Twp. Supervisors Assoc., Bl. Twp. Water Dept. Assoc., Police Command Union, Police Patrol Union, Bl. Twp. Fire Dept. Union.  My comment here is this:  The talk has been all about a pay freeze for years... but there has been no mention about the continuing "step raises", promotions, overtime pay, uniform credits, continuing education reimbursements, "free" financial advisors for pension accounts, some getting vehicle perks/gas/etc, department "credit cards" and the December annual "opt out" by the Board of Trustees of a state law (Public Act 152:  Publicly Funded Health Insurance Contribution Act) to require a certain employee contribution for health care, thanks to Dave Payne, et al, and for six years of the contract it is legal to "opt out" costing the taxpayer $$......over the past years while the "freeze" was on.  That six year contract from 2011 does have 2013 and 2015 wage openers.  So...2013 = 2%  and 2014 = 2 %. I wonder what 2015/2016 will bring?  The 2010 February millage for 10 years was to keep the status quo.  All this money that seems to be available NOW....should be going into the under funded pensions, etc.  NOT into salaries at this time. Township employees are well compensated.  My opinion.
  • Also on this 4/8/13 Agenda is a Resolution to Ratify Amendment to Bl. Twp. Defined Benefit Pension Plan  AKA  Twp. of Bl. Retirement Income Plan    originally 8/1/61 and amended and restated 1/1/08  and amended 1/1/13.  see page 87-89 of Board Packet for more details
  • Also on this 4/8/13 agenda is a Resolution to ratify Amendment and Restatement of the Charter Township of Bloomfield 401 (a) Defined Contribution Pension Plan and Trust   AKA Charter Township of Bloomfield 401(a) Plan and Trust  4/1/05  and amended and restated effective 1/1/12    REALLY?   2012??  A year later the Board is approving this????  Is this a misprint...the date is the same throughout the info.?   WAS this done NOW.....and the township is making it effective all the way back to 2012?  WHY?  Is that legal?  too many pages for me to read...p.90-182 
  • Miscellaneous Resolutions - Oakland County...  p.183-185
  • March Police Report..  p. 186-193
  • RCOC Road Report...1st Quarter 2013   note:  Greg Jamian, former Bl. Twp. Trustee was named RCOC Chairman and other news such as $30.1 Million dollars in road projects in Oakland County (none in the Township)  .. p. 194-197   But we do have repaving at homeowner costs....
Archived video will be on the township website a day or so AFTER the meeting.

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          My 2011, 2012 and 2013 blogs are archived in the right side column. Over 100 blogs ...

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