Wednesday, October 30, 2013

OUR TAX MONEY...Who decides financial decisions?

Hi All,
To Be Discussed:
Investment Strategy Recommendations of Schwartz and Company regarding the proceeds of the Pension Obligation Bonds Sale as well as the annual Fiduciary Review.

Any early birds???   8 AM...  Monday, Nov. 11, 2013.    Can you make this SPECIAL STUDY SESSION MEETING?  It is a PUBLIC MEETING.

I'm sure IF MANY people attend...the administration will hopefully move the meeting to the township hall meeting room.... otherwise...  the study session will be held in the conference room..... where the trustees, etc.  sit at a conference table.... and YOU sit on a chair along the wall.

Since it is a public meeting... you should be able to make a comment/ask a question.
A LOT of money from the Pension Obligation Bond sale...  (question:  WHEN is the $85 million bond sale?  or DID  the  bond sale already happen?.... )  HOW  is  this $$$ going to be invested? 
Please, someone other than the 7 trustees needs to be there...taking notes. I hope the PRESS will attend... listen/ask questions and write their own article... not accepting any preprinted press release.

 In fact, I think this should be discussed as an agenda item at a regularly scheduled meeting.    I wish many of you would call or email  (see the township 7 email addresses  in this email  heading)   and request that this meeting be audio/video recorded.
Trust me.... everyone should have MORE than the written minutes for the information given at study session special meetings.   It is OUR taxpayer money... and OUR debt of 85 million in bond sales.....along with the OTHER 150 million in bond debt already on the books.  

Question:  Should we hear from OTHER  financial groups on their recommendations for investments?  Are there CHOICES  of who to invest with/ how much/ in what way/  etc?   Should WE know and hear and see the complete  fiduciary review? 

Question:  Do you think your assessed value of your home is high? The township NEEDS money to pay for all the borrowed funds and all the employee contract promises....not only payroll/health benefits/pensions, but also including vehicle perks and tuition reimbursements among other things.  When you go to sell your house... you MAY be surprised at the offer price.  Want to know more about  how much $$$$ in ASSESSMENTS in the township for your house or others?  go to this link:    and click on the many choices in the left hand column for information.     ONE of the links shows what your assessed value was for every year since 2000.  What is YOUR assessed value today compared to 2008?   Do you think you can sell your house for that much today?   ONE of the links will tell you for how much and when the property LAST sold... Play around with the assessing link.

FYI:  Coming up AFTER this meeting... sometime in Nov./Dec.   will be the preliminary budget proposal for 2014-2015.   What will that say? 
Also NOT mentioned so far by the trustees... 3 millages that expire in 2013....  last payment for those should be the December 2013  winter bill.   Are more millage requests in our future?  WHEN? 

REMINDER:    Monday,  November 11 @ 8 AM.... morning !!!    Try to attend this SPECIAL STUDY SESSION meeting.  

Charter Township of Bloomfield
Board of Trustees
Notice of Special Study Session
Monday, November 11, 2013
8:00 AM
To Be Held In The Township Conference Room (Upper Level) At 4200 Telegraph Road
(248) 433-7700

To Be Discussed:
Investment Strategy Recommendations of Schwartz and Company regarding the proceeds of the Pension Obligation Bonds Sale as well as the annual Fiduciary Review

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

S.A.D. # 407 Road Repaving Issue Divides Neighborhood & Township Process Part of Problem

Hi All,

What continues is  MY version of  a REVIEW....or history/opinion of this particular  S.A.D. #407......  not all of what follows was brought up at the 10-14-13 Board of Trustees meeting.  I will be happy to correct any errors... let me know.

The PETITION began in 2011 with the RCOC (Road Commission of Oakland County) following the procedures for road repaving in Oakland County.  It seems that many in Hickory Heights subdivision wishing to have the roads repaved spent many hours/weeks/months/years  relaying to neighbors about the project being proposed and how the RCOC process works for a S.A.D.  for repaving. 

An ISSUE arose by Nov./Dec. of 2012.  Reports seem to differ... but some say the RCOC petition was over/dead on arrival  because there were not enough signatures to proceed with RCOC.   However, the petition gatherers decided to use those SAME  petitions gathered from the RCOC process and take advantage of a newly created Bloomfield Township S.A.D. repaving process in 2013.... using those same petitions that were gathered since 2011-2012.  That is one issue....using signatures collected with one petition language...only to be submitted to a different entity with different conditions attached... reportedly... with not all signators knowing that was happening.  

The PETITIONS  were signed in 2011-2012  based on what was told to them about the RCOC process.   Many asked:  were those people that signed petitions in 2011-2012  aware that the petition they signed were now being used in another taxing authority... using a different but similar process? Were those signatures from people still living at that address?  Did the legal owners change since signing?   Did the petition signers from 2011-2012 know that the conditions changed and one of those changes would end up costing them more/or possibly less money?  The main difference of the two  S.A.D. processes for road repaving is how to assess each property and what percentage is need on the petition.  The county assesses road by road, the township requiring the entire subdivision. The county assessing is by linear footage for each lot, thus some paying more for large or corner lots, others on a cul-de-sac much less... the township process adds everything together and divides by the number of lots in the S.A.D.

The TOWNSHIP, via a letter from Leo Savoie in late 2012 to ONLY those people in the 378 homes that DID NOT sign the 2011-2012  petition for road repaving, were encouraged to call the petitioners and add their name so the road repaving process could proceed.  Is it right for our Township Supervisor to interfere in the petition process?  Should our Township Supervisor instead have advised the petition gatherers that a new petition specifically addressing the Township S.A.D. process with Township language been circulated and then turned in?  Our Township attorney sat at tonight's meeting.... and didn't address the legality of a two year old petition with language for another taxing authority being used for a township process.  Why did he not address this issue?

By July 1, 2013 or there about, the petitioners felt they finally had the required signatures/ percentages to proceed with the Township S.A.D. road repaving process (still using the signatures on petitions from the failed RCOC attempt).   This Township process was now an option that was not available in 2011-2012.  The Township Assessors office...according to what I heard at this meeting, spent much time doing verification of signatures, etc. as required.   From what I heard, it appears that when properties had a question about the signatures,  the petition gatherers were able to revisit those properties..... and get signatures from the missing legal owners/  or the new owners/ or the signatures from homes held in Trust.,  etc.  and other reasons.

I don't know how many times and for how long after the fact  that names can be added and/or subtracted from petitions that have been turned in for certification.   Is it the responsibility of the Assessor to certify the petitions as received?? ...... or  is it permissible to return certain pages with errors to allow the petitioner gatherers to continue to seek more names/properties and more/correct or needed signatures.... so that it can finally be certified?   What was the state of the petitions on July 8 at the Board of Trustees meeting?  Did the petition certification change before or after the Aug. 12, 2013 Public Hearing?  I think those questions and answers are important.  Did the Board of Trustees make certain decisions based on faulty data?

On July 8, 2013  Board of Trustee meeting  posted an agenda item concerning a possible  future   S.A.D.  Now, the agenda item said: 

That agenda item was not listed as a Public Hearing, therefore, I am assuming that no advance notice was put in the newspapers,  no letters were required to be sent to the 378 homes in the petitioned area.   I feel confident in saying that probably that those deeply involved in collecting signatures knew this issue would be on the  7/8/13 agenda.  The question is:  How many of the other 378 homeowners knew that this road repaving issue was on the agenda?

Now I have personally complained for years that the Board of Trustees meeting agenda and board packet  should be posted on the Township website well BEFORE the Monday night meeting. The township posts usually later in the day on Thursdays.   WHY?  The township is closed on Friday....Sat.... Sun...  and that leaves only Monday to gather whatever facts/information needed to participate fully in the agenda item .... for your 3 minutes of comment.  That is often not enough time.

The Board Packet for July 8, 2013  actually has the Township prepared to do something different than what is suggested in the agenda posting.  The petitions were not approved or I assume rejected....instead, the township used another legal method to get to the road repaving project started.

What the Township did was motioned for a BOARD RESOLUTION.

The Township, I believe, knew it was going to this RESOLUTION instead of accepting the  petitions.   A letter dated 7/1/13 with a recommendation as to what to do and the prepared RESOLUTION were printed and entered into the Board Packet PRIOR to the meeting.  This is the recommendation posted in the Board Packet for  7/8/13 ..... even though the agenda was supposed to be considering approval of the petitions.  Because of this resolution ..... no petitions were needed.

The QUESTION becomes, who knew about this July 8 meeting and decision.... who.... had the chance to read the agenda/ board packet/ and eventually the minutes from the July 8 meeting.... who spent time to view either on the computer or on TV the archived audio/video of this meeting?   This July 8 meeting was NOT a public hearing requiring notification.   Who knew the township was not going to accept/reject the petitions, but go for a resolution?

Is the RESOLUTION  .... which I doubt was read aloud at the meeting on JULY 8...( I need to review the audio/video archived meeting)  actually  "on the record" on the audio/ video archived meeting?
Did the 378 homeowners know of this provision in the resolution?  Those AGAINST this road repaving project had a way to protest/ stop the process. 

  IF YES, that this resolution was read aloud at the meeting, then the township did have this language  available within days for anyone to view on their computer or on Cable 15 TV.     IF YES, this resolution and the information on how to object....should/could  have been read by the people/ homeowners of the 378 lots.

How many township residents read or watch the meeting minutes/videos? Not many. Was the resolution language even on the archived audio/video?
The township knows that most people in the township don't pay attention to township business.  So, how much effort/information did the Township leadership provide to the 378 homeowners to be well informed of their rights?  I believe the township WANTS this project to succeed.  Therefore, why would they want to let the ones trying to stop this project know of a legal way to stop it?

QUESTION:  Did the 378...all....have the KNOWLEDGE that there was an opportunity to PROTEST and STOP the project?  
Did the 378 homeowners know that ...  more than 20% of total frontage of this subdivision  could file written objection with the Board either at or before the hearing scheduled on Aug. 12, 2013?
Well,  according to the Township, they sent notices to the 378 homes of the upcoming Aug. 12, 2013  PUBLIC HEARING..... and if one read all the way through the notice....and I'm not sure that THIS notice is what was sent to the 378.... the last 2 paragraphs did say:

What the "letter" notifying of the Aug. 12, 2013 Public Hearing....didn't say ....was what is the LEGAL language from the Resolution... shown above in E:  MCL 41.723 (1)(b) and (3)

The letter did not also state the fact that the township leadership also put on the agenda for Aug. 12, 2013.... two more items related to S.A.D. #407.    See Agenda items #3 and  #4.

  I suggest... the Public Hearing ....  is just another case for the public to THINK their concerns are being heard....  but in reality .... this is just another case of predetermined outcomes at the township board table.  My opinion.


1. Dan Devine, Treasurer,  had asked the Assessor if the petitions had the required signatures and lineal footage at the time of the  AUG. 12, 2013 meeting?  The Assessor, who was at tonight's meeting, answered , yes.
Dan Devine told the audience that because the township approved this issue by RESOLUTION... the petitions were not needed, but as a "political comfort level".... he was happy to hear that 51 % of the subdivision were in favor of repaving.  Therefore, he was basically telling the audience that he would not be motioning nor voting to rescind the previous decisions as to S.A.D. #407.
As a lawyer, he did not address the issue of whether those petitions  he seemed so comfortable to hear were signed by only one half of the subdivision....were legal as most of the signatures were from 2011-2012 for a different taxing authority petition...  and he accepted the Assessor's answer that just said the signatures went with the properties... again.... not being concerned as to WHAT the petition actually had as legal language. 

2.  Corinne Khederian,   an appointed trustee, later to be voted as trustee..... all trustees being unopposed in the last election ... no Republicans or Democratic competition....  and she regularly votes the same as the group...
She expressed disappointment at the "accusations"  by some people in the audience.    Does she listen or understand issues?   Did she, as a trustee, ask to make sure all the legal  rights are explained to the 378 homeowners in a letter BEFORE the Aug. 12 Public Hearing?  Does she know all the differences between the RCOC and the Township S.A.D. processes/ guarantees/warranty/ Senior rights?  Does she know that the township has now changed the cost as 1% over the bond price vs the previous mentioned 4%?  Has the RCOC changed their cost for bonds at a fixed 6%?  Why won't the Trustees actually GIVE INFORMATION at public hearings that actually HELP the homeowners?  Why doesn't she or any of the others ASK an intelligent question?  ie:  Mr. Hampton, as our attorney, is it legal for a petition to be used for 2 different taxing authorities? 
The petition gatherers said they did nothing wrong....   they explained the petition carefully....  I believe them....only they presented the RCOC version of the S.A.D. process  during the years 2011-2012 when they collected signatures.  But these petitions didn't go to the RCOC.     Some in the audience pointed this fact out.   Township S.A.D. costs/etc/process is DIFFERENT.
Therefore...are those signatures on the 2011-2012 petitions VALID for the newly created Township process? I say    The opposition group to the road paving were basically asking for the petition process to be redone.  The Board basically said that wasn't needed.... because they used the third option for paving subdivisions..... they can just make it happen.... via a Resolution.   Sounds like government.... can't get the people to do it.... make the decision for them.  Will the next RESOLUTION come to YOUR SUBDIVISION?

It is the TOWNSHIP.....  that permits seemingly irregular...perhaps illegal.... activities to occur.... especially when the issue is something the township wants to happen.    My opinion.


PS:   I don't think agenda items 6/  Payroll and Vouchers   or item 7/ Public Comment even happened at the meeting.....  need to watch the 10-14-13 Board of Trustees video.