I am extremely concerned with the actions the Bloomfield Township government has been taking in many areas of government. Here are concerns from the December upcoming Monday Board of Trustees meeting on Dec. 9, 2013, @ 7 PM
First of all... the Study Session minutes from Dec. 4 are NOT being approved at this meeting but easily COULD be approved... so why not?
Other Major Areas of Concern on THIS AGENDA:
This property had a plan approved at the Board level months ago... but the Supervisor suggested at that meeting to the developer.... to come back again with a different plan if they want.... basically suggesting to the developer that the board might grant them a more favorable plan to the developers.
Well, looks like the developer did just that. A zoning change...a new final site plan... a special land use request... lot split.... THINGS that the adjacent neighborhood spent much time discussing previously.
It seems that someone...can convince certain neighbors... to accept certain things...such as trees on their property/ wall fixes/ etc. to get them to go with changes in zoning and uses, etc., in exchange for those "favors".... perhaps not realizing that THEIR problem may be solved... but not problems that affect others in the adjacent subdivision. Too bad.
The building department (employees) and the Design Review Board (elected Supervisor, Clerk, Treasurer) can and have OK-ed plans to move forward in the chain of meetings (that by law must take place before the plan can be built) with plans that definitely do not meet all the township rules and regulations.
The Design Review Board and building department have scheduled those plans with VARIANCE requests on a ZBA agenda before the plans get to the Planning Commission for a Public Hearing and before a Public Hearing at the Board level. Once the ZBA approves the variances... those variances can NOT be reversed without a lawsuit. SO.... now the property has approved variances....so the planning commission, the public, and the entire 7 member board of trustees CANNOT change that part of the plan.
In my opinion: The township employees/and elected officials must know what they are doing.... and it is taking the PUBLIC out of the discussion and decisions on site plans for commercial lots...and at times, even residential lots. It seems the township has had enough discussions to know what that developer really wants on that parcel of property and the developer may get what they consider their ideal use of that site ...residents be damned .... if they are persistent and willing to play the township "games" as I consider them.
So.... no matter how many residents show up for this agenda item: Public Hearing.... I'll bet the decision is already made... the township will go through the motions to make it look legal.... but the end result will be.... a change in zoning...a lot split.. variances granted.... Project: Approved. That will put retail/restaurants/etc in the SW corner of Square Lake and Telegraph.... and I can almost guarantee... that there will be a fast food restaurant there.... and the hours could be 24/7....all adjacent to a residential neighborhood that for DECADES have been protected by O-1 Zoning... office only. Be prepared for multiple accidents at that corner on the roads, cooking odors and lights in a parking lot .. perhaps 24/7. Once the zoning changes... too late.
These two AGENDA items show that the taxpaying PUBLIC has very little chance to participate in the different Boards and committees... BECAUSE .... EACH YEAR.....the Board of Trustees reappoints the same people. Some have been on the boards FOREVER....it seems. So here was a chance for a NEW face on a township board.... so WHO is Supervisor Savoie going to appoint? Answer: Someone that is on other boards in the Township. How do I know? There are no official minutes posted yet... and NO ARCHIVED audio/video tape. Click here. for an article by Lisa Brody.
At this same 8 AM public study session, the Clerk brought up a proposal for:
"PROPOSED PROGRAM FOR STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES ON TOWNSHIP BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS"
In a note to many I communicate with through my personal email, I received feedback from at least 30 of them... saying this idea did not sound good...especially if a vote was involved. Again, with no audio/video archived tape of this meeting, and the written minutes not available.... what was proposed and said? Did any of the 7 people acknowledge the email I sent to them BEFORE the meeting to express my opinion of this proposal? Don't know?
I do send my "notes" to the printed and digital media people. They get a heads-up about Township meetings, etc. from me, if not from some other way. Lisa Brody of Downtown Publications, promptly put an article on their digital format. Did she receive a copy of a Township pre-printed press release on the meeting? Did she make a phone call and get her information? Did she attend the 8AM meeting? I don't know. But here is the link to this second article about the Dec. 4, 2013 Study Session ...this article is as it related to the STUDENTS on the boards and commissions.
FYI: but note: no new adult people appear to be acceptable....to the current board and Supervisor. I do know that the township received 10 applications... no names given...but Supervisor Savoie told me earlier..he would make that public information. So????
This item is now in it's THIRD year of exempting the township out of a STATE LAW.
"AN ACT to limit a public employer’s expenditures for employee medical benefit plans; ....."
Limit the EMPLOYER's EXPENDITURES ! We,.... the taxpayers... are the employer.
Why "expempt" ? THE Trustees are NOT REQUIRED by law to exempt...they just MAY.
The Township approved in 2011 ... in the middle of an existing union contract(s).... a new SIX YEAR CONTRACT.... just before the law was enacted. (Public Act 152). I have yet to hear exactly "how much" exempting "saves" the Township money.... or IF IT DOES ... So my question remains: why are the elected 7 leadership "exempting" out of complying with the law?
Click here to read a blog about this issue written last year.
If memory serves me correctly, that 2011 contract for all employees... while sounding like the employees were making MAJOR sacrifices.... since that 2011 contract, the employees were actually getting step raises for years worked, promotional pay raises, overtime, a 2% pay raise, and ??? more???? More employees hired..... etc. However.... most of the DETAILS of employee pay/contract/benefits/vehicles/educational benefits/ uniform benefits/ and "free" advising from the township stock brokers to help them manage their own new accounts are where?Where are those details? Did you know that the township pays 10-14 % of base pay into those "new" defined contribution pension accounts. Who is Contributing the most? Are we saving money? If yes, how much? And I ask again, WHY is the Township exempting the township from this Public Act 152? Answer: Because they can. Where is your voice in many of these issues?
I never did get the Retirement Income Plan to boot up on my computer from the BOARD PACKET that gives you the DETAILS that were shown to be on page 105 of the PDF....going to 205 pages. Didn't show up... I must be too impatient. BUT... what is "restatement"? The SAME words as in the plan as last year? Any changes? If so, WHAT?
Rumor.... the township will try to take advantage of Governor Synder's plan for AA or higher rated municipalities to get more Bonds for the Retirement Health Pension. Are the words in this "restatement" to "clean up" the program to qualify for the bonding? How many millions for THIS rumored bond for the underfunded retirement health fund?
When would the township make this decision?
- Before or after the Budget for 2014/2015?
- Before or after the township leadership tells you that THREE millages expired in 2013..... Safety Paths/ Senior Services/ One of many Public Services.
- How can there be a proposed balanced Budget for next year.... if three of the millages have expired and NO news from the leadership as to how the loss of those revenues affect the budget.
- Or... are they...the 7 leaders.... just assuming.... since few pay attention... they can get 1000 yes votes out of 33,000 or so Township voters.... to show up in an off month election to get those millages re-approved without anyone noticing that they have expired?
Please go to the "Obligations" tab in the Dashboard of Bloomfield Township: note: I had to log in to this account....it is easy to make your own account on the Dashboard..if the below link does not work for you
Remember this.... the Dashboard is what the Township REPORTS....
NOT AN AGENDA ITEM TO BE DISCUSSED: page 206 in the Board Packet...
Another one of those "committees" that are never quite PUBLIC..... have you heard of the club? township committee? non-profit? ....? whatever it is..... "FRIENDS of Bloomfield Township CERT" ?? I have heard of CERT... vaguely... The minutes of this organization just APPROVED their minutes of 2012....read them in the Board Packet....tells you mostly nothing except who attended. Wait one year to approve minutes? Then hold a Current Meeting.... and tell you NOTHING for another year? Unbelievable.