Saturday, June 21, 2014

Almost $98 MILLION cash...but Township Threatens CUTS if millages fail

Hi All,
Here is the information I received from Bloomfield Township in regard to a FOIA request.
See the data chart at the end of this blog.
I think it is important for the taxpayers to know that the Township has almost $98 MILLION dollars deposited in various FUNDS at the end of the 2013-2014 fiscal year.

The Township leadership may argue that the 2013 taxes were just collected in September and December (basically) and that is why the FUND balances may seem high.  They will claim that they use this money in the FUNDS to pay the bills due in April through September... until the next tax year bills are collected in Sept./Dec.  Fair enough...BUT.... when the taxes are collected again and all bills are paid by the Treasurer.... the FUND balance remains about the same at the end of the next fiscal year. That means that the FUND balance is really money that is SAVED.    $98 MILLION CASH.


So why does the Township leadership tell you in the winter months that there is no money for plowing or salting or no money to fix potholes when there is $2.3 MILLION in savings to be spent on roads and a $4 MILLION annual budget just for roads?  Why does the leadership complain about all the overtime hours for the road crew and others, when it is the leadership that recommended and enjoys (since 2008 to save on energy costs) the four day work week?  The township needs to go back to a five day work week and save much more by eliminating a lot of overtime hours.

Why does the Township leadership tell you they will CLOSE a fire station and cut police and fire personnel when there is $12 MILLION in savings  and one of the millages they have on the 8/5/14 ballot does not even expire until 2016.  Why does Township leadership purchase ladder trucks with $650,000 in "mystery" money.... as the purchase was not in the budget?  Where and when and from whom does the leadership purchase vehicles as perks for themselves and other employees?  How many police cars does the township own?  These items are never presented or voted upon at an open meeting.  At the height of the recession in 2010, the township asked for an addition 1.3 mills for 10 years in a stealth February election to "maintain the status quo"... and then gave ALL employees a 2% raise.... with another wage opener coming in 2015.

Why does the Township leadership threaten reducing hours at the Senior Center when there is three years of millage money in the savings account?  Is it because if they SCARE THE SENIORS WITH THEIR SAFETY OR THEIR ENJOYMENT HOURS.... the leadership believes that they can get the seniors to vote for anything?  Come on seniors.... we are SMARTER....

The Township leadership approved a $13,000 expenditure for a survey for this upcoming millage. This is JUST ONE... of the things told to the 300 people that agreed to participate that was NEVER discussed by the township leadership at any public meeting... and I do NOT BELIEVE any of what is told to these people in this paragraph to be true. This is SPIN  to get people to vote yes....... it is legal to lie, you know....    Remember, I heard with my own ears, Supervisor Savoie tell the assembled group at a study session, if all the millages fail.... there is enough money to make the approved 2014-2015 budget work.....  so why this message????  SCARE TACTIC !!!  Remember... one of these public safety millages doesn't even expire until will be collected regardless in 2014 and 2015. 

David Payne, the former Supervisor, (with a rumored six figure retirement) signed a contract with the employees WAY before the existing contract them a new six year deal.  It just so happened to be BEFORE a state law (PA 152) went into effect requiring employees to pay more for their own health care.... which OUR township leadership has (since 2011) "opted out" complying with that law (legally because of the six year contract). 

Our Township leadership may have changed the pension plan for new hires... but giving the employees 14% for some and 10 % for others of their base pay into the new plan....seems excessive.  This is not matching funds.  My next FOIA should be showing the township taxpayers how much group and one on one  financial advising the employees receive on our dollar so their retirement funds grow, while many of us need to dip into our retirement funds just to pay our taxes.   I think it is time for an update on that $85 MILLION dollar bond for underfunded pensions.  I think you all should know that the Schwartz Co. made almost $500,000 just in commissions on the township portfolio they set up with that bond money.  More bonds are being sold now (July 2014) for the many road repaving projects.  The latest round of bond sales is for over $5 MILLION dollars.  Who will be receiving payments and how much for those transactions?  The subdivisions getting the road repaving...are NOT told... the details of the extra $100,000 + tacked on to the bill by the Township leadership.  Why not?

Why is there $5 MILLION + in the CABLE FUND?  Is this the money that produces the TOWNSHIP SPIN shows? The Supervisor's wife, Mrs. Sally Savoie,  is currently hosting some programs on the millage issues.  Why isn't this money being spent to VIDEO ALL PUBLIC MEETINGS?
Answer, the township leadership really doesn't want you to see and hear the proceedings of those meeting.  Don't believe me?  All of you... send emails or telephone calls to request that all PUBLIC meetings be audio/video recorded and archived on the website.  See what happens.

There is a problem in this township.  It is not open and transparent.  Salaries/ Pensions/ contract language/ credit card expenditures by department leadership/ vouchers and payroll details and much much more should be readily seen on the township website. This is OUR tax money and we need to know where and how it is spent... or not.   We have high taxes compared to other township communities.  Our cost per resident is $1834  which is $992 MORE than the regional average for townships.  We are the only township in the state of Michigan that has it's own road department...and  that department budget is $4 MILLION annually. 

The only way I can figure out how to get the Township leadership to listen to the CITIZENS.... is for them to send the leadership a message on August 5, 2014   by voting NO, NO, NO, NO  on the township ballot questions.  It will not be the end of the world.  Voting NO,NO,NO,NO should not mean any cuts in personnel or services or closed fire stations.   THERE IS MONEY IN THE BANK.  By voting NO on all the ballot issues that should make the leadership take a hard look at what really needs to be done.... and if millages are truly needed, present them in a responsible way at a NOVEMBER election ONLY.

FYI:   ALL seven of the township leadership have their term expiring with the November 2016 election. Is there anyone out there interested in government jobs?  First step... know the rules to get on the primary ballot in August 2016.... get started way before May 1, 2016....


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