A Township Resident is calling for a FORENSIC AUDIT of our Water and Sewer Funds.
TONIGHT... @ THE BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP BOARD OF TRUSTEES MEETING... DECISIONS WILL BE MADE THAT WILL AFFECT YOUR WATER/SEWER BILLS AND OTHER FINANCIAL ISSUES.
HERE are some of the AGENDA items being discussed tonight (Dec. 14, 2015)
Be there or watch on CABLE @ 7 pm Comcast ch.15/ or AT&T (don't know that channel) tonight. (Will be archived on the website a few days AFTER the meeting) @ http://www.bloomfieldtwp.org/Services/cable/Videos/BoardOfTrusteeMeetings.asp
Below is my interpretation of FACTS found in the Board Packet and other sources and my OPINION of some of these agenda items.
I TRIED TO READ all 445 pages of the BOARD PACKET.... http://bloomfieldtwpmi.minutesondemand.com/
- At tonight's meeting... more about the $2.76 million dollars of your water and sewer money collected through the bills.... being TRANSFERRED to a Retiree HealthCare Trust Fund VEBA..... I see issues with that transfer....MORE on that later in this blog.
- Do you live in Bloomfield Village/Westchester Village? On the agenda is discussing Phase 3 and Phase 4 of Water/Sewer/Road replacements. Seemingly hidden in the board packet it is mentioned that the previous contractor is offering same pricing to do new work.... thus... perhaps doing a NO BID contract until 2017. This new water/sewer work will be in the Bloomfield Village and Westchester Village Area. While not mentioned in the AGENDA as a vote for a contractor... I believe a VOTE will be taken about that NO BID award for the extension for the new work through 2017.
- In the 445 pages of the Board Packet I learned that this previous work in Bloomfield Village was a JOINT VENTURE.... does that mean a second company would also gets a NO BID contract??? I also saw that it is considered a CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT. Out of what Budget? Is this a SAD ... special assessment district? What roads will be destroyed by the replacement pipes? I guess Cranbrook Rd. was replaced? How was that paid? Apparently there are 1000 homes in Bloomfield Village. We are talking about BIG BUCKS for this project. Phase 1 and 2 are finished. AT WHAT COST? OUT OF WHAT BUDGET? Phase 3/and 4 look like a $6 MILLION dollar estimate. Again, how is it being paid for? Out of your water and sewer bills??? Will the project go out for BIDS??? Or... a NO BID award tonight??
- Do you live around Woodward Avenue? A Resolution is being proposed tonight to endorse the Woodward Ave. COMPLETE STREETS Master Plan. Do you know what it entails? Re-configuring the road for bikes and pedestrians and mass transit and who knows what? A presentation will be made. Then a Vote?? How will that be paid for? When?
- Do you live south of BIG BEAVER... between Woodward and Adams Rd? Well, there is a proposed LOT SPLIT... and an 8 home new development on the AGENDA. Will it affect you? Who will be paying for the infrastructure of water/sewer/fire hydrants/ roads/ etc. ?? Looks like the Township DEPARTMENTS and HIRED CONSULTANTS have already been busy with this project since summer. WHO IS.. or HAS ALREADY PAID FOR THE CONSULTANTS to review a project that does NOT even has a LOT SPLIT approval? Is this another PRE-DETERMINED project... even before the neighbors know the details?
- Do you live in Devon Hills Estates subdivision?? Lifetime Fitness is asking to VACATE AN EASEMENT... on its property. Have ALL the 33 properties within 300 ' been notified? THIS issue is asking for a portion of the EASEMENT to be relinquished. To vacate they need 2/3 of property owners signature and the townships. Well, 5 companies/people own 22 of those lots. The needed signatures have been obtained... and tonight they need the township signature. I don't know if any of the others in this subdivision may NEED the easement in the FUTURE??? But they show KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.... have they been notified???? Don't know. WHY is vacating the EASEMENT important. What is planned for the land? Something is going on.... what?
- The $2.76 MILLION dollars... that the 5 Township people voted for on Nov. 23, 2015 (Devine, Buckley/ voted NO) has already been transferred from W & S Funds to the Retiree HealthCare Trust Fund VEBA. That happened Nov. 30. Devine HAD to accept the money into the Trust...as he is the responsible trustee for the account.
- The township included in the Board Packet the DEPOSIT details of that money... but not the WITHDRAWAL details. I want to know EXACTLY which WATER AND SEWER FUND this RESTRICTED money was deducted to put into a Retiree Health Care Trust VEBA... is the Township hiding the withdrawal information? Where is the money PREVIOUSLY deposited in the Trust? It is about $2.6 million also. Money from the General Fund for ALL employees. So, should not some of that money from the General Fund to the newly created W & S sub-category. WHAT about ABUSE of the funds? Who works for W & S? WHAT employees are in that category now? Who are the retirees from W & S? Why hasn't Supervisor Savoie or the Finance Director Theis... put line item budget numbers in the 2016-2017 Budget for paying into this fund...for .... FIRE, POLICE, LIBRARY and "other" TOWNSHIP employees... including the Supervisor's budget? Why just W & S employees?
- Included in the Board Packet... but NOT being discussed... but part of the $2.76 Million dollar transfer is the Actuarial Valuation of the Fund for 2015.... by a company out of CT... called Milliman. THIS company's report was based on July 1, 2015. DATE of data needed was JULY 1, 2015..... but Milliman held off finishing the report until the TOWNSHIP could figure out HOW to get the money out of the W&S Funds... and into the Retiree Health Care Trust Fund VEBA. SAVOIE wanted to just do the electronic transfer... but Devine is the Trustee of that Fund... and he didn't think he could ACCEPT those funds...possible problems: ( Headlee Amendment) (Restricted W&S Funds) etc. and thus began the maneuvering by Savoie/ and Finance Director Theis/Milliman/ and 2015 Audit company, UHY.... to get this transfer done. Nov. 23, 2015 Board meeting with the votes of Roncelli, Kepes, Barnett, Khederian... got the money approved to be moved.
- Devine asked for an opinion from Clark Hill, PLC They sent him a letter dated Nov. 23, 2015. This is the last paragraph from page 4 of that letter:
- Since Nov. 23, 2015, LEARNING of the vote on Nov. 23, 2015.... Milliman finished the Actuarial Valuation of the Trust....dated July 1, 2015. WELL..Milliman needed to accommodate the new money... Milliman had to ADD another category of employees in this FUND that did not EXIST in 2007, 2009, 2011 or 2013. Milliman had to create something that did NOT exist on July 1, 2015 and that was the 5th category of employees... aka ... water and sewer employees. Who at the Township told Milliman how many employees are in the Water and Sewer dept.? retired already and current? What is that number... what are their names? Will anyone know when they retire in 15 years??? This is ... WRONG. THE WORDING OF THE TRUST SHOULD NOT BE CHANGED. THERE SHOULD NOT BE A SUB-CATEGORY FOR TOWNSHIP EMPLOYEES IN THIS WAY.
- At the Nov. 23, 2015 meeting.... Finance Director Theis, and Supervisor Savoie claimed that money was BUDGETED from the W &S department for this OPEB Fund SINCE 2009. Where was this money deposited? What account held those "special" funds? Treasurer Devine did not agree with the premise that money was budgeted and collected in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, or 2013 for this OPEB purpose. Neither do I. It was NOT printed as such in those budgets for the public or others to see. There is NO line item for OPEB for years: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013.... AS CLAIMED by Savoie and Theis....in the W & S Budget... and IF it was... why wasn't Milliman TOLD of this sub category of employees to be INCLUDED for the 2009 or 2011 or 2013 REPORT? Answer... is it because it didn't exist....and no money was budgeted then as a sub-category.
- This sub-category is BS.... it was CREATED... to make the bottom line of the DEBT of the Township seem smaller.... $300 MILLION PLUS in debt looks bad anyway you look at it. Taking our water and sewer money, changing the language of the TRUST FUND...... is WRONG. Are you wondering how I got to $300,000,000 of DEBT? This $157 Million plus from the retiree health care debt PLUS the reported Township debt of: principal ONLY DEBT reported by township of $140,000,000 in the 2015 budget.... added together.
- TAXPAYERS... time to audit this township and remove the ELECTED and HIRED people responsible for failing to deal with this amount of debt. ELECTIONS are Nov. 2016.
- FYI: The SUPERVISOR... formerly David Payne and currently Leo Savoie..... SET THE BUDGET for the years 2005 through 2017. They apparently IGNORED this debt. What were our TRUSTEES doing? Who is WATCHING and what is going on? Billing the taxpayers in their water and sewers bills..... to pay for promises made to the employees in past, current and future contracts for benefits... is NOT a water and sewer expense. It it is a GENERAL FUND expense to be paid with millage TAX dollars.
- A DEMAND TO HAVE A FIDUCIARY AUDIT has been suggested. Hooray for the township resident who wrote the letter to the Editor of the Birmingham Eccentric newspaper. Read David C. Thomas opinion letter at: