Wednesday, April 12, 2017

4-12-17 Bl. Twp. Board Agenda ISSUES and MY COMMENTS

Hi All,
WEDNESDAY,  April 12, 2017  @ 7 PM..... this is the re-scheduled regular Monday Board of Trustees meeting  from 4/10/17 due to a religious holiday.

Please note agenda items #1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8  as items of interest for this blog.

 Public Comment policy was changed on Nov. 28, 2016.  All comments are limited to 3 minutes and the only opportunity to speak at  Board of Trustees meetings is during Public Comment agenda #1 unless an agenda item is listed as a Public Hearing.  (see item #4 on this agenda)    The meeting does begin promptly at 7 PM.   These meetings are audio/video/archived and streamed live on your computer and shown live on Cable TV. 
Go to:  
You will need to choose the next step from this web page link.

 Chief Gaudard is retiring soon and his recommendation for the next Police Chief is:
Captain Scott McCanham.   There are other promotions in the Police dept. being presented.

 Since this is listed as a Public Hearing,  audience members are permitted a 3 minute comment.

This agenda item is proposing or suggesting a NO BID CONTRACT for the Safety Paths ... over one million in value.   My recommendation is:  Prepare a RFP for the 2017 Safety Path Routes and get competitive bids.

Some agenda items seem to follow a familiar scenario/ pattern at Bloomfield Township for many projects/services whereby the VENDOR  contacts the township via a letter (from 11-28-16 minutes):  and offers to perform the next phase or year's work at  previous year old prices with no competitive bidding.   The VENDOR often is a contributor to the political campaigns of some of the elected officials.   Friends, family and favors system.

The Safety Path Route BIDDING in 2015
  • had 4 contractors submitting bids.  
  • There were 7 different safety path projects labeled A-G.  
  • Italia Construction was awarded ALL the projects A-G,  but Italia was not the lowest bidder on all the projects.  
  • In fact, the asterisk in the tabulation chart showed that Italia Construction had to have 6 out of 7 of their submitted bids be corrected by the Engineer (HRC ?)   Why?  
  • Audia Concrete Construction, Inc.  had no Engineer corrections to their bids,  and in fact was the low bidder on 3 of the 7 projects.  However, Audia was just over $100,000 higher in the total bid.

 In the  May 11, 2015 BOARD PACKET for the Board of Trustees meeting, it showed the actual bid tabulations for the top three of the four bid packages submitted.   This is what the public and the trustees should see for all projects put out for bid.  An exact copy of the details and an exact contract number bid.
See pages 30-47 of the pdf  board packet  5/11/15  for all the bid details from 2015. 
What bothers me is:
  • that HRC (Hubbel, Roth & Clark) or the Township EESD department took the time to figure out the unit price costs from 2015 for Italia Construction to perform the 2016 and now the 2017 safety path cost figures.   Italia Construction should figure out those numbers themselves.
  •  those figures, facts and data should have been presented in a  RFP for 2016 and should be for  2017 safety path projects.  There should not be any "extension" of an old contract.  Each project should be competitively bid.
  •  HRC  and/ or the township EESD personal suggest the prices will be higher and over the annual budget if this 2017 project goes to competitive bids.  Bid the jobs!
  • FYI:  Audia Concrete Construction had lower bid prices than Italia on 3 of the 7  2015 projects.   Audia and others should have been given the chance to bid in 2016.  
  • a "not to exceed price" means no one took the time and effort to do a complete and accurate BID for a construction job.   The township money belongs to the taxpayers.  Get a firm bid and stick to it or make changes to the contract if warranted during construction with signatures.
  • the process of NO BID contract awarding  is not fair to the competition 
  • awarding a "not to exceed" price hides the actual work and materials and unit prices detailed for the job that should be found in a prepared RFP.   
  • The Trustees should receive an actual review of the BIDS  prepared from actual plans for each route and the materials needed.  A final bid should be presented and opened publicly.  The Trustees can award all or part of a job or not any part. 
  • Put the 2017 Safety Path Route projects out for BIDS.  It is the RIGHT THING TO DO.
  • Do not extend an ol contract to Italia Construction. 
  • Award a FIXED contract number, not a "not to exceed" figure. 
  By the way, in the 2015 Bid prices for the line item :  Maintaining Traffic
  • there was NO unit price for "maintaining traffic" , just a fixed final number for each of the 7 projects.  
  • So, what price is on this line item for the 3 main projects and repairs project for 2017?   What is in the proposed Italia 2017 contract?   There is a huge difference in what contractor enter on that line item.  See below.
  The figures in 2015 for the line item Maintaining Traffic on the  7 projects were:
  • A:   Italia  @ $18,000  vs  Audia @  6,000
  • B:   Italia  @   15,000   vs Audia  @ 3,500
  • C:                    20,000                        6,300
  • D:                    18,000                        4,000
  • E:                    22,000                        7,000
  • F:                    30,000                        4,635
  • G:                     3,000                        7,000
 The Trustees and public never saw any 2016 figures... just that the "same" unit prices were going to be used.  Were there any special circumstances in 2016 projects that had no unit prices from 2015?  If so, how was the cost determined and by whom?  Who knows?

From the Board Packet/ Board of Trustees  4-12-17   


 This is an interesting item.  THERE IS NOTHING IN THE BOARD PACKET concerning this agenda item.  How in the heck is one supposed to comment at the beginning of the meeting when you have no idea of the topic?

So, here is my take and guess:
  • The current employees' new three year contract was approved earlier in 2017. 
  • At the March 13  BUDGET approval meeting during public comment a retired detective spoke about retiree health care changes and the budget numbers  being approved this night(3-13-17).  
  • The retiree health plan apparently CHANGED for some of the retirees still under Medicare age.  
  • Supervisor Savoie didn't seem pleased that this issue went public.  However,  a letter to the retirees apparently didn't sit well with some retirees and a meeting with the retirees  didn't really occur as a planned event until March 20, 2017.  This meeting was scheduled after the budget approval and only days before the new health policy was set to go into effect 4/1/17. 
  • Apparently that March 20 meeting was held.  I have not seen a report but read that it would be video taped. 
  • Then, at the March 27 Board of Trustees meeting,  some more police and firemen retirees spoke during the  Public Comment agenda #1.

That motion was made and a 45 minute detour from the printed agenda began.
  • The audio/video/archived tape of that March 27, 2017 Board of Trustees meeting  does NOT MENTION  that the agenda was modified with a motion  or mentions that there is this 45 min. discussion on retiree health care plan change issue.   
  • However,  from about 34:56 minutes to 1:16:41  on the time line of the archived meeting,  the township Board of Trustees gave their thoughts and opinions  and Supervisor Savoie suggested that the Union bring back something to the Board to review concerning this issue.    
SO,   is  going to "closed session  at the 4-12-17 Board of Trustees meeting"  going to be:  discussing the unexpected retired employees health care plan change?    With nothing in the Board Packet, who knows?  

I will ASSUME that the Board will come back into session. The Trustees may or may not make a motion and take action on whatever they discuss in closed session.   Perhaps if a change in health insurance policy is made,  that may even create a need to motion to change the BUDGET figures under retirees health care for 2017-2018.  Will the Trustees be prepared to make that motion tonight, if needed? 


There is no data to review in this 4-12-17 Board of Trustee board packet.   Nothing. 

Also, the township, for the first time, did NOT include ANY information about the Water and Sewer Department in the 2017-2018 Budget that was approved on March 13, 2017.  At the start of the new fiscal year (4-1-17), there is no approved budget for W & S.  

However, there are township employees in W&S department with a recently approved 3 year new contract with 2% raises for each of the three years.  Yet, those township employees have recently been classified as being part of an Enterprise Fund and are paid by the fees generated and collected by the Water and Sewer Department  vs  being paid by your property taxes levied.  To me, that is a violation of the Headlee Amendment.  Our township attorney, Bill Hampton's opinion, said it was not a violation of Headlee.

There is also an  estimated $11M  lawsuit filed against Bloomfield Township concerning the Water and Sewer Dept.  The Trustees went into closed session at the 3-27-17 meeting and one topic reportedly discussed the W&S lawsuit. 

Perhaps this "DISCUSSION" agenda item at this 4-12-17 meeting may touch on the lawsuit and/or the water and sewer rates.  Without the township providing information in the BOARD PACKET,  I will assume even the Trustees don't know what Mr. Trice and Mr. Domine will reveal in their "discussion".  Facts?  Documents?  Transparency?  It would be nice to something to review before the meeting.

In previous year Budget approvals,  the township did include the W & S department and set "estimate" water and sewer rates to be effective and collected at the start of the fiscal year: April 1.   However,  the water and sewer services don't actually have rate changes until July 1.  Yet, the township changes the rates beginning at the April 1 billing cycle.  There are other costs to this department that may change the final billing beginning with  April 1 of each fiscal year, too.

The township has claimed that the township would "save money"  by joining SOCWA.    Check out the Board of Trustee minutes from 4-11-11.   A must read.  However, one problem,  at last look  SOCWA members did not vote Bl. Twp.  in as a "member".   So our township buys water  as a "customer" at a higher rate  vs  the discounted price that  a SOCWA "member" is charged.   There have been many taxpayers that say their water bills have skyrocketed. 

What will the RATES be this year?   Need to know soon!

At the  November 23, 2015 Board of Trustees with a 5-2 vote,  the Board moved "restricted cash" from the W&S Fund into the Retiree Healthcare Trust VEBA ....... AND..... had Milliman include those FUNDS as an Asset in their 7-1-15  OPEB Actuarial Report to the township.   (noted with an *).    The amount:  just over $2.76 million. 

 FYI:   This TRUST FUND committee on Retiree Healthcare is meeting at 7:30 AM, April 13, 2017.
Action?  No Agenda.  
Perhaps being discussed:   Milliman Actuarial Valuation report of July 1, 2016.   Or,   Cable Studio deposits: $1,300,000 and Building Inspection deposits $1,800,000  into the irrevocable Trust?    This is currently $160,000,000 plus underfunded.

Always found in the Board Packet for each Board of Trustees meeting:  this one: 4/12/17
Try to take some time to review each line item entry.  I think it would be nice to hear from each Trustee and have them verify publicly that they reviewed the list and perhaps share with the public some of the more substantial or different line items before the vote.  My opinion.