The Budget Hearing [Updated]

I managed to get both ABC12, and WEYI25 to the budget hearing-click on the links to see their stories.  Here were the highlights-the meeting started with open discussion of the budget:

  • The commissioners took a beating for not cutting their pensions and healthcare during this trying financial time.  They made no comment.
  • When asked about their failure to be transparent throughout this process, they stated that they were extremely transparent, and that they would be happy to share any of this data.  I pointed out that I had requested our budget data around 10 days ago and copied the entire commission on the message and have yet to receive a response.  They had no response.
  • During discussion they stated that it was irresponsible to take money from the fund balance.  On this point, I am somewhat willing to agree.
  • The claimed that too much bad data is going around and that we should all attend the meetings so we know “the truth”.  I stated that their meetings are during the work day so that doesn’t work well for most of us.  I was basically told that they are too busy attending other local meetings at night.
  • During discussion they were extremely concerned with taking too much out the the Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund because the balance must stay positive at all times.  I corrected them and told them that many other counties do not have positive balances at all times in these accounts and are doing just fine.  I also pointed out that this fund averages $765,000 per year in profit and has a present balance of about $8 million dollars.  They had no response.
  • I asked them about this:



GF Balance

Notice the total fund balance in Shiawassee county Citizens Guide, a report that is sent to the state by our County each year-It’s 4.8 million dollars.  The second is one that the county uses for budgeting purposes-it’s 1.4 million dollars.  So where exactly did that 3.4 million dollars go?  Are there multiple fund balance accounts that we don’t know about?  The commissioners answer-no. 

Overall it appears that Schneider and Holzhausen may be on our side.  Call these guys and tell them to keep fighting for us.  This from an earlier argus-press article:

One county commissioner’s request for a vote of no confidence against Chairman Jeff Bartz and Finance and Administration Committee Chairman John Plowman was turned down with little discussion during Wednesday’s committee of the whole meeting.

“This is something that has been brought to my attention many times by people in the public, and they’re not happy with the board of commissioners,” Commissioner Les Schneider said Wednesday. “I move that because of a recent offense within the board of commissioners, I ask for a vote of no confidence for the board of commissioners and finance chairs. The reasons are their direct involvement with the situations involving the county administrator and the county budgets.”

The motion was supported by Commissioner Gary Holzhausen, but received no discussion from others.

Holzhausen and Schneider were the only two votes in favor of the motion.​

Most importantly, I announced the Preliminary Financial Review petition in front of the commission.  They had no response.  I’m going to make some very small changes to the wording on the petition.  If you’re interested in circulating it, click here.
UPDATE: After I left the meeting apparently a FOIA request was read aloud in front of the public and the commission.  This is not normal procedure as FOIA requests are normally between the county and the person who requested the date.  This request was different though-It was submitted by commissioner Les Schneider who was trying to get detailed budget information on how the veterans budget was being spent.  Members of our own commission can’t even get budget information.  We need to stop this insanity!

4 thoughts on “The Budget Hearing [Updated]

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  4. Pingback: Opinion-Just Vote No | Shiawassee County Needs A Road Patrol

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