Detailed Budget Leaked!!!

Whatcha' Gonna' Do When They Come For You..

I received a wonderful gift in my email last night.  A Draft Copy of the Detailed Budget.  Don’t get too excited-This appears to be been last revised in November of 2014.  Judging by how the “work packet” is arranged, it appears that this was the meeting where the commission told the Sheriff that he was losing 23% of his budget.

Click Here to Download the Draft Copy of the Detailed Budget

The person who was kind enough to send me this info believes in Transparency.  Here’s a great mlive article on what that means: A Michigan township sets the standard for government transparency.  If you’re a member of the County Commission, you could learn a lot from this article!

In case you’re keeping track of the Lack of Transparency in our Shiawassee County Government, here’s what they still owe you:

  • The most recent copy of the Detailed Budget.  I’m hoping that my actions compel them to post the latest copy of this on their website immediately.  One paragraph from now things are going to get really compelling….
  • The amended copy of the 2014 budget.  How can you amend the budget without sharing it with the public?  Does anyone know if that’s even legal?
  • An explanation of why these cuts are truly necessary.  The commissioners should be out in the community explaining why these cuts are necessary, right?  Silence isn’t working very well for Bill Cosby, and it’s not going to work for the commission either.

Let’s hit some of the highlights of the detailed budget:

  • They ADDED EMPLOYEES to several departments.  That’s great news-unless somebody is robbing your house, because your safety is not as important as their pet projects.
  • They Decreased the amount that they take out of their fund balance (savings) by $270,000...There goes 1/4 million dollars!!!
  • The Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund is another money maker for the county.  Last year it made $1,223,631.  From this, the commission transferred $1,200,000 to help fund the county.  This year they decreased the amount that they take from that fund by $748,470.  There goes 3/4 million more!  This Fund currently has $8.5 million dollars and has averaged $765,000 per year over the last 10 years.
  • Knowing that without a road patrol, the court house would be much less busy; they slashed Attorney Fees, Court Fees, and Processes serving by a total of $309,000.  There goes more than 1/4 million.
  • They decided to create a “capital projects fund for infrastructure” in the amount of $504,926.  There goes a 1/2 million more.  Worse yet, check out page 28 to see what projects are More Important than the safety of your family.  Here are few examples:
    • A 1.3 million dollar air conditioner for the courthouse!
    • A $119,000 generator for the courthouse!
    • New Carpet, New Lighting, and $450,000 in roof and sheet metal repairs on the courthouse.
    • Refurbished elevators, generators, and much, more!
    • You’ll notice that some of these were listed as “low priority items” yet they seem to have been funded anyway.
  • If you’ve been keeping track we’ve made it to a 1.8 Million Dollar “Deficit” just in those few items.  In my mind this budget has clearly been manipulated to create a deficit!

“It’s a HUGE deficit. Huge!!”

Now is the time to act!  Call your county commissioner!  Demand transparency into the budgeting process!  Tell them that Public Safety, not Air Conditioning, should be their priority.  Tell everyone you know what is going on in Shiawassee County!  Send this website to your friends.  Hang flyers in public places.  Volunteer to circulate the EFM Petition if the commission continues down this path of destruction!

Together we can make the County Commission fix this!

Something About The Budget Smells Funny

quote-don-t-cut-off-your-nose-to-spite-your-face-proverbs-309392

As pointed out by Owosso Mayor Ben Fredrick, the proposed budget doesn’t quite smell right.  Check out this graph that shows how much our county spent each year, and how much of that spending was “deficit” spending.

Interesting

A few things to point out:

  • In 2010 we actually made about $200,000 which we deposited in our fund balance.  We’re going to spend it over the next few years.
  • From there on out our deficit held steady around $250,000/year until 2014.
  • In 2014 our county government blew their proposed budget by overspending on Health & Welfare and General Government to expand our deficit to $505,000, otherwise this number would have been right around $250,000 as well.

So here’s my question, based on the chart above Shiawassee County has a deficit of:

a. $250,000-$500,000   -or-   b. $2.163 million dollars

If you choose “b”, there might be a seat waiting for you on our county commission.  Now, a followup question.  Based on your first answer we should cut public safety by:

a. No more than $250,000.  -or-  b. $1.5 million dollars.

If you picked “b” you really should consider running for office.  You’re obviously smarter than the rest of us.

Time for the bonus question!   Based on the graph above and the proposed budget why is the county having to cut spending so much?

a.  Because the County Sheriffs Department Generates a Substantial amount of revenue for the county.  -or-

b.  Because it’s just the right thing to do.

If you answered “a”, you’re right again!  Notice a few huge decreases in the proposed budget:

  • 4% less state Revenue and Grants-I’m sure this probably includes the SRP grant I mentioned yesterday.
  • 11% less in Fines and Forfeitures.
  • 17% less in Charges for Services citing a reduction in court charges.  Makes sense-they’ll be a lot less people going to court.

The County Commissioners are so intent on punishing the voters of this county that they would “cut off their nose, to spite their face.”

I should note that all these numbers are available from the county website, so feel free to do this same exercise yourself.

Meanwhile, help out the cause by sharing this site with your friends.  Together we can fix this!

Also feel free to contact me at anytime if you’d like to share something privately.   I can be reached at:

Email Me Anytime

Email Me Anytime

Mayor Ben Frederick Exposes The Truth About the Budget

truth-has-no-agenda

Mayor Ben Frederick of Owosso is officially my hero.  In today’s Durand Independent Mayor Frederick wrote a scathing review of the County’s budget.  You can click here for the entire article, otherwise, here are the highlights:

If you’re watching the slow motion meltdown of the Shiawassee County government since the Nov. 4 election and believe it doesn’t have to be this way, you’re right.  Sound budgeting principles combined with a bit of political will over the next few weeks can save our road patrol while giving a new Board of Commissioners time to work on the reforms necessary to right the ship.

If you’re beginning to wonder if the whole targeted attack on public safety is just a game of political retribution, you’re right.

The mayor goes on to say that:

It is absurd that the deficit is being framed in terms of cuts from a “requested” budget.  A request budget represents a “wish list” prior to an actual budget proposal.  I may “want” $30 instead of $20 next year, but if I instead only get $15, I’m not being “cut” $15 – I’m being cut $5…

This false cut serves to mask real cuts being made to our road patrol…

Last year’s budget was adopted at $16.336 million, which is a reduction of $1.113 million, not the $2.163 million figure that is being thrown around.  With a $1.113 million reduction, it is hard to understand why there is a $1.5 million cut proposed to the Sheriff’s Office.  This reduction is more than the entire budget hole! …

Increases in revenue sharing should exceed $285,000 according to the Department of Treasury.  It is unclear how much of this increase is budgeted …

Property tax collection increases are estimated at over $100,000…

The approval of the veterans millage replaces the $157,000 in prior General Fund expenditure…

The county’s Delinquent Tax Revolving Fund has generated a 10 year average of $765,000 in revenue and its $8 million dollar fund balance has remained largely steady…

No, the fund has not been “exhausted.”  Transferring the 10 year average …would add $314,000 to the general Fund.

Yes-Mayor Fredrick estimates that instead of a $2.163 million dollar shortfall, the county is instead only facing a $399,500 shortfall.  This is a huge difference!  If this is true, the taxpayers of this county are being lied to.  If this is true, this is FRAUD.  Our Deputies are pawns in a game of politics and it needs to stop!

The mayor also points out that:

The board of commissioners is to be commended for their recent change to non-represented employee pensions.  The board has estimated that this will save $300,000 per year once fully implemented.  With $300,000 in projected savings, why lay off people now?

County Commission-If what Mayor Fredrick said is true, then why are you misrepresenting the budget?  Why are you using our officers as pawns in a political game?  These Sheriffs work hard everyday for the people of our county.  They have children to feed and buy Christmas presents for.  What have they done to you?

Sheriff Braidwood-You now have no choice.  You must sue the County to adequately fund your department.  You can no longer allow this fraud to be perpetuated.   Under Article VII, Section 6 of the Michigan constitution you can be held personally liable for not doing so!

I will leave you with one final quote from Mayor Fredrick’s editorial today:

the budget summary was released later than promised and left little time for a complete exhaustive review.  The budget detail remains unreleased.

Why would they be waiting to release the details of the budget until after they vote on it?  Because they don’t want us to know until it’s too late!  The people of Shiawassee county deserve better.  Let’s hope that our newly elected commissioners can give us the representative democracy that we deserve.