[Updated] Opinion-Just Vote No

[Update-The county was required to either seek a renewal on our current operating millage (approved in 1996 for 20 years), or create a committee to determine our new operating millage.  This is required by law under MCL 211.]

A couple of interesting things have happened in Shiawassee County:

  1. Hartmann Aue was re-elected to chair the county commission.  In my opinion this is a good thing, however this time he was elected by the bad guys who voted to eliminate our road patrol.
  2. Hartmann appointed John Plowman, the same man who designed the budget that eliminated our road patrol, to once again chair the finance committee!  Plowman has a history of stating things as fact which end up being either false, or severely exaggerated.  (Some people might call that a lie, and Plowman a liar.)   You can see some of his previous handy work herehere, here, and here.
  3. The commission hastily created a committee whose only job was to determine how much they should try to raise our taxes this year.  Why?  Because that way the commission didn’t raise your taxes, these (scapegoats) folks did.  Do I think this committee was given access to the detailed records that they needed to make their recommendations-No.  Do I think they were provided the “whole truth” about how our county spends our tax dollars-No.  Do I think they were rushed to make this decision so it could make it on the ballot-Absolutely!  Did someone like me step up and tell them that the CATLC would need “unobstructed visibility into the counties finances” to make an informed decision-Yup.  (on 11/23).
  4. The commission decided that they need to raise our phone bills by around $1.40 per phone per month to pay for 911 equipment upgrades.  Where did this number come from?  Nobody knows.  What if it doesn’t pass?  Again…nobody knows.  Who monitors the spending of the 911 budget?  From my past research I can tell you that basically nobody does.  As long as there’s money, they’ll spend it and unless it’s on fitness gear nobody is going to stop them.

There is an easy way to deal with the level of misinformation that we’re receiving from the county.  Just Vote NO!

VoteNo

Vote No on the 911 Millage!

Vote No on the Operating Millage!

Vote No to the folks on this list and send them packing!  

Run for office and make our county a better place!

As long as Plowman is running the finance committee the answer is, and will always be No.

Plowman tries to use “facts” again

9In this weeks independent John Plowman tried to use “facts” to explain why he would like to raise your phone bill by more than $14.64/phone/year.  (Seriously-he really want’s to do this!)    Here is the article:BOCArticleLet’s look at a few of Mr. Plowman’s “facts”:

John Plowman further explained the need for the increase, which would raise the county’s 9-1-1 surcharge from $1.22 per month per phone line to $2.65 per month per telephone line.  He said the combination of diminished use of land lines, the counties decreasing population, and increased operating and and equipment expenses have forced this move.

Let’s take these “facts” one at a time:

This is caused by diminished land line use.  FALSE!  This has NOTHING to do with diminished use as it applies to ALL phones including all of your cell phones.  According to the CTIA, the Cellular Trade Industry Association:

  • 90% of American homes have cell phones.
  • 39% are wireless only.
  • 16% are wireless mostly.
  • As of 2011 there are more cell phones than people in this country.

Ask yourself.  Do you have more phones, or less than you did 20 years ago?  This definitely isn’t caused by less phones. Trying to blame landlines is a lame excuse.

This is caused by the counties decreasing population.  Mostly FALSE!  According to US Census Bureau the County’s population decreased by 2.4% between 2010 and 2014.  By this logic our bills should be increasing by around 2.4 percent, right?  WRONG!  Plowman wants to increase it by Two Hundred and Seventeen Percent!!!

Increased operating and and equipment expenses have forced this move.  TRUE!  They totally just want to spend more of our money.

Everything that Mr. Plowman says may sound like a fact, but just remember the old adage:

Know how to tell politicians are lying?

Their lips are moving.

Until transparency is provided regarding:

  • How current money is being spent
  • How future money is going to be spent
  • Who is going to monitor and audit this spending
  • How the heck they can justify raising the your phone bill by more then $14 per phone

Just VOTE NO!

 

An Anonymous Letter Arrived Today

I received an anonymous letter in the mail today.  No return address, sent from a post office several counties away…

[Update 5/14 @ 8:43 – I received an email from the author of this letter asking me to take it down.  I told her that I would be happy to do so, and thanked her for her efforts to hold our elected officials accountable.]

A Great Infographic

Hartmann Aue, the new chairman of the board for Shiawassee County posted this on both his facebook and twitter site:

image1

Brought to you by board chair Harmann Aue.

This week the Board of Commissioners will once again take up the issue of eliminating pensions and healthcare for themselves.  Last time this came up, the following commissioners choose greed instead of common sense, voting against it:

  • John Plowman
  • Jeff Bartz
  • John Horvath

These three honestly seem to think that they deserve our money more than we deserve police protection.

In addition former commissioner Bob McLaren came to their defense stating that this would only save about $100/month.  He was either WAY off, or lying.  You be the judge.  Let’s make sure that former commissioner McLaren remains a former commissioner for a long, long time!  The free ride is over!

I think my letter to the editor that appeared in the Argus-Press sums it up best:

Last week, commissioners Plowman, Bartz, and Horvath voted
against eliminating their own pensions and healthcare benefits.
Currently these commissioners receive pensions, healthcare,
dental, vision, mileage, and a monthly salary for their part time
jobs.  I find it disturbing that the same three commissioners
who voted to eliminate our road patrol because they “couldn’t
afford it” feel entitled to pensions and benefits.  The
commissioners health, dental, and vision benefits are budgeted
to cost the taxpayers of this county $40,583 this year.  Mr.
Plowman feels that he deserves these benefits because “this job
is every day” and that we should consider him more of an
“elected official” than “part-time”.   I would respond to Mr.
Plowman by saying that many citizens in this county work every
day for part time pay and no benefits whatsoever.  He deserves
nothing from the people of this county, and should only be in
office because he wants to make Shiawassee County a better
place.  Mr. Plowman: As as citizen/taxpayer of Shiawassee
County, do you know what I feel entitled to?  PUBLIC SAFETY!
Unfortunately you’ve chosen to prioritize your pension and
healthcare over that fundamental government obligation.  That
is inexcusable, and has made it obvious to the voters of this
county that commissioner Plowman, Horvath, and Bartz are not
here for the right reasons.  If you would like benefits, please do
the taxpayers of this county a favor and get a real job.

Email Me Anytime

Email Me Anytime

The Naughty List [Updated]

NaughtyList

As I start this article I want you to know that we now have 4 very good commissioners who are fighting everyday to try to fix the issues within our county and get cops back on the road.  Unfortunately, they seem to face constant obstruction from a few other commissioners and elected officials.  Everything that you are about to read has been posted at some point or another on this site.  I’ve just compiled it in one place for the first time!

I’ve been fighting hard to save our road patrol for more than 4 months now, and have been slowly forming opinions about each individual commissioner.  Whenever possible I’ve tried to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that they prove me right.  Instead the three folks below have, in my opinion, done everything that they can to obstruct our efforts to get cops back on the road.  This week, the three of them voted to keep their pensions, even though we can’t afford to put cops on the road.  Let’s meet them, shall we…

John Plowman

Plowman

Represents: Perry and Woodhull Townships and Perry City

Phone Number: 517-625-4545

Accomplishments:

Jeff Bartz

Bartz

Represents: Bennington, Owosso Pct. III, Sciota Townships, City of Laingsburg and City of Owosso Pct. 6-1

Phone Number: 517-625-5554

Accomplishments:

John Horvath

Horvath

To be honest John almost didn’t make this list-Until he voted to keep his pension.

Represents: City of Owosso

Phone: 989-627-1962

Accomplishments:

As you can see, if you’d like to run for county commission, I’ve just written your “why you should vote for me instead of him” speech.  Now I ask all of you to spread the word, tell your friends what their commissioners are doing.  Encourage anyone that you know in these areas to run for county commission!  We have a year and a half to do this, so let’s start now!

If you are a commissioner that’s made the Naughty List-it’s not to late to change!  Give up your pension, open up the budget and get cops on the road.  If you do that, I’ll be happy to remove you from the naughty list.  Remember-even the Grinch can grow a heart!

Grinch

If your commissioner isn’t on this list, please know that they are doing a good job representing you and trying to fix the dysfunction that has overtaken this county.  To everyone reading this: I need your help-ignoring the issues going on in the county will only lead to more cuts to services and higher taxes for you!  To quote Dr. Seuss one more time:

dr-seuss-someone-like-you-cares-a-whole-awful-lot-nothing-get-better1

Email Me Anytime

Email Me Anytime

Click the follow button in the bottom right to get an email whenever I post something new!

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.

Sheriff’s Plan Violates Law

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

I keep talking about MCL 51.76 for a darn good reason-the Sheriffs plan to eliminate our Road Patrol violates it.  He was informed of this on November 15th, but proceed with layoffs anyway.  Here’s what the law says about the Sheriff’s plan:

2) Each sheriff’s department shall provide the following services within the county in which it is established and shall be the law enforcement agency primarily responsible for providing the following services on county primary roads and county local roads within that county, except for those portions of the county primary roads and county local roads within the boundaries of a city or village; and on those portions of any other highway or road within the boundaries of a county park within that county:

(a) Patrolling and monitoring traffic violations.

(b) Enforcing the criminal laws of this state, violations of which are observed by or brought to the attention of the sheriff’s department while providing the patrolling and monitoring required by this subsection.

(c) Investigating accidents involving motor vehicles.

(d) Providing emergency assistance to persons on or near a highway or road patrolled and monitored as required by this subsection.

That seems pretty clear cut to me.  Why is the Sheriff ignoring it?  Update 11/24: Per the sheriff, he is ignoring this because there is there is some argument over what “adequate funding” means.  I am working with Representative Ben Glardon’s office to get some clarification on this.

Why isn’t our County Commission providing funding for mandatory services?

Perhaps we are financially insolvent?

Commission’s Plan Puts Children at Risk

FreeCandy

As the parent of two beautiful children I can’t begin to express how much the Shiawassee County Sheriffs plan to eliminate our road patrol concerns me.

Under the Sheriffs plan the only cars patrolling our county will be one or two state police units-if we’re lucky.  Within 1 mile of my house there are several registered sex offenders and a few paroled violent criminals.

Our Sheriff and County Commissioners are rolling out the red carpet for criminals and child predators.