Friday, December 17, 2010

Might Bob Gosselin have had a hand in this?

from Sharon
Jeepers, why are all these construction associations going after Troy less than 6 months after we privatized our building department? Hmm, isn't Bob Gosselin a builder and belongs to all these groups? Hmm, doesn't this article use all the TCU talking points? Talking about making the cops rich? Gouging? Calling fees "hidden taxes"?
So what, Troy privatized to save money and now they want to take away every penny we saved? 
This is terrible for Troy and it's B.S. And if the associations win, I guess Troy is one step closer to the brink.
From today's Oakland Press.
Keys to remember when reading this - 1) the fees did NOT go up and the association folks never say they did go up, 2) the associations seem to think if the city saves 20% by privatizing, that 20% is "profit" even if it continues to be a fair, low fee. What? They think they get it back as a discount? 3) Obviously they are seeing the same thing in other places, so why does the headline read Troy is "gouging"? 4) Why sue Troy? 5) Why doesn't Bob Gosselin move to some other place and destroy their city....please?

Builders sue Troy; allege fee gouging

Thursday, December 16, 2010
By ANN ZANIEWSKI

Of The Oakland Press
Three building industry associations have sued the city of Troy, alleging the city is charging excessive fees for building permits and using that money improperly — allegations that the city’s attorney has adamantly denied.
The Michigan Association of Home Builders, Associated Builders and Contractors of Michigan and the Michigan Plumbing and Mechanical Contractors Association want a judge to intervene in what one building official said could be a precedent-setting case.
“We’re not going to let a program to protect public safety be turned into a checking account for local governments,” said Lee Schwartz, executive vice president of government relations for the Michigan Association of Home Builders.
The associations say in a lawsuit filed in Oakland County Circuit Court that Troy privatized its building department effective July 1, using a company called Safe Built of Michigan, Inc.
Safe Built conducts inspections and performs other functions that used to be handled by the city’s building department.
Under the contract, the city pays Safe Built 80 percent of the fees collected for building department services, and the city keeps 20 percent. If the fees exceed $1 million during a fiscal year, the city gets 25 percent.
According to the lawsuit, the city puts the surplus money into its general fund, rather than using it for building department purposes as required by the state’s Construction Code Act.
-snip-
But Troy Attorney Lori Grigg Bluhm said the city is in compliance with the law.
“We did our homework ahead of time,” she said. “We’re certainly aware of the requirements of the state Construction Code, and we certainly believe we are absolutely in compliance with the requirements of that act.”
Bluhm said it’s inaccurate to refer to the 20 percent figure as a profit. She said the money is used to cover other city building department-related expenses that come out of the general fund, including record keeping and administrative functions.
“We have building code officials who are city of Troy employees,” she said. “We certainly have to pay for them out of the general fund.”
Bluhm said Troy did not increase its fees when Safe Built began handling building department services. She also said the city’s fees are low compared with other communities’.
“It’s disappointing that the home builders would chose to target us when we probably have one of the lowest fees structures in the entire state,” she said.
Schwartz said in the first three months of Troy’s contract with Safe Built, $140,000 went into the city’s general fund.
“We’re suing because this is starting to spread across the state already,” he said. “When you have local units of government in financial difficulties, and you give them a free source of income, they’re going to try to create it.”
Schwartz said in Genoa Township, where Livingston County had provided building services, officials earlier this month approved creating a new township building department using Safe Built.
He said the city of Pontiac recently put out requests seeking bids from companies to provide building department operations that said: “Develop fee structure that guarantees a revenue stream to the city based on a percentage of gross income.”
Schwartz said the builders don’t have a problem with privatization “as long as it’s done within the structure of the law.”
In the lawsuit, the builders are asking a judge to declare that Troy is violating the Construction Code Act. They want an injunction prohibiting the city from charging building department fees that are not reasonable and using funds derived from building department functions for any purpose except providing building department services and a construction board of appeals.
The plaintiffs are asking for an injunction prohibiting the city from violating the Headlee Amendment and requiring the city to reduce its building department fees.
read more here

1 comment:

  1. google pulte vs or Biltmore home builders vs...almost in every state there is a lawsuit.and those concrens run through the Boys and girls club.Stine and company,,path builders of Oakland County and Troy.
    the new people took over TROY Dazes.now comes the Church of Zion.TROY family day/s..
    "ex=mayors playground plus plenty of DDAs money "if" needed."

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