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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Sue's wonderful guest column in today's Oakland Press

Troy residents were misled on city library proposals

Tuesday, November 30, 2010
By Susan Simonte Martin
Troy Citizens United, Troy City Council Member Martin Howrylak and other like-minded foes of Proposal 1 — which would have funded the Troy Public Library independent of the city budget — would have you think they know what is best for you.

They fervently believe they are the guardians of our tax dollars. For them, Proposal 1 threatened every resident’s financial stability by demanding more of our hard-earned money be given to a greedy governmental entity.  In reality, Proposal 1 — a citizen initiative, NOT an edict from the so-called greedy Troy city government — would have cost the average Troy family roughly $10 per month. It would have allowed the library to be taken out of a strained city budget and to be put into the hands of the people. Heartbreakingly, it failed, due in no small part to political maneuvering. Any long-time resident of Troy can share my disbelief at that outcome. We have historically supported school bonds and millage increases. In return, we have been rewarded with stellar city services, award-winning schools, and a fabulous place in which to raise a family.

Unfortunately, groups like the TCU and its supporters seek to undermine that. They want the city government to fund everything we’ve always enjoyed in a severely reduced economy. They want their quality of life exactly as it’s been, no matter that there has been far less tax revenue to pay for it. Most of all, they want their “Cadillac” amenities without having to actually pay for them with minor tax increases.

They feel the city is misleading us when they show proof of a strained budget, and they claim the city is overpaying city employees and spending money foolishly.

The TCU and supporters want transparency at city hall. But I don’t think that word means what they think it means. For them, transparency means publicizing so-called wasteful budget items that no longer exist as proof of mismanagement of our tax dollars. For them, transparency means sharing the total COST of a city employee, but calling it total COMPENSATION to the employee. For them, transparency means taking the good name of the Friends of the Troy Public Library and using it to ask people to sign a petition that does nothing, funds nothing and gives us nothing like the library we have come to know, love and need.

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