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Thursday, February 3, 2011

More Fun with Mathe-Magic

Some of you lucky Troy residents might have received the latest TCU mailer.

[Wait...was it TCU...or was it their other group, Friends of the Library with No New Taxes...or was it their other group...Troy United for Fiscal Responsibility...or was it...I don't know. It gets so confusing. I think that's part of the plan...if they keep saying the same things under different names, they'll give us the impression that they are multiplying exponentially. THANKFULLY, that's not the case. And the shoddy print job, poorly edited text and grammatically laughable message give them away every time anyway...]

Let's try again: in the latest flyer authored by who-knows-who in that above mentioned merry band of mischief makers, they proclaim that BEHOLD, funding actually exists for the Troy Public Library in the 2011-2012 budget year. They "found" a windfall of $1.7M in the "unreserved/undesignated" fund balance and are ready to claim it for the library, along with some other fun little pockets of money.

Problem is...had they asked at City Hall like we did, they'd have found out that money has BEEN "reserved/designated" and spread out over the next two years to make up for shortfalls in revenue. In fact, right in the three-year budget document, it states that "the General Fund budget is balanced by utilizing Fund Balance as a revenue source ." The city states right there in black and white that it uses these fund balance surplus dollars to shore up areas that are in financial jeopardy. In other words, IT'S NOT THERE ANYMORE. The "rainy day fund" has been used rained.

So, without that $1.7M windfall, TCU -- ahem -- our merry band of mischief makers -- is left with some smaller pots of cash. For instance, they mention a $400K infusion from "pension savings." Why not just slide that toward the library, too, right?

All well and good...except that along with that $400K GAIN in one pocket, the city is losing approxmately $700K IN THE SAME FISCAL YEAR from revenue shortfalls. Oh, and the following year? Another projected $790K for 2012-2013.

[PLEASE NOTE: This information is available on the website, council meetings/agendas archives, meeting date Nov. 15, item N-02b . Please note that the information about projected LOSSES is discussed in that letter to council BEFORE the projected $400K gain is mentioned.]

Let's add that up...let's see...400 -700 - 790 = umm...well, wait, that's a negative number, isn't it?? That can't be funneled toward a library!

Well, I'm certainly not going to let that stop me in trying to defend their claim that there is funding for a library. Let's take the next few numbers: $200K from the current budget for maintenance exists, so let's use it and add it to the $100K from library fines and fees income. That gives us $300K. HOORAY! That will ALMOST cover the cost of the now-decreased annual purchase of books and various subscriptions that the library updates.

So, I guess they're right! We have $300K to buy books/subscriptions we can house in...uhhh...wait. There's no building because we don't have the money to maintain it anymore because we used the only possible money we could find for books. And there aren't any employees to manage the circulation of those books because the money for overhead has already been reserved/designated for other areas of the budget more vital to the city like public safety, human welfare, etc.

What am I saying here, then??? Could it POSSIBLY be that once again, our merry band of mischief makers spent another several hundred dollars or more attempting to dupe the electorate?? And why, given that their information is so easily dispelled?

What possible gain comes from continuing to mislead, disinform and confuse the voters?

I'll tell you what there is for them to gain: as long as any one of us has the SLIGHTEST doubt that the city has been anything but forthright, then that doubt can take over. They can push forward a candidate who shares their flawed logic, gain seats on the council in November, and continue to hold our city hostage. From the time of the charter amendment in 2008 that prevents our council from slightly increasing revenue to meet shortages to the outright disingenuous campaigns in 2010 to block both a much-needed millage increase and the formation of an independent library, this group has done great damage to our city, our city's reputation, and to every resident's very livelihood.

If there were money in the budget to have a library, we'd have one. It's about so much more than the library now. The fight in Troy is against the virulent message that somehow, paying for stellar city services and vital "luxuries" like police, fire and snowplowing is wrong...that taxes are evil.

Don't be fooled by more mathe-magic. Don't be fooled by subterfuge meant to daze and confuse you. With vigilance and a little research, honest and sincere Troy residents can find the truth about where the evil in this city really resides.


  1. Holy cow, Sue! Amazing!
    I have one little picky point for those merry marauders, though. They claim in their letter that there's $200k available from building maintenance? But the figure is more like $175,000.
    But what's $25,000, more or less, when you're making up whoppers like these.
    WooHoo! Can I have a pony, TCU?

  2. This is so well articulated ... and can we all remember what Troy Citizens United really is about and for? Their outrageous behavior clearly demonstrates they are the local voice of a national movement that is "dedicated to restoring government to citizen control." Sounds all well and good until it comes to your hometown, gets mixed up with an acidic cup of Tea Party and takes the whole idea to an extreme.

    This view is so far "right," it yanks the pendulum that should be our democratic process right off its pivot point. That is to say, it seeks to not only swing the pendulum from the "left," but also to yank it from its pivot point so equilibrium CAN NEVER be gained. It's about restoring government to citizen control, but only if you think exactly like they do.

    And they will lie, distort and behave like toddlers having a temper tantrum to make sure no amount of honesty or truth can put that pendulum back in place. Our citizens are not in control, our city council can not properly represent us and the risk of our city infrastructure being decimated has gone from -- to use national security alert nomenclature -- yellow ("elevated" just before last February's millage vote), to orange ("high" just before the November Library millage), to full-on red ("severe" as the "keep the library with no new taxes" mantra continues).

    Red. I see red. But our local media aren't covering it. Most residents don't have time to see the dynamic as they busy themselves with ballet lessons, work, grocery shopping, the Super Bowl, church, PTO meetings, classroom parties, etc. Because, and rightly so, they expect our city council to represent them and sort through the difficult decisions. They shouldn't have to pay close attention, and they're right. Except, because the TCU changed the city charter and rendered our city council helpless in the current revenue shortage situation, our residents need to drop everything RIGHT NOW and see the RED ALERT. And spend time getting wise to see the truth.

    Sigh. What about equilibrium? What about Troy's "pivot point?" It stands empty because at last check the TCU had taken Troy's pendulum and tossed it on to I-75 at the Rochester curve where trucks, cars and SUVs have driven over it. It is broken into pieces. It needs to repaired and hung back up before equilibrium can ever be restored.

    Until then I see full-on, red.

  3. I wonder how they dare call themselves the Tea Party. The original Tea Party stood up to taxation without representation. We all have representation, we can all vote, we can all be part of the process. What this movement about is out and out sedition. To advocate the dismantling of our communities piece by piece is anti-American. The rhetoric is hateful and depressing. I want OUR country (and our city) back from the hands of these zealots.

  4. Sedition. That's it. Well said, Anonymous.

  5. You can only have $100,000 in fines if you have enough of a library to have 1.6M items checked out in a year.