Sunday, February 20, 2011

Open Letter to City Council

From Sue...

Dear Esteemed Council and Madam Mayor:

Raise your voices now.

Over two years ago, Mr. Szerlag shared with the public his impression of the city’s financial peril. He stated it was a very real possibility that we would lose quality-of-life venues and amenities due to a lack of revenue. He began cutting salaries and positions, programs and services. I was one of many residents who scoffed at his “disingenuous threats” and ignored it for a while. Then I did my homework.

Time has shown Mr. Szerlag to be nothing but sincere and accurate in his findings.

Since that time, he has suggested to you options for sustainability. One of your options was to ask the electorate for an operating millage increase at the maximum level possible. Many residents supported you; we did the research to see that our city was becoming unsustainable. We recognized the cuts Mr. Szerlag has initiated, and we trusted that he would continue.

Some of you gave sound bites to the newspapers. Some of you remained silent. Still others worked against the council to defeat the millage proposal, either via e-mails to constituents stating you weren’t convinced it was necessary or you felt it was irresponsible. In my e-mails to you, I was told to “find the money” in the budget myself. I was told you cared, but you were “handcuffed” by the Charter Amendment. There was a feeling of resigned ambivalence.

There was no formal speaking schedule from council to come into our homes, schools, businesses or churches to share why this millage was needed, and why it was needed at the highest possible level allowed by law.

When that millage was defeated and the Three Year Budget- Option 1 adopted, Proposal 1 was put forth by the Citizens to Save Troy Public Library. Though I know from seeing a few of you at a meeting regarding this important CITIZEN initiative that you supported Proposal 1, there wasn’t a formal statement from any of you until Mr. Howrlak’s misleading and disingenuous letter of October 2010. In fact, a few of you spent more time telling me why you disagreed with each other than how you might fix this for the community.

Now Proposal 1, too, has been defeated, and the hue and cry from many corners still focuses on the loss of our very important community resource: the Troy Public Library. We’ve had to suffer through a frustrating waste of time and resources this past week with Mr. Howrylak’s poorly researched and unfounded resolution. It, too, has been shown to be useless. It’s been made clear that Mr. Howrylak is either ignorant of the financial processes of the city or intentionally and publicly working against them.

Therefore, you must act to save Troy Public Library the only way you can.

You must raise your voices together.

You have an option before you that allows you exercise your right as council members to levy up to one full mill to fund an independent library for one year. Doing so will buy you the time to CONTINUE with Option 1 budget enactments and cost-saving measures. It will buy you the time to show the electorate the true and dire situation in Troy. It will buy you the time to publicize ADEQUATELY AND ACCURATELY what is really happening to vital departments like Police, Parks, Streets and more.

I know you are aware of this option and have been for many months. I know full well that some of you are against doing this for any number of political reasons – some of which will adversely affect you PERSONALLY.

But it’s not about you. It’s not about POLITICS.

It’s about TROY. It’s about the COMMUNITY.

You must raise your voice and do this.

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