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Friday, February 11, 2011

Residents opposing tax hikes may end up without a city hall

Here is a Daily Tribune OpEd piece from Feb. 10, 2011
They note clearly that Troy residents voting no on taxes are "starving" the city, just as we keep saying!
They also make fun of Troy--
Those residents, we suspect, might not care a whit if the city, with no city hall looking out on Big Beaver, were annexed to, say, Sterling Heights, or Rochester Hills, Birmingham, Royal Oak or Clawson. They've kept their city halls, so far.
WAKE UP PEOPLE! We're starving the city out of existence!




Opinion
Thursday, February 10, 2011
The city of Troy may reorganize itself right out of its city hall.

If a city has no city hall, does it have sufficient reason to exist?

In the past year, we've viewed with alarm as a city we regarded for years as well-financed and managed began facing major layoffs, police included, plus closure of its community center, library, nature center and museum without a tax increase.

Voters rejected the increase a year ago, and later rejected a proposal to retain the library with a dedicated tax. Another proposal is in litigation which would force the city to fund its library no matter what.

No matter what appears to be just around the corner.

A study conducted by the International City-County Management Association proposes the city reorganize, consolidate and cross-train employees, based on a five-year plan calling for eliminating 22 percent of its 2009 staffing level, some 130 jobs. That would cope with an expected $22 million shortfall between expenditures and revenues over the next three years.

But the report also indicated the five-year plan won't work for some departments. And others, it found, are near the limits of downsizing.

The report proposed a "cluster" reorganization, that all departments other than police, public works and fire report to one of two assistant city managers, one in charge of finance and administrative services, and other a director of economic and community development.

It proposed cross-training of employees among departments.

City Manager John Szerlag called the concept "a great idea." City Hall now houses just 40 employees.

"We'd have to do a space analysis and building reorganization. If City Council agrees, it could be done by July 1." The building could be leased or sold, Szerlag said, although it's not clear how that would affect the attached police and district court structures.

The ICMA process isn't done. Later this month, it will provide an analysis of the Police Department, which now uses about half of the city's budget. Current plans call for reducing it to 1978 levels, a time when the city's business, industrial and residential areas were growing rapidly.

Residents voted twice last year to starve the beast of government.

Those residents, we suspect, might not care a whit if the city, with no city hall looking out on Big Beaver, were annexed to, say, Sterling Heights, or Rochester Hills, Birmingham, Royal Oak or Clawson. They've kept their city halls, so far.

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