There was a recent documentary about WalMart titled The High Cost of Low Price in which the true cost to America of bargain stores is explored. Long story short, it profiles the struggles of American commerce, manufacturing, small towns and regular folks who have been adversely affected by those in pursuit of the lowest priced goods AT ANY COST.
When you stop to think about it, Troy is becoming a WalMart city. Now, I get it...many of us are struggling to pay our bills and need a bargain where we can find it. And if you don't mind buying cheap toys with lead in them, clothing made my children in sweat shops in Asia or food tainted with fecal matter from other third world countries...WalMart is your place. You could probably use the money you'll save to pay the doctor bills.
But do you want your city services run that way? Think about it...with drastically decreased revenue to the city from both lower property values and a loss of commerce, the city is struggling to find way to give us what we need.
Voters, unfortunately, told the city what we don't want: a library, a budget to sustain police/fire at full capacity, a public works department equipped for heavy snow falls, and more. And OH, YEAH...we don't want the city government to be able to levy minor operating millage increases to sustain services when absolutely necessary. Mr. Howrylak/TCU et al saw to that when they spearheaded the city charter amendment in 2008.
(And don't forget...Howrylak/TCU et al also told voters they could have the library for free if they just signed that silly little petition that was just thrown out as invalid.)
So, what will our new bargain city look like?
-- police could be outsourced to the Oakland County Sheriff's office. We'd still have to pay to contract that out, though. And then, of course, the COUNTY could increase our millage rate at any time without our consent via a vote. Uh...that means it might be a wash, or actually cost us more...
-- with the outsourcing of public safety, we'd likely lose the community service programs the police provide, and I've heard we could lose the investigative department -- you know, the ones who come when your home is broken into, when your car is vandalized in your own driveway, or when A SEXUAL PREDATOR FOLLOWS YOUR CHILD HOME FROM SCHOOL.
-- City Hall could be leased. Or worse...could stand empty like the KMart Headquarters property has been for years now. It would fall into disrepair, thus becoming less desirable for new tenants. What a JEWEL that would be, right there at the front door of our city, eh? Best yet...we'd still have to pay to at least minimally maintain it.
-- Businesses would have even FEWER reasons to set up shop here in Troy. If their safety concerns weren't being addressed as carefully with our own police force, and with a skeleton crew in city government, they'd have fewer resources at their disposal.
Now, before you minimize this detail, remember...Troy has approx. 81,000 residents...but WELL OVER 105,000 individuals make their way into our city on a daily basis for employment. That's WELL OVER 105,00 individuals who SHOP, EAT AND SPEND MONEY in our city. That number would continue to decrease, and thereby continue to chip away at our revenue sources.
-- With the library closed, one of two things could happen. 1) We MIGHT eventually be able to replace funding somehow someday, but would have to refurbish both the building and the collection. Oh...and hire new people. Unfortunately, because all the people WITH TALENT who were let go will have had to find new employment, we'll be left with the second string and have to hope for the best. We won't be able to PAY THEM WELL, of course, which would ensure a high rate of turnover as they, too, left for greener pastures. OR 2) We'll find ourselves without funding, have to sell the collection, and have YET ANOTHER empty behemoth to maintain.
-- We could fall into receivership and be subject to the whim of emergency financial managers if this legislation passes. In other words, our entire city structure could be dismantled, taken over and run by outside individuals with no vested interest in what makes Troy TROY.
Is this the city we want? Do we really want to continue to force further cutting into the muscle and bone of our city infrastructure? It's clear to me that the VERY HIGH COST of LOW REVENUE is beginning to erode all that I have had in Troy for well over 40 years.
It's clear to me that we cannot have more for less ANYMORE.
It's clear to me that lots of my fellow residents don't understand this. If you are reading this, I challenge you to share it with everyone you know who lives or works in Troy. We need our voices heard.
TroyMart -- not a place I want to live, shop or work. Do you???