Wednesday, July 20, 2011

True facts vs. TCU Fiction

Save Troy (www.savetroy.org) recently ran an ad in the Troy Times sharing the TRUTH of what has happened in our city to bring us to a place that we cannot afford to keep our library without a dedicated millage.

Troy Citizens United answered that ad with misinformation and inaccuracy. Please find below Save Troy’s statements, TCU’s rebuttal, and finally, THE TRUTH.

SAVE TROY SAYS: Troy "has the lowest millage rate in the state for a full-service city"

TCU SAYS: NOT TRUE. Many cities, such as Bloomfield Hills, have a lower millage rate. "Full-service city" is a meaningless term that is not defined. Bloomfield Hills consistently plowed AND salted its streets this winter when Troy often did not. (See City of Bloomfield Hills web site. See reports on Troy snow removal in winter editions of Troy Times and Oakland Press. Also based on repeated daily observations this winter in Troy and Bloomfield Hills.) Of course Troy has a lower millage rate, they have lots of value to apply it to, relatively low debt and the fire department is volunteer. We should have a low rate.

THE REALITY: Troy DOES have the lowest millage rate for a full-service city. Bloomfield Hills is not only the ONLY city TCU references with a lower rate, but BH doesn’t have A LIBRARY. That hardly makes it full service or a reasonable comparison. And if you read carefully, TCU contradicts their own statement…see bolded selections.

SAVE TROY SAYS: Troy "must protect its Fund Balance...funding a library out of that balance is fiscally irresponsible"

TCU SAYS: A VERY MISLEADING STATEMENT. Councilmen Fleming and Howrylak submitted a budget that continued full funding for the library while keeping Fund Balance OVER the 15% agreed to by Council. (See Troy Times editions in May and June, 2011.) Current balance at 6.30.11 approximates 22% well over industry recommendations.

THE REALITY: First of all, this so-called budget was submitted ONLY by Councilman Howrylak on the very night the sanctioned budget was to be approved. He allowed Fleming to see it, but Fleming has said over and over that he had NOTHING to do with its creation or the numbers it contained.

The reality is that there is no “extra” money in that fund balance. It is all allocated over the course of the three-year budget. Funding a library out of the remaining fund balance is a lot like draining your own savings account to pay for a recurring bill. Moreover, depleting this fund would impact our city’s credit rating and put our overall financial health in grave jeopardy -- and lead to the eventual closure of the library!

It’s concerning that the very individuals asking for fiscal responsibility are advocating exactly the opposite.

SAVE TROY SAYS: Troy "has reduced its workforce by over 150 employees"

TCU SAYS: OMITS THE TRUTH. Many of these employees simply went to work for privatized companies, and charge the same or similar fees that they did before. These people continue to work at the same duties. (See City Council minutes from 2009 and 2010.)

THE REALITY: Here are Mayor Schilling’s own words as spoken during the State of the City Address on Weds., July 13, 2011: "City administration has reduced the workforce by 150 full-time employees in the last 6 years. This equates to 30% of the full-time workforce."

Of those 150 employees, only 6 were retained/privatized by SafeBuilt and/or Billy Caspar Golf – but they are off city payroll. The rest of the 144 individuals left, retired or were let go. They are off city payroll.

The city is paying for 150 fewer employees.

REMEMBER: if you hear information that seems too outrageous to be true...it usually isn't true.

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