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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Dire Straits

Monday night's special study session of the Troy City Council regarding the new budget was stunning.

It was stunning in revealing just HOW BAD the situation in Troy is...and it's not all because we could be bankrupt in five years.  It's due in large part to the complete ineptitude and ignorance of our Mayor.

After seeing a particular projection of how revenues and expenditures - combined with infusions from "fund balance" (think savings account) to balance the budget, there was rather shocked silence in the room for several moments as the information was digested.  Then discussion begain.

Councilman Tietz stated, reasonably, that the projection was only true if we did NOTHING.  By his earlier comments over the last several weeks and months, his ideas of doing something seem to involve cutting more departments, privatizing and denying funding to quality-of-life venues like the Historical Museum.

Councilman Slater asserted that was true...but that we have to do SOMETHING on both sides of the equation -- perhaps cut but ALSO generate revenue.  By Slater's past experience, we know that he would be agreeable to a reasonable millage request.

As would any clear thinking person after seeing the evidence before us...

Now keep in mind...the five-year projection was based on information that has been historically correct to about 98-99%.  Of course there are always some unknowns...the property values COULD bounce back sooner than expected.  For example, current projections show that it will take until 2034 to put us back at 2008 levels.  If we're lucky, maybe it'll only take until 2030. 

We could cut more police, more city departments, and go to a part-time municipal structure.  Of course, some of that cutting from the municipal budget means adding costs elsewhere.  The schools now pay for added security in the high school buildings, to the tune of about $400,000+, if I heard correctly last night.  That means some other area of our children's education is lacking to make up for the increased spending.

So we have that going for us.

And then we have our new mayor. One need only watch any council meeting since she took office to see how ill-equipped she is for the position of mayor.  But no scenario made it as clear as perhaps this one from last night did.  Following is an exchange between her and Councilman Slater just after the sobering news that we could likely trigger an emergency financial manager by year 2017.

Slater:  And if we would have not had the library millage, we’d be worse off this year, next year and the year after.  And that's the simple truth.

Daniels: The library would be closed if we didn’t have the millage.

Slater: The library would have been closed, but there were some people who were telling us that there was money there without the millage.

Daniels: I know, and I was one of them.

Slater: That's correct...

Daniels: and I think...

Slater:  ...and that's not true.

Daniels: ...we were right.

She thinks she was right.  She just sat and watched the presentation that shows that WITHOUT paying $2million+/year for a library out of that fund...we're bankrupt by 2017.  With the library?  It would surely be just a year or two before we hit a fund balance level that triggers an emergency manager.




  1. Concerned CitizenMay 1, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    I watched and must have missed her final comment. She actually was still insisting she was right and the $3 million that the library millage covered to save the library IS THERE? Please tell me that I have that wrong.
    If she STILL believes that, right now, as they are about to pass or not pass a budget for the coming years, then we are doomed. They spent 40 minutes tonight arguing over a $7 year refuse increase. Tietz was really incredible arguing that perhaps refuse should be a user fee or some such crap. Are they trying to privatize refuse? That would actually cost residents more annually. $7 on principal.
    Heavens to murga-troy-d.

  2. I suspected she was unqualified for the manorial position. I was correct. Now, I suspect she does not understand budgets. Not just budgets, but basic dollars and cents, debits and credits, black and red ink, and full retail and deep discount. It is ok to be this way. My sister is one of these types of no budget sense. You start talking money and taxes and you see her eyes gloss over. You can actually see a film clip if you look into her eyes very closely of children running through a field among wildflowers and butterflies with a Mama and the Papas tune playing in the background.The difference between my sister and mayor Daniels is obvious. My sister is not a mayor, council member nor finance director.

    1. Ha! Good post, appreciate the humor and the punchline :-) Need to get Daniels, Tietz and Henderson out of office before they ruin this city. They would be penny-wise and dollar-foolish to the detriment of us all, just to show their supporters that they are true Tea Partiers.

  3. The budget study session sure shined a light on the mayor's lack of understanding of budgeting. Before she was elected she couldn't understand the numbers. It's clear she still does not. The scary thing is that she thinks she does.