One of the pivotal issues in the RECALL JANICE DANIELS campaign revolves around the Troy Transit Center.
For the last several years, Janice Daniels and her supporters have voiced dissent with the project. Calling it trite names like "the train to nowhere," bringing in cronies like David Wisz, who called it the "mugger mover" and "heroin express," the intent was clear: make residents fear and disparage it. Cast doubt on the leaders of Troy and the business community who have long supported it. Reference the national debt and claim that we could ill afford this project when the money could be given back to offset that debt.
Of course, all of that negative discourse was fraught with inaccuracy and fear mongering. Though it was pointed out to her time and again that any funds refused by Troy would go to some other city for the same type of project, Mayor Daniels continued to insist that we give the money back for the national debt. Though it was explained over and over again that the federal funding for this project could ONLY be used for the transit center, Mayor Daniels and another current council man often referred to the money being able to fund "three libraries!" during the fight to save the embattled Troy Public Library.
Of course, in statements this week, Mayor Daniels said simply those were "hyperbolic statements" made by a private citizen long before she took office...
Yet the attempts to mislead continue. During her State of the City address, Mayor Daniels stated that "the current council and management must make certain that the full scope of the cost of this project sees constant light of day so that the taxpayers who are ultimately responsible for the maintenance and operating expenses are kept fully informed." (This is taken verbatim from page nine of her address; read the entire speech here if you like - CLICK)
So the Mayor asserts that the taxpayers are ultimately responsible for the ongoing maintenance and operating costs, and asserts that we must be kept fully informed.
All well and good, right?
What the Mayor is leaving out is that the Troy Chamber of Commerce has stepped up and pledged to help raise revenue to cover operating costs of the project. Amtrak has been working with the city to cover maintenance of the tracks. Talks have been ongoing, and updates have been given frequently on public record during council meetings. The time to formalize all of this is very, very close, and those on council and in the mayor's seat know this.
This has some residents claiming foul. After all, nothing has been put in writing YET. Councilman Dave Henderson called it this week merely a "loose commitment." Never mind that the reputation of the Troy Chamber of Commerce is not only above reproach, but includes some of the largest business and tax donors in the city. President Michele Hodges has been nothing but positive, forward-thinking and innovative in her approach to the project, and many others have worked tirelessly alongside of her facilitating this TEN-YEAR LONG project to find the best possible outcome for all, and to PREVENT Troy taxpayers from footing much - IF ANY - of the ongoing costs.
But let's talk about those costs anyway. Estimates from the city for ongoing maintenance BEFORE the project was cut (eliminating all green measures that would have saved money in the long-term) were put at around $30,000/year. With over 80,000 residents, that would hypothetically place taxpayer burden at roughly...um...$0.38/year. That's right...THIRTY-EIGHT CENTS. But let's be CONSERVATIVE. Let's assume that cost could be even DOUBLED now that it will cost more to maintain because of the elimination of the green measures. Someone MIGHT be responsible for $0.76/year per resident Now, I don't know about YOUR budget, but I know my addiction to a large diet Coke from McDonald's runs me about $1.06 per run through the drive-thru.
I'm pretty sure the Troy Transit Center will benefit me (and all of you) in far greater ways than that cooling beverage.
Another frequent claim is that the project has ALREADY cost us major dollars. In fact, data shows approx. $406,000 has been spent over the span of the project. That's approx. $5/resident TOTAL -- or about $.50/year of a ten-year undertaking. Mayor Daniels and her supporters make much of that figure, emphasizing it as a king's ransom and claiming the city has been foolish to spend it.
The rest of the story is that $150K of that cost is being submitted for reimbursement, bringing total taxpayer liability down to about $0.35/resident.
Gratuitous sarcasm: OUCH. How will we survive this???
So let's recap: many knowledgeable experts, business people, city employees and former mayors/council people have brought this project to near completion long before Daniels had any inkling of being Mayor, if she is to be believed that the decision to run was spur-of-the-moment last summer. This has been a complex, multi-faceted and exciting project for a decade. Efforts to make it work have included an eye to protecting taxpayer liability and costs. Innovation and forward-thinking skills have been employed. Many powerful and successful community, regional and state leaders have voiced support (including REPUBLICAN County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and REPUBLICAN Gov. Rick Snyder). No one who has been involved in the long term wants to see this fail.
For Mayor Daniels to come in at the 11th hour and pretend to be our watch dog while leaving out half the story is disingenuous at best...it's deceptive and deceitful at worst. To then affirm in public on record that she MUST MAKE CERTAIN that we are to be kept fully informed and then fail to FULLY INFORM is another of her frequent failings.
Mayor Daniels is continuing to mislead the electorate.
Mayor Daniels must be RECALLED.