Opposition To The Headlee Override…

The other side of the Headlee override,

By John Connolly

 

As a liberal who has never met a tax he didn’t like, Morris Goodman-The Good Word (“Dearborn Heights needs to approve millage increase” Sept. 28) is apparently more than happy to listen to Mayor Dan Paletko’s double-speak. Unfortunately, when you do that you get less than half the story. It’s good to know that he is an equal opportunity tax promoter.

On Sept. 26, my wife and I attended a town hall meeting at the Young Center. Paletko, the members of the City Council, the city clerk and the treasurer were there. After a short speech from Councilwoman Marge Horvath about the seriousness of the problem, the mayor took the microphone, and went through some slides. In the first part of his presentation, the mayor attempted to define the problem.

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34 thoughts on “Opposition To The Headlee Override…”

  1. Lisa

    At the last CCM the Mayor said that if the HO passes it will be a smaller rec department that is a fact if it does not pass I do not see how the city will be able to keep a rec department

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  2. I have heard this same comment from multiple sources. I think the Mayor is hood winkin’ the senior citizens into thinking that the senior programs will continue as they are. I believe this is just to get the votes, but I expect anger will soon replace their misplaced faith, especially when the first property tax bill rolls in..

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  3. Kerry,
    That’s exactly what I think of too. Sorry, I don’t want to be the next Hamtramck! I will be voting YES for the HO.

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  4. Anonymous,
    In your last paragraph, you state that we have a chance to do something about the way our city has been handled to this point. You state that the two things we can do are to vote NO for HO and file a recall campaign. Forgive me, but I don’t see how those two things go hand in hand. I understand the recall campaign because that would remove the mayor and his assistant HOWEVER, voting NO for HO does serious damage to this city. I would support the recall, but will be voting YES in an effort to save my city!

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  5. That is total crap. Watch or attend the ccm’s, attend the town hall meetings, PAY ATTENTION. Reread this blog. Listen to the people who HAVE been paying attention.

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  6. Kerry,
    That’s EXACTLY what I think of too. I think people think it’s a good way out because it tells Paletko “no more” but it isn’t really him that will be hurting in the end, it’s us, the residents!

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  7. Are you implying that they should pay their own premium? What ever dialogue that is in their contract dictates who pays what.
    So if your suggesting that we bust up their contract, you might have some trouble.
    This is based on their union contract that was all ready ratified. They took a pay cut, God leave them alone.

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  8. If “pusing for our leaders to do the right things” worked, they’d all be doing the right things.

    The Ballot Box (in this case, the HO; in 2013, the Mayoral election) is the only place where our Voices really make a difference.

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  9. In my humble opinion, a vote for more money as things stand now is a vote for more of the same.

    The only thing that would change my mind is a gesture of good faith by the Mayor: follow Mayor Bing’s staffing example.

    I won’t hold my breath.

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  10. When I hear the term “EFM”, I immediately think of Hamtramck. And tell me what YOU think of when you hear that city name. Not many pleasant things are coming to mind. There is nothing good about an EFM. It will just make our city less desirable to live in, if it is at all anymore.

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  11. A recall campaign would take time, money and energy that could be better spent finding a Qualified Leader who would be interested in running for Mayor in the 2013 election.

    2013 is not that far away.

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  12. I did reread my post. It says insurance companies MUST cover 19 to 26 year olds . The issue was who has to pay for it. I said the mayor did not need to make the taxpayers pay the premiums on 19 to 26 year olds but chose to do so. I know what the law is. I am very familiar with OBAMACARE.

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  13. i did reread your post, maybe you should to. it clearly states in your post, that we don’t have to cover 19-26 year olds. the new law is for all medical insurance companies in the united states.
    there is no opt out.
    I think i should get out my paperwork from my employer and have kathy post the new legal requirement of health insurance companies.
    Oh, and by the way, my employer offers health insurance, but i pay for it all. they don’t contribute a single dime. ever year when we have enrollment, my policy has gone up $40 per month.
    and less coverage. so, i consider myself pretty knowledgeable of the new law requirements,because my employer chose to educate us on it. H.R. came in and talked about it.
    The law also requires a lot more than just that extended age on coverage. you would be surprised.
    believe me the insurance companies are losing money, that is why they keep raising rates.
    it’ hard to negotiate any kind of deal. i’m glad they have health coverage. they are lucky they don’t to pay the full amount, like i do. It’s a hefty chunk of change.
    i don’t disagree with you on everything, and yes the budget is messed up, but i disagree with you about the legal aspect of the age extension and the legal requirements of the insurance. this bill was apart of what everyone calls “OBAMA CARE”. this was the first part that was enacted.

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  14. Molly,
    I agree what you are saying about the fact that the mayor waited too long to do something about healthcare coverage, however, this isn’t the fault of the city employees. They have increased the amount they have to pay for their coverage, just because he waited so long doesn’t mean we need to screw the employees.

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  15. After Googling FOIA, I wanted to get more of a “legal” explanation. I was led to the Michigan Attorney General’s Department which handles FOIA. This is what I was told. Meeting minutes should be available to the public WITHOUT a FOIA request. It was suggested that we ask why we have to fill out a FOIA request. BUT – if the “entity” requires you to put your request in writing (by doing so you have made a FOIA request), in order to work with them it is suggested you put it in writing. So in other words, in order to get along, we need to go along – even though there is no law saying we HAVE to fill one out.

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  16. Lord, people – yes, he has instituted salary cuts, but HE JUST DID IT. He should have done it years ago. He should have closed the senior centers for a couple of days a week and the rec centers for a couple of days a week and whatever other cuts that could have been made. The lowered tax base didn’t just happen. It’s been going on for the last couple of years. With his background, he should have realized it would have an impact on the city’s revenues and made adjustments accordingly. He should have listened to the Treasurer instead of letting his ego get in the way and trying to make a fool out of the one person in this city who was doing his job. Instead, he’s said – everything is hunky dory, everything is fine. And our council let him get away with it.

    And why do you have to get an FOIA to get copies of the council meetings? Something’s not right, here. I Googled it and I found a list of PUBLIC documents that WOULD NOT REQUIRE AN FOIA. They are: Council Meeting Agendas; *Council Meeting Minutes (Excluding Non-released Closed Session Minutes); *Boards & Commissions Meeting Agendas; *Boards & Commission Minutes. Now, you want to explain why our city requires an FOIA to get what should be public information?

    Excuse my language – but there’s too much CRAP going on in this city. We have a chance to do something about it whether it be voting no for the extra millage or filing a recall campaign for the mayor. I don’t want to have what will be another 2 years under his reign. If we can’t trust him, then he needs to go. My If in that sentence was rhetorical.

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  17. Anonymous

    she would not send it to Gary not for a copy of a council meeting I think what drives me crazy is that we would need to file a FOIA in the first place for a public meeting aired on public TV. Should be, just call the media department ask for a copy pay for it and the end.. I remember the first time I wanted a copy of a council meeting and called Bob Ankrap and was told oh you have to file a FOIA for that.. That is why I want them put on the city website and then kept there for anyone to look at when ever they want.. We should have them archived so anyone can find them look at them watch them copy them. The residents have so little access to information I was told that it would cost money to do this I see other city’s doing it, city’s that are smaller and in no better shape then ours and they have found a way to do it.. So I decided that is one of the things I am going to put my council salary to if I am elected.. If the Council will work with me and if my council salary will cover it I will be putting it towards paying for it..

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  18. To anonymous
    If you reread my post . I said the insurance companies have to cover 19 to 26 year olds. BUT employers are NOT required to pay the premiums. Most companies make the employees pay. The mayor decided the city will pay the additional cost.

    To completely Disagree
    The 7 million is included in the overall property tax revenue. It is the reason most people’s taxes have gone up even though values have gone down. Cannot be spent for other things. The fact that revenues are down fringe benefits are going up. The mayor said healthcare goes up 13.7% per year. When do you do something? Now or wait until compensation plans become more than your budget.. You can only get so much additional revenue out of a city this small. Sure $150,000 is not alot of money no way near 5.1 million but it adds to the continuing problem. Reminds me of how the Feds do business why cut a billion here or a billion there its only a billion. Guess they don’t understand you add them up. They matter. Michigan Molly is a CPA who has studied the budget , the plan and reported what her trained eye tells her. I am done said my piece.
    Thank you

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  19. Kathy, if you do another FOIA, this might be the opportunity to show the truth.
    the proof is available. if the FOIA is processed through miotke again, then once again
    it will show kk not doing her job.
    people really need to see this. it shows the arrogance, and know it all attitude.
    when the mayor is done talking, he sits back in his chair, like he’s complacent with
    himself.
    It’s funny how people easily forget that with video, how their words and behavior are
    forever recorded, and they say they never said this or that.
    how many times have we seen this happen? not just with our city, but with other politicians?
    with words coming back to haunt over and over again, would really shed the light on his crap.
    Thanks.

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  20. Anonymous

    I was in the room for that council meeting and that happened it took place mid August many people have asked me what happened in the two weeks from that statement to when he brought up the HO for the first time.. I have said it here many times.. To get the clip would have to get the meeting and that would mean doing a FOIA..

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  21. To michigan molly,
    actually, the new federal law requires the insurance companies to have the coverage extended to the age of 26.
    That law took effect January 2011. The fact that he is now putting into place, means he was not following the law up to this point.
    At my place of employment, we were given the paperwork concerning the new law as soon as it was pass by congress.
    so your statement was he didn’t have to have coverage for the 19-26 years olds, actually he did.
    It’s required by law. and if you don’t believe me, google it. or i can get the copy my employer gave me listing the new federal requirements and guidelines, and have kathy post it.

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  22. he knew for a long time, he just kept us in the dark until the contracts with the police and the fireman were done. then he lays it on us. also, the mayor claimed at a city council meeting that
    he felt CONFIDENT IN HIS BUDGET THAT WE WERE ALL RIGHT. That was only a few months ago.
    Kathy, i wish you could find the clip where they are talking over the budget, and he makes this statement.

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  23. Completely Disagree,
    I think you speak volumes of truth. It’s a breath of fresh air to read someone’s posts when they are not just rants against the mayor. Don’t get me wrong, I think the mayor has done a horrible job in our city but I can’t see letting the whole place fall in shambles because of my dislike for him!

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  24. Molly-

    First off- where did you get 80%, the handout I got said 69%. But lets use your numbers.

    The problem with looking at percentages is that it does not take into account the loss in revenues. If the same business in your analogy made 1,500,000 one year and employee costs were 800,000 that would be 53% of expenses. If the next year you only made the million you said- employees would be 80% of your expenses. Were the employees overpaid/compensated when they were just 53% of the expenses? The percentage looks daunting when looked at independently.

    Benefits were cut. Pay has been cut. Employees have been cut, the problem is that those cuts did not outpace the loss in revenue. At the same time double digit increases in healthcare costs have crippled the city’s ability to mitigate costs.

    Do you really believe that changing medical plans would somehow solve the city’s problems? Doubtful. I am not sure a medical insurance company would even insure the city at this point.

    I don’t have any background on the employee assistance thing so I cannot debate that but 150,000 is not 5 million. As for the 19 to 26 year old thing, I don’t think if the city could get coverage for free they would just ignore it. Nothing free in this world. Healthcare least of all.

    Where do you get 7 million from the budget to pay the DROP program? I did not see that either but maybe I missed it.

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  25. Completely Disagree.
    Have you looked at the budgets? Have you looked at the proposal.? What happened is the Mayor allowed the fringe benefits to swell so out of control their is no money for services . Wages and fringes can never be 80% of your budget . Sanitation is 9%. Not much left. Paycuts were given but pay can be controlled fringe benefits cannot. Within the last month the council approved an employee assistance plan ( stuff you can get through the county for free) cost to the city $150,000.00 . The mayor agreed to paying for healthcare for 19 to 26 year olds. Didn’t have to. He said the new law said he had to. The new law says no such thing. The law states insurance companies must cover them…says nothing about employer’s paying. They are not in the private sector.

    Imagine if you had a business . You do $1,000,000 in business 80% goes to your employees.10 % is fixed costs. ( Rent ,utilities etc. ) You make widgets parts cost 7%. . You are now left with 30,000 for your earrnings and any miscellaneous costs that might come up. Look forward to next year prices go up. Bye you are out of business.

    The state the city is in Headlee passage will make no difference. The money doesn’t come in until next year. It is said to be 3.4 million. You are 5.1 million in debt. Figures don’t lie. The debt snowballs. Why is it that reasonable compensation packages can’t be managed for the cities employees. Money should be available to fix the side streets, the sewers, to keep the rec centers open..

    To pay over 7 million for healthcare cost and 7 million for the drop program in a city that has 22,266 homes . Limited income seniors are 8022 of them. Somebody has their head in the sand.

    The mayor is a CPA. He had to see this coming two years ago. So did the council. I doubt either of them have desire to fix our sinking ship.

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  26. This isn’t about the Headle Overide. I believe most people, if they’re confident in this administration, would not be debating this. Most just feel we are putting good money on top of bad. Whether this passes or not, you better believe they will be back here next year asking for more $$. Money alone WILL NOT and CAN NOT fix this problem.

    No matter how many times you watch this movie, as long as the same actors (administation) are in place, the ending will be the same.

    It’s a lose/lose situation.

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  27. Magnus, so a better mayor would have seen this coming and asked for a millage earlier then? No matter how you try and twist your rationale, the deficit would be there. Tax revenue is down. Period. Whether he saw it coming or he didn’t nothing would have changed. Cell phones and cars don’t solve a 5 million dollar deficit.

    And from what I read, he did see it coming. Cuts were made. But there comes a point where you cannot reduce services enough to stem the tide of lost revenue. It is akin to trying to catch all the water in Niagra falls with a paper cup. At that point you have a choice to make, raise revenue or cut really deep. That is not a decision you can make without knowing how the voters feel. How would you perceive the situation if the mayor/council just made cuts and decimated services without even asking how you feel.

    That is why the HO is being undertaken. You can vote for or against it of course, but weigh the consequences and realize that there will be a sizable reduction in services if it does not pass.

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  28. The Treasurer has been talking about this for a while and the Mayor was poo pooing it for years.

    Hey “completely disagree” that is the point!!!

    The Mayor lied to the Treasurer and the Council about what the state of the city really was and that is why he needs to go. To say that this would have happened to anyone running the city is false. Ask the Treasurer…you know the guy monitoring the checkbook… he was concerned for years and the Mayor tried to make him look stupid at the city council meetings.
    Well now the Mayor wants us to bail him out because he has mismanaged the city. He says he didnt see it coming, but Mr Abdelhak called him out by saying “Mr. Mayor you are a CPA…how could you have not seen this coming?”
    I am all for helping out my city by paying more taxes, but not when this Mayor gets to decide what to do with the money… no way!!!
    He failed!!!! and the pen for the checkbook needs to be taken away from him and put into more capable hands.
    I agree the council needed to be more vocal and some did, but the majority of them including the Council President were too afraid to act and their complacence trickled down.

    Week council……Powerful Mayor…..how did that work for us???

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  29. I find it funny that most, if not all, of the people who write so passionately on here about voting against the HO offer reasons all with the theme of blaming the mayor, that it is all his fault and now he is forcing this on us. But let’s not forget 2 major things:

    1- the city treasurer has been warning of these very problems for the past few years.
    2- the city council (7 people) did nothing about it all these years.

    Now, I’m more inclined to believe the treasurer because he’s been on top of it the whole time (regardless of if anyone else paid attention to him). The fact in my mind is that I believe he knows what he’s talking about when he explains the HO. So for everyone who says the explanation is all lies from the mayor, please check the facts before politicizing what is already a difficult time for our city.

    Do we need changes in how our city is run? Certainly. But let’s not cut off our nose in spite of our face. Let’s push for all our leaders to do the right things from now on (and that includes our city council saying “no” when necessary, and then offering real solutions instead of just giving in). And that especially includes being tough with the budget in order to reign in unnecessary spending.

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  30. MAGNUS…YOU ARE 100% RIGHT THE MAYOR HAS MADE A MESS OF THIS CITY. I WOULD LOVE TO SEE A EFM COME TO DEARBORN HEIGHTS.NO VOTE HERE.

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  31. Wait until the seniors and the others that have been scared into voting for the mayor’s HO find out that regardless of if the HO passes, the senior centers and youth programs are on the cutting block. A pal of mine said they talked to someone involved with the rec centers and they said that regardless of if the HO passes or not, the two senior centers and the two rec centers are due to close. Someone will have to find a “room” somewhere in the city to accommodate the senior programs. Even those that are funded by the state or the county, like the Meals-on-wheels, they will have to find a place to work from.
    Hey, maybe they should use the mayor’s office, after all, he isn’t using it except to house his secretaries and assistant.
    I will hope it isn’t true, the citizen’s deserve better. As long as this administration is in control, we are all going down the crapper.

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  32. If those institutions close it will be because the voters did not want them open anymore. The mayor has not been without flaws, but I think blaming him for a massive economic downturn is a bit much. It is playing politics with an issue that frankly could greatly hurt the long term prosperity of the city.

    Emergency Financial Managers have wrecked the communities they have been in or at best have done little to help. Let me know if you can come up with an example where one has worked and turned it around, cause I can’t. They have failed everywhere they have been. And make no mistake about it, the EFM would not save anything. Parks and Rec would be the first to go if an EFM walked in here.

    If your beef is with the mayor or anyone else, this referendum is not the place to take it up. Anyone could have been mayor and would be facing the same situation. There is no magic wand or mystical button the mayor can push to fix the situation. You either have reduced services or you vote to maintain them. That’s it.

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  33. I agree with Connolly.

    In the past,I have always been for any millage that helps the city, but this is giving a blank check to a Mayor (and his assistant) that ran this city into the ground.
    We will not bail you out again Mr Mayor…you need to clean up this mess or be removed by the State. You have been financially irresponsible and your assistants actions have been shameful and disgusting. We are tired of watching this city go to hell while you and your assistant run rampant and get to cry wolf whenever you need us to bail you out.
    Maybe when the senior centers, parks, and other buildings are closed, then the citizens will see the true damage this Mayor and his assistant have caused.

    No to Headlee and No to this Mayor and his administration!!!

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