The Mayor of Dearborn Heights for the past two years has blamed the financial problems of the city on; the drop in taxable value of homes, and the drop in state shared revenue.
$4.1 million annual loss in property tax revenues over the last two years, an annual loss of $3.2 million in state revenue sharing and a loss of $1.1 million in court generated revenues for a total loss to date of $8.4 million in annual revenues. Source: Press and Guide October 04, 2011
Yes it’s true that taxes collected on homes went down and yes state shared revenue declined, but this started years before the bubble exploded in his face. Year after year if you look back on the budgets you can see the decline the problem was the Mayor did nothing to prepare the city for this. The only backup plan the Mayor had was HO (Headlee Override) the tax the voters agreed to and an item on tax bill labeled
“city tax” It seems that the city was able to do some sleight of hand with police and fire protection pensions and increase the millage pursuant to Public Act 345, an obscure law approved by the voters 10 to 15 years ago. Source: Press and Guide October 04, 2011
While the Mayor was telling all those people at the town hall meetings to expect city services to get cut scaring everyone talking about getting rid of police and fire. He didn’t say a word about act 345 found on you tax as “city tax” that’s doubled over the past couple of years. With another large group of police expected to retire in the next few years that “city tax” will only be going up.
This year you saw an increase in the police budget this increase was overtime that the police gave up in a letter of understanding. That concession the police agreed to give up for one year along with holiday pay I thank them for that but again the mayor did a temporary fix just long enough to get the HO money’s. There never seems to be a permanent solution to the financial troubles for the city just push it on down the road and have the taxpayer pick up the tab later on. The only permanent solution the Mayor and for that matter the council has is to go to the taxpayer and the employees of the city.
From the Press and Guide October 04, 2011 there’s an interesting line,
starting in balance for 2011, at about $36.3 million, with a deficit of about $1 million in 2012, growing to about $6 million by 2015. It wasn’t explained how the $8.4 million in lost annual revenue was absorbed for 2010 and 2011.
Thinking back on all of this has it ever been explained? Not only that when you talk of having a surplus of 2.0 million and you don’t reach that surplus doesn’t that say the deficit reduction plan is now behind by 2.5 million the 2 million surplus the mayor said we would have and didn’t and 500,000.00 added to the deficit. When the Mayor is running around town telling everyone who will listen that it was the housing markets fault or it’s the fault of the state not giving us enough money. When do you say it’s your fault? When do you take responsibility for not acting sooner when everyone who opened a newspaper, listened to a radio or watched TV knew what was going on all across this nation. How out of touch do you have to be? You had several council members on several different occasions years before pointing out what was happening to the fund balance. I was at one meeting when the decline in state shared revenue was pointed out to the Mayor. Yet another meeting when a council member asked when cuts are going to start being made because fund balance was going down? Nothing from the Mayor except to say that the city was in great shape.
Imagine if the city had a Mayor that was in touch with the finances of the city, a mayor that paid attention. A mayor that wasn’t so arrogant to just disregard the council concerns. Imagine a mayor that was proactive not sitting around waiting for the taxpayers to clean up his mess. That’s just what he did he had all of us clean up his mess and then let him run around town taking credit for it. If the city had a mayor that paid attention and was proactive chances are there wouldn’t have been a need for the Headlee Override. We’ll never know because the city doesn’t have a Mayor that’s proactive we don’t have a mayor that’s in touch with whats happening.
November 05, 2013 is election day in Dearborn Heights it’s time for a change in this city and it’s time for the residents of this city to start asking some hard questions. It’s time that each and every one of us look at the numbers and the time line of some of the events that have taken place over the past 5 years.