Might Be Time For Some Changes.

Couple of things that I found disturbing after reading Lisa Farrens account of what happened at 9-10-13 study session.

📌First Wondering how the people who live around City Hall feel about one of our very own council members calling their area “Unsafe?”

📌Next I’d like to know if council agreed to let people talk at study sessions, when did you say “if we want to let them?”

📌Finally I’d like to know when your going to let the taxpayers talk at a council meeting about how you are going to spend our money. How easy for you to vote yes to things when you don’t hear from the public before you vote. How stupid is that? The resident can get up after the fact.

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13 thoughts on “Might Be Time For Some Changes.”

  1. Ms.heart,

    It’s not about this director, or about where he live. The car lease issue is about the way the DH deal with small issues like that when there general fund balance is in a hole over 3 millions deep! They should be pinching penny’s to save couple dollars and jumping on any possible opportunity to save another few here and there. They should show the urgency to proceed with any saving in any way possible for any amount

    The city need a comprehensive spending plan that is clear and transparent, that includes small spending details (Cars leases, overtime, health insurance go-pays, longevity pays, ext.) and should stick to that plan. The plan should not include tax increase to cover shortfalls.

    The city must tack all measures to get out of the hole and start smelling the financial perfume of the general fund balance “BLACK INK”.

    The city should be extremely allergic to the smell of the general fund balance “RED INK”

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  2. Sooo, let me get this straight. Our Director R. Amen can’t park his car…. no…the city’s car…. on DH city property because…because it is unsafe to do so, but RA can take it to his home, at his convenience. Where does he live? In a castle on the top of the hill? What is up with that? If it is so bad to park the city car on city property, get rid of his Fusion, give the money to our cops and let them put in some of their ideas to keep the residents and their property safe.
    So where does RA reside? Not DH, right?

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  3. It’s also about how council people treat our citizens. One of the things the mayor said the other night at the Mayor’s Forum was that one of THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS he and the council can do is to treat the citizens of DH with courtesy and respect. Are you listening, Mrs. Horvath? I, too, Truthtelling, am voting for Lisa Farrens. She’s knowledgeable and has great experience to back up her bid for the seat.

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  4. lisa Farrens,

    You understand the urgency and importance of reducing spending and reduce the city general fund balance debits. I’m voting for you. Yes its about all the small things that accumulate to form a huge defect. Its about the way we spend tax payers money.

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  5. “Secondly, the CDBG department has had a car since its inception. That is many many years. Why is it that now it is a big issue?”
    Written by Councilwoman Horvath:

    Just because it’s been done for years doesn’t make it the best practice at this time. When cars were removed from other departments 18 months or so ago, the reason this car wasn’t pulled was because it was in the middle of a lease. (that is my remembrance) I think a lot of citizens thought when the lease was up, there will not be a replacement. It was surprising to see the issue come before the council and even more surprising to see the level of support for it. The level of outrage in the community is not about an election year…it’s about the “surplus budget” while taking money from libraries, and asking for a millage, it’s about 4 day work weeks and the inconvenience to citizens, the NSP program and how much it costs…etc, etc,

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  6. Councilwoman Horvath,
    #1)
    So, the Berwyn Center parking area behind the building in an alcove is unseen from any angle and unsafe? Is that a joke or what? Cars are parked all over that neighborhood with no or rare incidents. Are you saying that area during the night is a place where criminal can commit auto theft and damage
    without our police ability to catch them? Are you kidding me, in the middle of a good Dearborn Heights neighborhood? Did you worked with the police to stop the criminals and restores safety to that area? and since how long? We have one of the best police department and we spent over 12 million dollars every years on policing the city, and you are saying that a car will be unsafe to park at a municipal building??????? How about parking the car on the side of the building?

    I guess BIG DOG may have a point when he is calling our city

    DETROIT HEIGHTS

    #2)
    The city never faced a financial situation similar to the current one, the city is under a state deficit elimination plan with millions of dollars in “red ink ” you voted yes on all budgets since 2009 and your allowed the spending to happen and the general fund balance to turn from “black ink” to “red ink”. Some of your peers on the council are trying to clip spending and the lease of car come up as for discussion and other car leases should also discussed. What is wrong with that Ms. Horvath? Is’t wrong to reduce the defect by few dollars here and couple dollars there? What happen to your Conservative fiscal policy?

    The car lease is up for discussion and on the radar screen because of the RED INKED general fund Ms. Horvath. Is that a good reason in your public record book?

    #3)
    I’m glad that you agree now that the fund can be allocated to other eligible activities. There for GO AHEAD and reduce your RED INKED general fund by few dollars and allocating the savings to pay an eligible activity that the general fund is paying.

    #4)
    HUD/CDBG allows payments for eligible activities whether its a car lease or else, as long as the car is used for related CDBG activities. It’s the responsibility of the city to make sure they reporting the correct usage of that car before withholding fund from the federal treasury to pay for this car cost. HUD will recover their funding from the city if they disagree latter on with the eligibility of usage.
    Your city CDBG director publicly stated that he is using the car to represent the city as an ambassador and doing other business deals during late hours and weekends? If they all related to CDBG then OK, and if not the other portion should be paid by the city or reported as personal use for IRS reporting.
    Your peers on the council are asking whether those activities are HUD/CDBG eligible? Do you have a problem with them asking the director wither he kept records?
    Other city directors cars are paid by the general fund, and don’t have the burden of HUD?CDBG reporting! Do you know if the AMBASSADOR ACTIVITIES are all eligible for CDBG/HUD funding? When there are no LOG?
    Please read OMB Circular 87, Or call HUD Detroit office, you’ve been very good dealing with HUD/NSP issues in the past.

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  7. As you know the council, myself and many others have never been in favor of any employee taking a car home. When the council voted and passed a resolution to park the cars finally after years of trying. The CEDD car was one taken away he than came before council and said that it was paid for by CDBG grant funds. Only then did you give the car back, and might I remind you it was not an election year when all if this happened.

    Might I all so remind you that the Mayor fought the council every step of the way. Councilwoman Lisa Hicks-Clayton isn’t up for election she has commented here that this isn’t a good idea.

    Here’s what she wrote,

    The comment was made in reference to keeping a car at the Berwyn Center, which is the location of the Community Development office. This is all related to Director Amen’s request for Council approval to lease a car using CDBG funds. My question(s) have always been:

    1) CDBG funds, being a Federal grant, as any grant, has guidelines and restrictions. Yes, 20% may be applied to administration. However, the questions remains does leasing a car fall into that category and meet the specifications/ guidelines of the grant’ s issuing government entity? i.e. HUD guidelines. Could those funds be better utilized in other needed community services?

    2) I support the use of a City car only if it is checked out of the City motor pool when needed for City business. A millage report should be maintained as well for both City car or personal vehicle use.. Many municipalities, including the Southeast Council of Governments utilize this method, supporting accountability and transparency in government.

    These questions must be answered in order to make an informed decision.

    Residents are welcome to contact me with their concerns and opinions by :

    A) calling (313) 633-1845
    B) attending monthly office hours/ 1st and 3rd Mondays at Berwyn, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at Eton and 1st and 3rd Saturdays at the Caroline Kennedy Library
    C) email hicksclayton4dhcitycouncil@yahoo.com

    I encourage you to actively be engaged in our City government.

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  8. Citizen should be allowed to talk about a council agenda item immediately after the item is opened for discussion and before the council vote.

    Its a common sense and effective practice for the council to listen to the comments prior to casting a vote. I tough the citizens are allowed to do that now if they choose to! I guess I’m wrong.

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  9. I would like to clear the air about a couple of things. First of all it was I that made the statement about unsafe. I was not talking about City Hall I was talking about the area that the car that the DCBG director has being parked at the Berwyn Center behind the building in an alcove that is unseen from any angle. I was not in favor of the car being taken home but after doing some checking it is probably safer for it to leave the premise that to be hidden behing the building. Oh, by the way the front of the building that is very open has issues occasionally too. Are any of you aware that since we parked car and trucks there has been ongoing vandalism? Windows, truck tail gates etc. Wonder what that costs us in insurance. I don’t think we even report the tail gates any longer we just do without.

    Secondly, the CDBG department has had a car since its inception. That is many many years. Why is it that now it is a big issue? Is it because it is an election year? Over the last ten years the Council has had the opportunity, at least 3 times that I am aware of, to take the car away and it was never even on the radar screen.

    While it is true that the money could be redirected to some other project, it is also true that if the car were not allowed then HUD would have been after us and to my knowledge they have not questioned it.

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  10. The comment was made in reference to keeping a car at the Berwyn Center, which is the location of the Community Development office. This is all related to Director Amen’s request for Council approval to lease a car using CDBG funds. My question(s) have always been:

    1) CDBG funds, being a Federal grant, as any grant, has guidelines and restrictions. Yes, 20% may be applied to administration. However, the questions remains does leasing a car fall into that category and meet the specifications/ guidelines of the grant’ s issuing government entity? i.e. HUD guidelines. Could those funds be better utilized in other needed community services?

    2) I support the use of a City car only if it is checked out of the City motor pool when needed for City business. A millage report should be maintained as well for both City car or personal vehicle use.. Many municipalities, including the Southeast Council of Governments utilize this method, supporting accountability and transparency in government.

    These questions must be answered in order to make an informed decision.

    Residents are welcome to contact me with their concerns and opinions by :

    A) calling (313) 633-1845
    B) attending monthly office hours/ 1st and 3rd Mondays at Berwyn, 1st and 3rd Tuesdays at Eton and 1st and 3rd Saturdays at the Caroline Kennedy Library
    C) email hicksclayton4dhcitycouncil@yahoo.com

    I encourage you to actively be engaged in our City government.

    Like

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