What The Mayor Has Done To Our City Part Three.

Mayor Dan Paletko Dearborn HeightsThe City of Dearborn Heights has been closed for one day a week for years now.  Mayor Dan Plaletko did this years ago during the economic downturn. When the Mayor needed to come before the residents of Dearborn Heights and ask them to vote to raise their taxes. There were several things Mayor Dan Paletko told the residents would happen in order to save money. The Mayor said there would be a 10% cut in pay for all department heads and they would be working on Fridays. He went to the union and asked them if they wanted to take the 10% cut or would they like to work one less day a week. They decided for working one less day a week.

What was said to the council was that we are going to close the city down one day a week. Council asked at that time can this be reversed if it doesn’t work out or if the residents don’t like it? To that question, the Mayor said yes of course. When weeks later than Council Chair Baron asked to have the City go back to a five-day work week he was told by the Mayor that this is now part of the union contract and is closed until 2017. This was never supposed to be part of a union contract. There wasn’t supposed to be any overtime and when asked by council members about the over time the Mayor said there isn’t any overtime. I wrote this in 2015,

How about that overtime? Well, the Building Maintenance department overtime numbers for 2014-2015 $82,164.00. The DPW overtime numbers for 2014-2015 $131,144.00. How’s that four-day work week working out for us? Have one of you sitting on that council even ask for documentation from the administration showing how much money the City saved over these past years of having only a four-day work week? I guess a better question would be.. did the administration even keep track of those numbers?  Did one of you look and compare overtime numbers for a five-day work week and a four-day work week. Is there even a way in the City to break down those numbers?  Have you all forgotten that the Mayor said over and over that there is NO OVERTIME! That was part of the deal you Mr. Mayor made with us residents and the Council I see as always you are holding up your end of the agreement. I thank you so much for again showing all of us what a great man you truly are.

City union workers were supposed to take one day a week off that would have put them at 32 hours a week. They are getting paid for 36 hours a week. We as residents were told that all department heads would be working on Fridays. That didn’t happen the Mayor his assistant and most department heads do not work on Fridays as was told to the taxpayers they would be.

The Headlee Override vote was an important vote. All residents should have voted on it, but they didn’t. As soon as the City got its money every promise made was soon forgotten. Ask your Council members when if ever did they sit with the administration? As they said they were going to.

In the same post, I wrote this,

Ground work  laid it was time to go to the residents and ask them for more money. Not an easy thing right?  The Headlee Override was the answer to the money problems for the City. Council approved it for the ballot, but the Mayor still needed to sell it to the residents. How did he do that? There’s  one steadfast group of voters in the City. Absentee voters made up of mostly seniors. What’s the first group of people the Mayor scared?  Well, the seniors of course and the council followed right in line. Well, not all there was that one who didn’t, but for those who know this subject you know who she is.  The Mayor and Council told residents the city was going to close the senior centers. Get rid of 50 yes 50 police officers. Then they started talking about the fire department and the cuts made there. If you’re a senior in the City. You’ve just been told that the centers you like so much are going to be shut down. Crime was on the rise then and you are no longer safe.  The fire/rescue that you might need if you have an emergency may be cut. In short people, they scared the pants off the largest bloc of voters in the city.

Please read the rest of the post here

Here are other posts you might like to read about this subject,

With A Sprinkle Of Fairy Dust, Any Budget Is Possible.

Budgets Season Is Here.

Warmer Temperatures, Blooming Flowers, Budgets, and Rudeness.

Call it anything, but a surplus budget, please.

Budget Deficit Plan.

Peek-A-Boo look at what I can do…

There is more and you can find it if you like by doing a search here. Department heads have been given back their 10% the City is still closed one day a week. Overtime is still going on, the Mayor hasn’t shown one report not one sheet of paper showing what all of this has saved the City. Those who took the early outs and stayed working with the City well they are now getting checks for vacation days, sick days, and personal days, they didn’t take. This was afforded to them thanks to the Mayor. Yes even though they retired from the City they were still able to collect their unused days. Thanks, Mr. Mayor way to save us money and gee thanks for using that Headlee Override money with such care. The bottom line don’t be fooled the Mayor hasn’t been a good steward of our Tax Dollars.


Standard and Poor’s Revised Outlook for Dearborn Heights is Positive…

Someone here on the blog wasn’t happy with the fact that I didn’t have anything up here about Standard and Poor’s report. I finally found something at Thailand Press Release News I did ask the person calling themselves “curious” here on the blog to put up a link to the story for all of us. They didn’t  So I did some more looking today.

Dearborn Heights, MI Outlook Revised To Positive On Likely Stronger Budgetary Flexibility
Stocks and Financial Services Press Releases Wednesday February 26, 2014 08:38
CHICAGO–26 Feb–Standard & Poor’s
CHICAGO (Standard & Poor’s) Feb. 25, 2014–Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said that it revised its outlook on Dearborn Heights, Mich.’s previously rated general obligation (GO) bonds to positive from stable and affirmed its ‘BBB’ long-term rating and underlying rating (SPUR) on the bonds.

The city’s limited-tax GO pledge secures the bonds.
“The rating is based on our local GO criteria released Sept. 12, 2013,” said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Katilyn Pulcher, “and reflects our view of the city’s very weak budgetary flexibility and weak management.” The city’s reserves for fiscal 2013 (June 30) were negative 8% of expenditures, or negative $2.7 million, marking the third consecutive year of a corporate (general) fund balance below negative 5% of expenditures. The city experienced operating deficits in fiscal years 2010 through 2012, due to decreased revenue, which it did not address with timely expenditure reductions. While management indicates total corporate fund reserves could possibly be in a positive position by fiscal year-end 2014, we understand the positive balance would be restricted, under the GASB54 accounting standards, which we view as unavailable. The positive balance would also likely be the result of interfund borrowing, as per current practice. Management expects to report a fund balance of approximately negative $900,000, or negative 2.3% of expenditures at fiscal year-end 2014, as well as a positive, available, operating fund balance position, without the help of interfund borrowing, by fiscal year-end 2015, which leads to our current positive outlook.

“The overall management score is weakened by turnover risk,” said Ms. Pulcher. Significant reductions in staff have led to difficulties managing the city’s finances and accounting for them, and management is concerned further reductions may be coming due to several staff members nearing retirement age.

The rating also reflects our assessment of the following factors we consider weakness, which include the city’s:
Very weak economy, reflecting high unemployment and population decline in Wayne County; and
Weak management, reflecting significant staff turnover in recent years and expected in the next few years.
Also reflected in the rating are the following factors we consider strengths, which include the city’s:
Very strong liquidity, providing very strong cash levels to cover both debt service and expenditures;
Very strong debt and contingent liabilities position, reflecting rapid amortization and a low debt burden, measured as a percent of market value; and
Strong budgetary performance, with surpluses in both the corporate fund and total governmental funds in fiscal 2013.
“The positive outlook reflects our view that Dearborn Heights’ budgetary flexibility may strengthen over a two-year horizon,” said Ms. Pulcher, “and we believe the city’s improved operational position is likely to translate into stronger available reserves.” Should available fund balances strengthen above 1% of expenditures, we could consider raising the rating. The rating is unlikely to improve if budgetary performance is worse than expected and reserves remain flat, in which case we are likely to revise the outlook to stable.

Here’s what curious posted on 3-13-2014

I find it interesting that this blog highlighted the fact that Standard and Poors rated Dearborn Heights as stable last year and made a big deal out of it which it was. However, DH has improved to positive. That is good news. Where is it posted here?

Curious then posted on 3-15-14

Still no posting of the Standard and Poors upgarde! Very intersting. But lets all bash snow plowing.

My respones on 3-15-14 @12:34am

If you have that report or link please post it I can’t find it sorry I’ll be more than happy to post it.

As of 3-15-14 @ 10:12am nothing from Curious instead of trying to make it look like I wouldn’t put up anything positive about Dearborn Heights…next time “curious” please post a link or something to the story. I’m more than happy to let the taxpayers know that the extra money they gave to the administration is doing good. This rating has an effect on all of us it’s not just about giving the Mayor a “pat on the back” telling him job well done or not as the situation warrants it’s about the City’s well-being as a whole.

You may feel that “streets” aren’t part of a City’s well-being, but look at it from a potential home buyers perspective. If I’m coming to the City looking at homes and see un-plowed streets, streets full of deep ice bumps, and pot holes that could cause a tire to come off. I’m asking my self do I want to live here? Do I really want to invest in a City that doesn’t take care of its streets/residents? People buying homes here gives the City money (tax revenue.) That money as I’m sure you’re aware pays for the up-keep of those very streets I’m taking about. So yes curious it makes a difference. Just like how the “rat” problem hasn’t been handled, or the “dog” problem hasn’t been handled, or the many other things that could make a good image for our City haven’t been handled. It all makes a difference. We are all investors in Dearborn Heights…we became investors when we bought our homes here.


The Taxpayers are the Backup Plan for the Mayor..

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.