The Forest For The Trees

Grand Traverse County Commissioners don't even understand why the county is broke.

We all like nice things.

Sometimes we have to choose which nice things we want however.  As a community, the pie is only big enough for so many parks, so many police officers, and some of the other necessary ‘amenities’ to make it all happen.  One thing it requires is choices and priorities.

Attending a board of commissioners meeting tonight, one participant noted that our Northern Michigan county had the worst pension funding situation in the state.  While probably true, the rest of the commissioners in their own ways acknowledged it, and then moved on to prove in no uncertain terms why it is unlikely to change.

In an effort to raise money to cover the ballooning pension liabilities, Grand Traverse County Commissioners voted 6-1 to sell a county property for nearly $100K less than the highest bid for the property.   They were convinced by a number of hikers, bikers, and cross country skiers, that letting the property in question into ‘private’ hands would make our slice of heaven intolerable.

160 acres, surrounded on all sides by thousands of acres of state forest in the wrong hands. The horror of the thought.

“Its less than one percent of the pension debt” opined one commenter.  Actually closer to a quarter of a percent, commissioners probably felt safe in effectively ‘gifting’ $100k to the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy, which had a bid that was 3rd in line and $97,000 less than the highest offered for the acreage.

That small amount, which was about a third of the high bid was nothing.  Its just a drop in the bucket to commissioners who still cannot figure out how former boards could possibly have left them with such a problem to solve.

They just cannot fathom how a fully funded pension might dip to 49% funded over 25 years in our county.

Especially when all the required MERS payments were made.


**Note: this has been edited to correct the 105K figure to the correct 97K.
You Betcha! (9)Nuh Uh.(1)

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