Across the state, we are reminded of our duty to remain ever vigilant.
Traverse City enables more cronyism in its latest money grab.
It seems that each year, special TIF districts are set up throughout our state in order to promote growth or development of a particular economy or industry. The revenues raised through a TIF scheme are theoretically targeted, specifically for the district raising the value of that district over a specified period of time.
But does it work well enough and is it worth the effort, and goodwill lost, as it continues to be abused by those who hold the authority? As voters look at the millage requests on the ballot, they now see the language that reminds them that not-all-of their voted in millage will go where it is intended.
A TIF scheme is done by
Natural disasters, or 'states of emergency' CAN happen in our Great Lakes State.
“Once again,” I say because when it mattered, Ruth Johnson sided with the governor in his lawbreaking. In the Proposal 1 (loser by 80%-20% statewide) leadup, the governor broke the law in front of Johnson, Schuette, and nearly every single lawmaker and judge in the state.
Nothing was done, and in-fact there was an effort to circumvent the process that had been defended only years before. Even the Michigan GOP’s pet poodle Greg McNeilly noted the infraction saying “.. it was “inappropriate” for Snyder to use the televised speech to advocate for a “yes” vote on Proposal 1.” yet stopped short of calling a misdemeanor what it is. Flame Hard indeed.
But this recent failure by the SoS is a little more local, yet profound. When a natural disaster prevents voters from reaching the polls, ought not the top elections official be a little more proactive? In the case of an Elmwood township millage question, Johnson’s office went from a failure to uphold the law to negligence and simple abject failure.
Michigan school districts have more than a few tricks up their sleeves.
Or maybe how it might end?
What we see in proposed legislation by Michigan State Senator Darwin Booher is a natural extension of what happens to a legislator’s mind in Lansing. Senate bill 481 attempts to modify the “Recreational authorities act;” 2000 PA 321, so that school districts can then create their own ‘authority,’ build facilities, and hit the taxpayers for up to a mil with yet another creative tool of extortion.
Why would school’s need such a thing you ask? Why would a school district want, or need to create a new agency that can generate new revenue for pools, entertainment complexes, sports venues, etc?
Hilarious question, right? However, as has been pointed out before, the formula (post proposal A) has changed. Very much.
“Underneath the perceived troubles in funding public education is an emerging reality. Because of the nature of taxpayer funding, and the struggle for local school districts to grab their ‘fair share’ of Michigan’s education budget pie, expenses that were once built into operating budgets are now separated from them, and allowed to be levied through millage requests. These building fund requests allow for purchase of new infrastructure, equipment, and maintenance.
Unfortunately, once the funding had begun in this direction, it quickly became a running operative mechanism that allowed all manner of abuse to begin. Routine maintenance became the recipient of improvement monies, and improvement requests increased to fund facilities that went beyond necessary functionality. The latest request including a component that would have built a $26.5 million performing arts facility. (including all aspects of construction) The proposal for a declining student population at a cost of was easily declined by voters.”
All of what used to be covered under simple operations cost, has been partitioned into new funding paradigms.
Is The Traverse City School District Ignoring A Gift, Or Is That 'Gift' Completely Valueless?
What does the largest government body North of Clare do when it sees a case of vendor provided payoff to an employee?
It blesses the transaction. <– yes, that is the punchline
As yet another example of misplaced priorities, and a misunderstanding of the roles they play, the Traverse City Area public School board trustees have approved a ‘settlement’ which involves a payment from the soon-to-retire superintendent Stephen Cousins, and a gift from one of the school’s vendors to make up the difference between the $25,000 owed to the school district by the superintendent and his $14,800 cash reimbursement component.
First a recap of the facts as we know them.
“.. if the Secretary of State stays true to its history of enforcement, it’s likely the district will receive a slap on the wrist.”
In 2011, Michigan Capitol Confidential looked at the Secretary of State’s enforcement of school districts it found to have violated the campaign finance law from 2006 to 2010. The state fined two districts that broke the law $100 each. In the case of TCAPS for their part 57 violation, it appears there is a new sheriff in town.
TCAPS was assessed a $26,656 fine to be paid back to the district.
“By whom?” is the question being asked so far by our local paper.
TCAPS officials must decide by May 30 whether to accept the ruling and prove reimbursement, which cannot come from TCAPS general fund or other taxpayer-supported funds. If TCAPS officials refuse to pay, the case could be referred to the state attorney general’s office for criminal prosecution.
The state did not specifically state who is responsible for repaying the $25,656.
I can tell you that however.
Remember, Tuesday is that special voting day where your local school districts count on snowbirds to be absent from the rolls so they can get millage requests passed. In Elk Rapids, its a bond that has failed a couple of times, and last time by only a few votes in the general election. (November) They figure it ought not be hard to get it through while many of the property owners are absent.
Never mind the cost of a special election to taxpayers when nothing else is on the ballot.
Around Michigan there are dozens of examples of this type of electoral abuse, so lets not make it a rewarding venture. Do a favor, and give your over taxed friends a call and reminder. Unless there is a really good reason, off cycle elections are generally made to “slip one by” the voters as a rule.