Archive for February, 2009

Feb 07 2009

City Council Speech 2/2/2009

Published by under Budget,Ideas Bad

I am sure it will come as no surprise to you that I am here tonight to speak against the proposed police court renovation at Larcom.  I would like to go on record with my concerns about the continuation of this large and mostly unnecessary expenditure. 

Let me preface my remarks with an observation. I don’t think that anyone would argue that the police department needs substantial renovation and improvements for the physical plant due to neglect of past administrations so I will confine my remarks to the money allocated to the court and other additions to Larcom. 

Here are my major concerns:

  1. First, this is not the time to commit residents that are struggling to make their own mortgage payments to a stream of interest payments totaling $26 M over the next 30 years to fix what essentially is not broken.  Nor is this is not the time to commit the DDA to a stream of payments of $15M over the next 30 years that will not benefit the downtown merchants.  

  1. Next, the $47M expenditure for bricks and mortar forces the City and County to unnecessarily duplicate expenditures for court security, IT, transportation and administrative services in perpetuity.  Future administrations, more focused on Regionalization will view the lost opportunity to combine all the Court services as a single unit as a bigger financial boondoggle than the early retirements granted to our City employees.

  1. Additionally, why do you think  the construction manager is lobbying heavily to convince the City to abandon the pursuit of LEED Gold certification? It is because they know they cannot bring the building in under budget with green building practices in the equation.

  1. Lastly, City policy on Debt Management as outlined in the Adopted Budget 2009  for Limited Tax General Obligation debt stipulates that these bonds should be considered only when constraints preclude the practice of voter approved general obligation bonds.  What precluded the favored General Obligation bonds in this instance except the convenience of not having to obtain voter approval?   


You have the opportunity now to do the right thing and abandon this dangerous course and revisit the County’s offer to cooperate in “reengineering” government in Washtenaw County and use the cost saving to try to lower the tax burden of our residents and businesses.        


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