Monday, November 6, 2017


"...why are they cutting by 75% now?"

(2) Jim Riley:
"Interesting. County bigwigs assure us that next Tuesday's $70-80 million, county-wide tax increase is absolutely necessary because MORE money is needed for NEW programs "for the children".
But look at the county's own budget.
They are cutting the current "Child Care Fund" from $4.77 million to $1.2 million.
NEXT year!!
If that fund is soooo necessary "for the children", why are they cutting by 75% now?
What do you think they're gonna do with all the new moolah?"Image may contain: text


Let's see a public accounting of the current "child care fund".

(1) Jim Riley:

A friend suggested the county commissioners "may be counting their chickens before they are hatched. " 
My response:
The problem is they are using county funds to send multiple county-wide mailings and sending county employees to publicly state this is not a bait/switch. 
They assure us It is to fund NEW programs. 
Important, desperately needed programs that, if funded, will actually pay for themselves. 

The county board and all other insiders are simply lying.
They do it often.
They do it in such moronic manner that it is amazing that anyone believes anything they say or promise.
Our county is broke. 

Over $200 million in in underfunded pensions/retiree health ins. (out of a cash flow budget of $45 million/year) 
We are well on the way to becoming Wayne county. 
Name a business that has moved or expanded to Muskegon county, without public funds as the lure. 
And then make the list of companies who have moved out, expanded elsewhere or never bothered with Muskegon and brought their business to neighboring counties. 
Let's see a public accounting of the current "child care fund". 
If it's not a private slush fund, why aren't we told of all the fabulous accomplishments?
Why the silence?
Let's see their proud list of accomplishments over the 17 years of Scolnik, Snider, Mahoney, Engle and the rest.
The list of financial collapse is already written.
Vote "NO" on Tuesday!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

They know they can ignore us!

From a friend:
"Regarding the Muskegon County Commission Meeting:  
Below is the response to my question asking for the dollar amount allocated to each of the programs listed within the Proposal along with a detailed explanation and purpose of each.  
After the meeting, I asked for a copy of Public Act 179 of 1967. 
I'll let you come to your own conclusion.  
FYI:  If you want to see what is on YOUR ballot prior to going to the polls, you can go to:
vote.michigan.gov and follow the instructions.  
Don't enter www.



---------- Original Message ----------
From: "Vanderhyde, Sandra" <VanderhydeSa@co.muskegon.mi.us>
To:
Date: October 14, 2017 at 1:38 PM
Subject: Information re Millage
Thank you again for asking all of your great questions at the Muskegon County Board of Commissioners meeting on Tuesday regardi
ng the millage! Please find below the statute regarding the millage that you requested, as well as the description that you wanted on the Systems of Care model that is being implemented.

Thank you,
Sandra Vanderhyde 

Systems of Care-Muskegon County received a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration to enhance our “System of Care” for youth with or at risk for complex needs in the community. A System of Care is a spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for mental health or other challenges and their families, that is organized into a coordinated network, builds meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addresses their cultural and linguistic needs, in order to help them to function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life.

Systems of Care are evidenced based and non-categorical- no two community approaches look the same. In Muskegon County, we are focusing on the following approaches:
  • Implementing school based mental health, wraparound, and peer support in collaboration with the Pathways to Potential model, Family Court PASS grant, Hackley Community Care Teen Health Centers, and other community service providers
  • Developing county-wide mobile stabilization response for youth and families in crisis to provide earlier, community based intervention. This model has been showed to drastically decrease ER visits, out of home placements, and juvenile justice recidivism
  • Implementing a shared assessment tool across systems
  • Systems transformation including funding structures, shared workforce development, and including youth and families served in decision making processes
  • Engaging, equipping, and connecting youth and families served into leadership and advocacy opportunities
 Public Act 179 of 1967-

YOUTH CENTERS (EXCERPT)
Act 179 of 1967
123.461 Youth centers; financing operations; ad valorem property tax; petition; election; canvassing and certifying votes.
Sec. 1.
(1) Any county, city, township, or village may levy taxes and appropriate funds for operating centers open exclusively to youths under 21 years of age and aimed at curbing juvenile delinquency within the community.
(2) A registered elector of a county, city, township, or village may submit petitions requesting that a unit of government submit the question of levying an ad valorem property tax of not to exceed 1.5 mills on taxable property within the unit for not to exceed 20 years for the operation of a youth center as described in subsection (1) to the electors of the unit at the next general election in the manner provided by law. Petitions that are filed pursuant to this subsection shall be filed not less than 120 days before the election at which the question is to be voted upon. The petitions shall be signed by a number of registered electors from the county, city, township, or village equal to not less than 5% of the total vote cast for all candidates for governor at the last preceding general election at which a governor was elected within the petitioning unit of local government. A tax authorized by this subsection shall be levied and collected in the same manner and at the same time as other ad valorem property taxes in the unit of local government.
(3) A petition filed pursuant to subsection (2) shall be in substantial compliance with section 544c of the Michigan election law, Act No. 116 of the Public Acts of 1954, being section 168.544c of the Michigan Compiled Laws. The petition shall be filed with the clerk of the county, city, township, or village.
(4) A determination of the sufficiency or insufficiency of a petition filed pursuant to subsection (2) shall be made not later than 60 days prior to the general election for which the petition was filed by the official receiving the petition. If the petition is determined to be sufficient, the ballot for the question shall be prepared by the official responsible for preparing the other ballots to be used at the general election. The ballot question shall specify the number of mills to be levied and the specific time period that this number of mills is to be levied.
(5) The votes cast for and against the proposal shall be canvassed and certified by the canvassing board responsible for canvassing and certifying the votes cast for offices and other proposals voted on at the general election.


History: 1967, Act 179, Imd. Eff. June 30, 1967 ;-- Am. 1988, Act 342, Imd. Eff. Oct. 18, 1988 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Vote No on Muskegon County’s YOUTH, FAMILY & COMMUNITY MILLAGE!-----Muskegon Community Events - Posts

(6) Muskegon Community Events - Posts

Vote No on Muskegon County’s YOUTH, FAMILY & COMMUNITY MILLAGE! 
Below is the millage information, what it doesn’t tell you is that it’s a ploy to fund the Sheriff’s office and its overpriced new jail that we were forced to get without a public vote, so the fine people running the County crafted a very ingenious way for you to fund it without you even knowing it. 
If the millage passes the funding will not increase any youth or family services it will maintain its current status quo and reroute the current funds allocated for it to offset the Sheriff’s office 1.7Million deficit and other county functions. 
Attached are news articles on the new jail please do your research and hopefully you to will see what this millage really is about. Below are quotes from then candidate Poulin. 
If you read the part about a public safety millage that will help you see through all of the smoke and mirrors. Sheriff Poulin is no different than the people before him he is just a better con artist.
If elected, he would look for grant funding for special programs in the Sheriff’s department in order to free up more money for the jail. 
But he doubted there was a spare $1.8 million in the sheriff’s budget, either.
“There’s a lot of little things we can do,” he said. 

“It doesn’t really add up to what you need.”
He said the issue would likely fall back on the Muskegon County Commissioners to decide.
“There’s some talk of a public safety millage,” he said
********Please reshare this so the information can get out there.
COUNTY OF MUSKEGON
YOUTH, FAMILY & COMMUNITY MILLAGE QUESTION
For the purpose of funding Muskegon County’s enhancement of existing youth programs and for the development of proven youth prevention and treatment programs; family based programs; school based services; increasing the number of foster care and therapeutic foster care homes; respite care; crisis housing; transitional and community aftercare; psychosocial activities; residential treatment; employment services; and assessment and stabilization treatment programming, and/or other youth services and operations pursuant to or authorized by Public Act 179 of 1967, shall the constitutional limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed in one (1) year upon all property within the County of Muskegon, Michigan, be increased and the County of Muskegon authorized to levy a new tax of up to 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of taxable value) for a period of ten (10) years, from 2017 to 2026 inclusive? The cost per $100,000 home is $75.00 per year. If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated $6.2 million in the first calendar year of the levy based on taxable value.
That the general outlook for Muskegon County’s General Fund for the next five years is unsustainable.
Expenditures however are expected to increase significantly due primarily to the Jail/JTC debt service obligations
The consultant’s report recommended that the County explore special millage options to support specific services to alleviate the need for the General Fund to subsidize these operations.
The Jail/JTC debt service payments which were funded by the General Fund starting in FY2017 also represent a significant impact on the financial outlook. For FY2017 and FY2018 the payments total over $1.8 million annually. In FY2019, the payments increase to $2.8 million and continue to increase thereafter.
The largest appropriation historically has been to the Child Care Fund which is approaching $5.0 million. Therefore, the Board approved to place on the November 7, 2017 ballot a Youth, Family and Community millage request asking for 1.5 mills that would generate approximately $6.2 million dollars as recommended in the financial forecast, this millage revenue would be used to fund the specific services associated with the Child Care Fund and eliminate the need for the General Fund appropriation. Therefore, included in the recommended FY2018 budget is a new fund called the Youth, Family and Community Millage Fund. The fund has $6.2 million of anticipated revenues and expenditures which includes an appropriation to the Child Care Fund of $4.8 million.

Image may contain: sky and outdoor

From MuskegonSpotlight-----Scandal Over Youth Millage: Will Money Go to Jail Instead? | muskegonspotlight

Scandal Over Youth Millage: Will Money Go to Jail Instead? | muskegonspotlight

Scandal Over Youth Millage: Will Money Go to Jail Instead?

October 5, 2017
Suspicions have swirled around Muskegon County's "Youth Millage" with allegations the money will be diverted to pay for the new jail. While millage backers downplay such rumors, recently surfaced documents tell a different tale. Muskegon Spotlight has obtained a letter between the County Administrator and Board Chair Ben Cross that reveals this millage will do almost nothing for kids. Nearly all of the money raised will instead bailout the budget crisis caused by overspending on the jail.

But didn't they say this won't be spent on the jail?
It's a bait and switch. Remember when the state lotto money was promised to go to the schools, but then politicians just cut the school's other funding?  It's the same trick. Nearly all the new millage money will go to programs that already exist and are already being paid for with $4.8 million/year from the Child Care Fund. But an examination of county documents shows that as soon as the new millage starts funding these programs, that existing $4.8 million will likely be yanked away and redirected to fill the budget hole caused by the jail. One hand givith, and the other hand taketh away. That's no way to treat kids. 

Perhaps they didn't think we'd approve a jail millage, so they just called it something emotionally appealing like "youth" and created an accounting gimmick to shuffle the money.  

So why is there a budget crisis to begin with?
The County needed a new jail. But instead of being upfront and asking the public for approval and getting proper funding back in 2013, the commissioners just went ahead and built it. The problem is they made it bigger and more expensive than was needed, and with no plan to pay for the $45 million cost. Now the bill is coming due and they don't have the cash.

Is there proof?
Yes. Internal 2018 budget documents from the County Commission (available here) include a detailed description of their consultant's analysis of the budget crisis, the jail debt, and the need to find new money to fill the hole. The documents also describe their plan to seek a millage to raise new money for existing programs that are already funded so that the current funding can then be cut and redirected to the budget crisis caused by the jail. The documents specifically identify the $4.8 million Child Care Fund and the youth programs as a top target for this scheme. 

This shell game allows them to publicly declare the millage itself isn't going to the jail, even as they still take away money that had been helping kids. 

So what should the Commission do instead?
The Commissioners need to stop playing games and be honest with the public.  They caused this budget crisis with their own bad decisions. The commissioners need to practice better management and balance their budget. If a new millage is truly needed because of the jail debt, the commissioners should be transparent about that instead of using our kids as political props and insulting voters by trying to disguise a millage as being something it isn't. 

Don't be fooled! Do your homework on this dishonest tax hike and cast an educated vote on November 7th!

References: Read for yourself the County Administrator's letter to Chairman Ben Cross describing the jail debt, the budget crisis, and the plan for a millage and come to your own conclusions: 


Update: Here are the key portions of the 2018 budget letter some have asked for:

This line basically states that the budget crisis is due primarily to the jail cost along with pension issues: "Expenditures however are expected to increase significantly due primarily to the Jail/JTC debt service obligations and pension contributions. The forecast revealed that the consistent disparity between revenues and expenditures will result in the depletion of the General Fund’s reserves by FY2019 and reach a negative $38 million by FY2022."

And this line discusses the $4.8 million that the general fund now transfers to youth programs along with some other spending and the plan to explore a millage to fund these services instead so the general fund can stop paying into them. What that means is the youth programs won't be seeing much of a gain at all. Nearly all of what the millage gives them will be negated by the cutting of the $4.8 million: "The largest appropriation is approximately $4.8 million to the Child Care Fund. Others include $1.6 million to the Public Health Fund, $1.3 million to the Family Court Fund and several others.  The consultant’s report recommended that the County explore special millage options to support specific services to alleviate the need for the General Fund to subsidize these operations."  [*underlining added]

The Ballot Language-----MUSKEGON YOUTH, FAMILY & COMMUNITY MILLAGE QUESTION

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MICHIGAN
BALLOT PROPOSALS
NOVEMBER 7, 2017 ELECTION
OFFICIAL
COUNTY OF MUSKEGON 
YOUTH, FAMILY & COMMUNITY MILLAGE QUESTION
(Expanded-same words with color and bullet points)

*********************************************
"For the purpose of funding Muskegon County’s

  • enhancement of existing youth programs 
  • and for the development of proven youth prevention and treatment programs;
  • family based programs
  • school based services; 
  • increasing the number of foster care
  • and therapeutic foster care homes; 
  • respite care; 
  • crisis housing; 
  • transitional and
  • community aftercare; 
  • psychosocial activities; 
  • residential treatment; 
  • employment
  • services; and 
  • assessment and stabilization treatment programming, 
  • and/or other youth services and operations pursuant to or authorized by Public Act 179 of 1967

, shall the constitutional limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed in one (1)
year upon all property within the County of Muskegon, Michigan, be increased and the
County of Muskegon authorized to levy a new tax of up to 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of
taxable value) for a period of ten (10) years, from 2017 to 2026 inclusive?
The cost per
$100,000 home is $75.00 per year.
If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise an estimated $6.2 million in the first calendar year of the levy based on taxable value. "
********************************************************************************
As written on county website:

"For the purpose of funding Muskegon County’s enhancement of existing youth
programs and for the development of proven youth prevention and treatment programs;
family based programs; school based services; increasing the number of foster care
and therapeutic foster care homes; respite care; crisis housing; transitional and
community aftercare; psychosocial activities; residential treatment; employment
services; and assessment and stabilization treatment programming, and/or other youth
services and operations pursuant to or authorized by Public Act 179 of 1967, shall the
constitutional limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed in one (1)
year upon all property within the County of Muskegon, Michigan, be increased and the
County of Muskegon authorized to levy a new tax of up to 1.5 mills ($1.50 per $1,000 of
taxable value) for a period of ten (10) years, from 2017 to 2026 inclusive? The cost per
$100,000 home is $75.00 per year. If approved and levied in full, this millage will raise
an estimated $6.2 million in the first calendar year of the levy based on taxable value. "

The "Informational" post card.


Click on image to enlarge.


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