Thursday, January 27, 2011

No meeting today- Read this instead!-Muskegon County Budget

Muskegon County Budget
"The budget document presented here represents excerpts of pertinent information contained in our formal budget document but does not include all of the schedules included in that document.

This on-line document contains the following information:"

No County board meeting today so I won't be at Carmen's at 3:00.
I'll just have to read the county budget to satiate my lust for painful information.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yikes, I almost forgot this gem!

from the minutes:
"Leslie Rohs, Muskegon County Sustainability Coordinator, introduced herself to the Board.
In a response to Commissioner Scolnik, she gave a brief description of her goals decrease waste and increase recycling efforts by working with departments in Muskegon County."

I know she was being nice but Ms. Rohs shocked most everyone in the room with her self introduction.
Us TeaPartiers looked at each other with rolled eyes and the commissioners (who had just emerged from a planning session that suggested financial Armageddon was just around the corner) had bug-eyes as they wondered what she did and how the heck a new "coordinator" job was created during a hiring freeze.

What exactly she does was still fuzzy in the eyes of most in the room.

I'll try to report back on how this happened and what it costs you, the taxpayer.

County planning session and full board meeting notes

First, the easy stuff.
The full board meeting was mostly dull except for my request that there be an accounting of the cost of the expanded MATS system routes last year.
And ridership numbers for those routes.
County Admin. Hammersley promised those would be forthcoming soon.
This is important because the county needs to account cost with expected benefits BEFORE they vote for more spending.
A new concept we hope to remind them to do in the future.
I'll report back.

Jim Riley addressed the Board regarding analysis of recent changes in the MATS Bus routes. Administrator Hammersley responded that the Transit Manager is monitoring this and will present quarterly reports to the Board which may be made public in about a month.

There was a bruhaha at the end as some young folks protested the county sheriff's new policy to refuse to deliver sealed envelopes to inmates.
They were fervent.
Sheriff Roesler responded.
One called his response a lie.
Blood pressure rose......
Guy with gun wins again.

Dang, this got too long.

I'll report on the planning session in a new post.

It's "Jag-ur", like Mick Jagger!

Most everyone at yesterday's planning session mispronounced our new GOPer county commissioner Alan Jager's name (me too).

Maybe it's time we started to get it right?

He seems to be a guy who's going to be around our county for a LONG time.

Thank God!

Add this meeting to your calendar!

Moved by Derezinski, seconded by Snider, to schedule a work session for the Board of Commissioner for Tuesday, February 22, 2011 at 1:30 p.m. in the Training Center Building.

The County commission is planning on monthly "work sessions" because things may get real sporty this year.

Lot's of possibilities for taxpayer input if we really care.

We'll be there, right?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Today's County Commission Full Board notes from me (pre-meeting)

Not too much happening at the full board today except this MATS $1,215,023 application.
When we expanded bus routs last year, how much did it cost and how many people rode compared to the cost.

I'll ask the question.

Will I get an answer?
The Transportation Committee met on January 20, 2011; it was recommended, and I:

Move to approve the Muskegon Area Transit System's FY2012 application for $1,215,023 in state operating and capital assistance, to authorize the Resolution of Intent to apply for financial assistance, to name the County Administrator as the Transportation Coordinator, and to publish the public notice.

Move to approve Supplemental Agreement NO.7 to Lease No. HSCG84-06-LC34002, extending the lease agreement between the County and U.S. Coast Guard for the Air Facility located at the Airport, through FY2016, in the amount of $l,778.32jmonth, and further authorize the Chairman to execute said Supplemental Agreement.

Move to approve allowing Purchasing to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) on behalf of the Airport, seeking a concessionaire to sell advertising space inside the terminal bUilding.

Move to approve allOWing the Purchasing Department to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP), on behalf of the Airport, seeking proposals from experienced firms to proVide Air Service Development, Recruitment, Consulting and Market Research for the Airport.

Muskegon Commissioners vote yes

Muskegon Commissioners vote yes
"Muskegon County has added 5 new county commissioners.

They have been on the job for less than 30 days and already new commissioner Alan Jager has earned the reputation as a NO man.

What I wonder is WHY he is the only one?"

Great question!
We need more commissioners like Alan Jager and more interested citizens like Susie!

Monday, January 24, 2011

BIG County meeting tomorrow!

This is an important meeting!

Muskegon County Commissioners will meet in a "Planning Session" 1:30 tomorrow, Tuesday Jan. 25.
The meeting will be held at the old Baker College campus on Apple Ave. (near the corner of Apple and Spring St.) in the Training Center room 202.
It would be easiest to park in the lot behind the complex, just off Pine St. Call me at 231-557-9912 if you need directions or any other info.

Why is this important?
Simply because the commissioners have chosen not to publicize these quarterly meetings.

And things get done in the dark.

They want to converse among themselves without us citizens intruding.

Well, I think we citizens ought to intrude because our leaders have driven our county to the brink of bankruptcy on their own.
Maybe we could help our commissioners avoid us all falling off this fiscal cliff?
So if you care about the direction of our county, please plan on attending.

All citizens are welcome!
I'll be at Carmen's at 1:00 if you want to meet and discuss the meeting.
Then I'll go to the planning meeting.

There is also a full board meeting at 3:30 at the county building.
See you there!

Jim Riley

Saturday, January 22, 2011

City of Muskegon officials concerned about financial prospects of neighboring communities

City of Muskegon officials concerned about financial prospects of neighboring communities
"One way all of the municipalities in Muskegon County can strengthen their collective financial condition would be through functional consolidation of services, Warmington said."

This is like a really bad Saturday Night Live skit.
Muskegon worried about its neighbors financial stability?

Consolidation is simply another word that means taking money from rich communities and giving it to fiscally suicidal governments.

If the city fathers were so generous and forward thinking, why not consolidate with Muskegon Heights right NOW?

Gov. Rick Snyder says state employee sacrifice coming

Gov. Rick Snyder says state employee sacrifice coming
"State employees, who received a 3 percent pay raise this year"

Sacrifice coming?
And not a minute too soon!

Friday, January 21, 2011

More NS millage links

On February 22, 2011, the City of Norton Shores will have a special election for a Fire and Police Millage.  This millage would allow City Council to levy up to 2 mills for 10 years. 
The millage would provide funds specifically for Fire and Police Services. 
Please see attached items for more information.

Norton Shores union contract links

Read them and give me some feedback!

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2012

United States Senate election in Michigan, 2012 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"The 2012 Michigan United States Senate election will be held on November 6, 2012"

Interesting that I just got a robo-call poll asking about who I'd support from these:


I'm a delegate to the GOP state convention.

I've never heard of Tim Lauliette.

Should be interesting!

Bonus Payments to City Retirees Are Drawing Ire

Bonus Payments to City Retirees Are Drawing Ire -
"As San Francisco struggles under ballooning pension and health care costs, the city’s retirees will receive unexpected cost-of-living bonuses totaling $170 million. The city’s anticipated budget deficit for the coming year is $360 million."

Not really a Muskegon issue but our county does give Christmas bonuses to most employees.

Do we really need bonuses when we're broke?

theblogprof: “Together We Thrive” metastasizing in Arizona

theblogprof: “Together We Thrive” metastasizing in Arizona

Of all the Irish Bars I ever loved before, Hennessy's of Muskegon Michigan has made the list. - wanderingwilbo's posterous

Of all the Irish Bars I ever loved before, Hennessy's of Muskegon Michigan has made the list. - wanderingwilbo's posterous
"Hennessy's Pub in Muskegon's Cheesetown"

I attended Hennessy's last night and it was a good experience.
2nd day jitters ought to be worked out shortly.

Very well done inside with the "Pub" in the back.

Lot's of Irish beers and promises of Irish music on weekends and maybe during some weekdays.

The owners are the same who own the Little Caesars pizza joints locally so their non compete clause prohibits them from serving pizza.

But this is Irish food central for Muskegon and the menu looks great.

It's downtown across from Carmen's Cafe in the old G&L Hotdogs building.

With rumors of MAC problems (Totally rumors!) Hennessy's may be the new Visconte's of old for the county building/lawyer set.

See you there!

Muskegon bar sells $1 million lottery ticket; winner unknown

Muskegon bar sells $1 million lottery ticket; winner unknown
"Someone in Muskegon is $1 million richer today, according to the Michigan Lottery."

Funny story.
A few days ago I called the Muskegon County Administrator's office to try to find the county union contracts on the county web site.
I spoke to a nice woman, Lisa, who told me they were working on getting them online and she would get back with me in a few days.

Yesterday I mentioned my quest to a commissioner and was told that "Lisa" was Lisa Chalko who just won $1 million dollars and was on her way to Lansing to pick up her check.

Lisa's not answering her work phone today.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bankruptcy for States

The Volokh Conspiracy » Bankruptcy for States
"[S]tate bankruptcy could even permit a restructuring of the Cadillac pension benefits that states have promised to public employees.

These are often “vested” under state law, and in some states, like California, are protected by the state constitution.
Under state law, little can be done to adjust them to more reasonable amounts.

Although the law is somewhat murky, there is a strong argument that bankruptcy could provide for an adjustment of these obligations.

Unless the state’s “guarantees” were construed as a property right protected by the Takings Clause of the Constitution (which is doubtful if there is no collateral or other indicia of a property right), the federal bankruptcy law would trump contrary state law under the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause."

Muskegon County budget on-line!

Newly elected County Commissioner Alan Jager's wife Tammy sent us this nifty link:

The county budget is at the following address:

You can find it by doing the following steps as well:

Go to Muskegon County Government page

click on County Departments

click on Finance/Management

click on Budget Services

click on FY20011 Adopted (that is the budget)

Isn't it refreshing when our electeds actually go out of their way to inform us taxpayers?

I like the new attitude!

County commission meeting 1-20-2011 tomorrow 3:30

Odd that the first transportation committee meeting of the year agenda is still not posted on the county site.
I hope it's not a bad omen for new chairwoman Rillastine R. Wilkins.
Or is there something they want to hide from us?

Otherwise not too much going on tomorrow except this little gem.

I move to approve purchase of a new utility vehicle for the Parks from the Power Shop for their bid of $11,980 (RFB-11-1848) with costs being paid by parks fund 2080-0691.

It appears the "parks fund" doesn't exist.
Yes, it's a minor expense but it's another example of the same old mentality that is breaking our county's financial back.

Maybe we'll find out more tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Let's vote even if we don't know how much it will cost!

Next agenda for Muskegon County commission.
With my favorite below.
Call your commissioner or expect to get the same old.......and it will eventually hurt some you know.
Maybe even you or your kids or grandkids.


Attached is Bulletin #4 for the Hall of Justice renovation project. This bulletin deletes the original configuration of the second floor holding cell and reconfigures it to only be accessed from the Hall of Justice side. In addition, this bulletin makes provisions to add a stop for the west jail elevator on the second floor of the HOJ and reconfigures the law library and jury selection room to accommodate the new elevator stop. Security items such as cameras and card readers are being added to this bulletin. Some electrical items necessary to bring the elevator up to current code are also added into this bulletin.

The total cost for all this work will be $........ and will be added to a future Contract Change Order on this project. Costs for this work are being paid from the Hall of Justice renovation fund, 4130-4131.

SUGGESTED MOTION (STATE EXACTLY AS IT SHOULD APPEAR IN THE MINUTES) I move to approve the work outlined in Bulletin #4 for the Hall of Justice renovation project (RFB-1 0-1739) for a cost of $....... with the costs being paid from the Hall of Justice renovation project fu nd 4130-4131 .

This is the rest of what's on the agenda for this Thursday's county commission meeting:

Items for Consideration

WM11/01 -01 (Administration) Approve Accounts Payable WM11/01 -02 (Administration) Authorize Board Chair to Sign Amendment NO.1 to the Meinert County Park Acquisition Grant

WM11/01 -03 (Drain Commission) Approval to Reclassify Drain inspector Full Time (N28001) into 3 Drain Inspector Seasonal Positions and Authorize Drain Commissioner to Attend Summer and Winter Drain Commission Conferences

WM11/01 -04 (Hunan Resources) Award the Proposal to James T. Stokes to Provide Intensive Classroom Based Services Designed to Enhance the Life and Employability Skills of Jobseekers

WM11/01 -05 (Human Resources) Award the Proposal to Community enCompass to Provide Construction Skills Training, Workplace Readiness Training and GED Assistance

WM11/01 -06 (Public Works) Authorize Staff to Solicit Bids for the Custodial Services for the Muskegon County Facilities

WM11/01 -07 (Public Works) Approve the Work Outlined in Bulletin #4 for Hall of Justice Renovation Project

Challenge for Muskegon County Board's chairmanship falls short

Challenge for Muskegon County Board's chairmanship falls short
"The party split on the new county board is 7-4 in favor of Democrats, although it is likely that the vote for chairman was not made strictly along party lines.
The vote was completed by secret ballot, but Derezinski, as the one making the nomination of Snider, apparently crossed over, meaning at least one Republican must have voted for Mahoney."

One Muskegon RHINO GOPer got his thirty pieces of silver in exchange for his vote.
Who sold his soul for a committee plum?

How will his sell out affect the GOPer "family"?

A couple of other observations:

1. The Snyder as vice-chair crossover votes were expected to mollify the GOPers.
I think not.

2. Citizen fired, commissioner Bill Gill never said the pledge to the flag or had hand over heart during county meetings.

My understanding is his belief that our country is a racist and unfair country precluded his participating in the Pledge during the meetings.
Gill's replacement on the board, Anthony Longmire seemed to mouth the words of the Pledge, but did not have his hand over his heart during the official Pledge.

Both are African Americans.

3. Even though 4 of the 11 commissioners are republicans, expect Mahoney to stack the committee chairs with democrats.
Business as usual in (bankrupt) Muskegon county.

Is there any wonder why our geographically blessed county is still called the mistake on the lake by those who live AND WORK outside Muskegon?