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Posted on Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:58 a.m.

Ypsilanti City Council member says every option should be on the table if city is to avert state takeover

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti City Council member Pete Murdock is offering a message to the city: Without significant changes, Ypsilanti could come under control of one of Gov. Rick Snyder’s emergency financial managers.

In a recent presentation to the City Council delivered just before it begins the budget process, Murdock said every type of cut should be on the table and every source of revenue considered if the city wants to avert a state takeover.

The city is projecting that its $9 million in reserves will be gone by the end of fiscal year 2014, which Murdock said gives the city two years to act. Projections also have the city facing a $4.5 million shortfall by 2016.

Under the new "local government and school district fiscal accountability act," a variety of factors could trigger a review of a local government's financial status, such as failing to fulfill a deficit obligation plan, or failing to pay wages or salaries owed to employees or retirees.

The governor may then decide to appoint a team to examine the situation and decide whether the local government meets the conditions of "severe financial distress," defined as threatening the local government’s "current and future capability to provide necessary governmental services essential to the public health, safety, and welfare."

Ultimately, an emergency manager could be appointed.

Murdock said the point of his presentation is to provide a sense of urgency to the situation. He is also calling for the city to develop a five-year plan that would eliminate the deficit.


Pete Murdock

Photo courtesy of Kate de Fuccio

“When we go into the budget process, we need administration to put forth something that projects five years ahead that brings us into solvency,” Murdock said. “We need to know that there’s light at the end of the tunnel and that light isn’t an oncoming train.”

Several main sources of revenue are in jeopardy. State-shared revenue has been declining for a decade, and Snyder is proposing eliminating the statutory revenue-sharing program altogether, though city officials say Ypsilanti is still likely to receive some state funding.

Snyder is also proposing eliminating the personal property tax, which would equate to a roughly $400,000 loss from the general fund.

The city is prevented by state law from raising more than 20 mills for its general fund, and it has already hit that ceiling.

Murdock said many residents aren’t aware of the limited options the city has for generating new revenue, and he discussed some options in his presentation. He underscored that he wasn’t advocating for any of the ideas, just listing the city's choices.

Among them are:

  • A “pay-to-throw” trash system.
  • A citywide income tax.
  • A Headlee override on solid waste millage to generate an additional $65,000 a year.
  • A stormwater utility fee.
  • Asking voters to approve a 4- to 5-mill debt retirement millage for Water Street debt.
  • Reauthorization of bonds issued for street repair.
  • Eliminating or restructuring the Ypsilanti Downtown Development Authority’s funding.

City Manager Ed Koryzno said he agrees with Murdock's assessment of the financial picture and said much of the information presented are ideas that the administration and the council have been discussing for years. But he added there is a new urgency given the decrease in property values and changes proposed at the state level.

“We’ve been doing five-year plans — that’s not anything new, but the circumstances are changing,” Koryzno said. “With the passage of time, the deadline, so to speak, is creeping up.”


Ypsilanti City Manager Ed Koryzno

Murdock said none of the choices is a silver bullet, but the option that would perhaps generate the most money — a citywide income tax — was rejected by voters by a 2 to 1 margin in 2007. Murdock campaigned against that income tax, but said there were reasons at that time to oppose it.

The increase was expected to generate a net of $2 million to $3 million, which Murdock pointed out is still short of the estimated $4.5 million gap facing the city.

The city could put a 4- to 5-mill tax to pay off Water Street debt in front of voters, though Murdock said the chances of that passing are slim. The city bought the 38-acre water street property a decade ago with a plan to develop it into a mixed-use residential area, but the site has failed to attract developers.

Water Street debt service payments are one of the largest factors affecting the city’s budget, and the city made its first $472,000 payment in May. It must continue to make biannual payments that will grow to $1.3 million each by 2015. A “pay-to-throw” trash collection arrangement would require residents to pay a fee for each bag of trash discarded. How much money it would generate would depend on the fee structure the city set up, but Murdock estimated that roughly 60 percent of the 3-mill solid waste millage is spent on trash collection.

“It still doesn’t cover the costs, but one of the ways to deal with that is to look at a program where instead of paying based on the value of your house, base it on how much stuff you throw away. It’s like a utility — the more you use, the more you pay,” Murdock said, adding the idea would also encouraging recycling.

The city could also generate an additional $65,000 with a Headlee override on its solid waste millage. That would restore the city’s ability to capture 3 mills instead of the 2.71 maximum allowed per the Headlee Amendment.

Koryzno said staff is already working on solid waste budget issues.

Murdock estimated that the city could raise an additional $250,000 annually through a stormwater utility fee. The fee is implemented by determining how much of a property is not permeable and applying a fee to it that would be used for the city’s street fund. Murdock said that would free up money to fund street and stormwater line projects.

Koryzno said he proposed that idea in 1997, but the legality of such a fee was in question following several court decisions. He said other cities have implemented the fee in recent years and he has seen renewed interest from the council. If a majority of the council favors the idea during the upcoming budget process, it could be implemented, Koryzno said.

Following his March 1 State of the City address, Mayor Paul Schreiber brought up the possibility of such a fee and said several council members had indicated informally that it was a good idea.

Bonds that voters approved for street repairs in 2000 are set to expire in 2016, Murdock said, and their reauthorization is an option. Residents pay on two millages for the bonds, and Murdock suggested extending those 10 years longer to provide immediate street repair funds.

Murdock also suggested the possibility of eliminating the DDA’s financing district. The DDA is funded through a tax increment financing authority set up in three downtown areas. The assessed value in that district was frozen at the time the district was created, and incremental increases in value go to the DDA, of which roughly 60 percent would be city funds.

"The question is, would we get more bang for our buck if the city spent the money?" Murdock said. That would provide the city with approximately $250,000 annually, though a portion would be used for bond debt retirement for several years before the city could use it. It is the only option that wouldn’t require residents to pay more in taxes or fees.

“I’ve been getting sort of a 'Hmm … this is bad' kind of reaction from people, and that’s the reaction I’m going for,” Murdock said. “You think we have revenue options? This is what they are. We know how to cut stuff, we’ve been doing that for several years. Eventually, we’re going to be paying a lot of money and not having any services. Maybe the city is structurally incapable of providing these services — that could be.”

Council Member Brian Robb said he favored examining all the options, but also expressed frustration with the state’s tax structure and changes coming down from Lansing.

“The deck is stacked against us,” he said. “There is nothing we can do to raise the revenue that will bridge that gap (between revenue and expenditures). We can do everything Pete put in there and there is nothing that will change that.

“The governor isn’t going to make it easy on us. He has proposed a cowardly budget. He said he doesn’t want to break unions so he’s going to make us break them. That’s a horrible way to run a state.”

Council Member Dan Vogt had similar thoughts.

“It’s clear to me that what the Republican majority wants is the local governments not to get any money from the state,” he said. “Whether we like it or not, that’s what we’re getting from the governor, so some kind of tax enhancement is going to be necessary to avoid making further cuts, further serious cuts."

He said the city needs to find the best mix of cuts and "revenue enhancements," which ultimately means new taxes or fees.

“There’s no single magic bullet, and all the magic bullets combined probably won't cure the problem — it’s too deep,” Vogt said. “Is it going to be lay offs, reductions of wages, what do people prefer?”

Vogt said he is planning community forums to discuss what sort of cuts or new taxes and fees residents could support. He said no details on time or location are set, but anyone interested in participating can contact him at

Schreiber said he agreed the situation is serious and said he thought Murdock's presentation helped "sound the alarm," but he cautioned against making too many changes before the state offers its budget. He said he would like to see the city wait until the fiscal year 2013 budget to make any significant changes.

"Things are too fluid at the state level to start sticking stakes in the ground and figuring out where to go," he said.

Tom Perkins is a freelance reporter for Reach the news desk at or 734-623-2530.


Mike Bodary

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 2:17 p.m.

QUOTE OF THE DAY "I want to work with him; I do. But I can't because he has a $900 million money grab in there, and there's no guarantee that the tax cuts for businesses will generate a lot more jobs." - Senate Finance Committee Chair Jack BRANDENBURG (R-Harrison Twp.) telling the Macomb Daily why he's having trouble negotiating with Gov. Rick SNYDER on the Governor's proposed elimination of the income tax exemption on pensions.

Andrew Jason Clock

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 12:38 p.m.

So, there are some other options to scrimp and save where we can, such as forming partnerships with private groups to care for our public parks. We had one of those in place for Riverside and Frog Island parks, but Pete and Brian led the way to eliminate that agreement because, well, they never really explained why. Seems pretty silly now to eliminate a program that was saving the city money, perhaps as much as $20k a year. Like it or not folks, those kinds of arrangements, where local groups, as opposed to state-appointed ones, come in to help run a city service, are really something we'll have to look at to stay afloat. Since it's unlikely that any business or non-profit in their right mind would enter into such an agreement with Ypsilanti, given the way council treated the one that already tried, looks like we'll have to look more at Adopt-a-parks organizations to help take some pressure off of DPS.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

So I'd like a few more facts as we learn more about what the state revenue sharing cuts will mean and while Murdock is pushing tax and fee increases (apparently is SCIT views have changed), I think I want more details about our city budget. I hate to percieved to be on the union busting bandwagon because Rick Snyder's budget 'gap' is something he created by handing a bunch of stuff over to business interests. That being said, I just had a conversation with someone floating some pretty amazing ideas about work rules and money games with what our unionized public employees really get/cost: is it true that our firefighters and police can accrue unlimited sick time and/or vacation time over the course of their entire career and get it paid out when they retire or can retire months (if not years) ahead of time by being 'sick' or on vacation? is it true that there are requirements for more than the needed personnel (police and or fire) to show up for medical or small accident runs? The idea being that it artificially boosts man hours (pushing into more OT)? is it true that the pension pay-out is like 90% of pay instead of a more traditional percentage? And that these union folks pay NOTHING toward those pensions? is it true that these union members do not contribute to their healthcare costs? Lets talk details and data because I think if these things are true, the unions need to bring their expectations into line with what the rest of us work with. If these are not true - then EVERYONE should know it and we can stop the crappy rumor mongering.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 3:23 p.m.

Brian - thats great - better start the PR campaign to make that clear to everyone not hidden in a reply to this comment. I will be doing the same.

Brian Robb

Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:13 p.m.

Ignorance is a dangerous thing in today's highly charged political climate. YPD and YFD members each contribute 10% of their salaries towards retirement. Public safety employees receive no Social Security benefits, as a result, their pensions seem higher than private sector. In addition, every employee (union included) contritubes 2% of salary towards health care costs. Depending on the circumstances (i.e. salary and dependents), some employees pay as much as 40% of health care premium costs. One employee in the YFD is actually paying 66% of premium costs. Top that private sector. Anyone else wishing to make wild accusations can review all of the union contracts in their glory at the City's web site: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 10:21 a.m.

Thanks Pete for your strong leadership. It is good to know that some on council are thinking ahead in this crisis. Hold onto your hat, hard times ahead.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:08 a.m.

Well lets give back or do a short sale to the bank that ownes Waterstreet. plus the value went how much. we can rent out the space for Countyfairs, statefair horse show etc. .... Tollbooth taxes on M-12 for out of town cars trucks.. ALL building in ypsi PAY property taxe more service fees......we senior lose 10% of our staterefund,didto less money to spend in ypsi. All building inspection pay for every season for all rental ,and in all apartment building before new tenants are aloud to move in. Build permit iussed with any add-on over $100... love to see you in ypsi dont bee a gypsi.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:24 p.m.

Pete- The light at the end of the tunnel has been turned off because of budgetary constraints. If you can still see a light, get off the tracks. It's a train!!


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 9:18 p.m.

I don't see much hope ,maybe consolidate police services. People should always vote the last two newly elected officials know nothing about business and I don't think will help much.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

This reminds me of what was called &quot;blockbusting&quot; when I was a kid. I was very young, but I think this is how it worked. It could be a twist on the practice, though with different categories of sellers and buyers. After people on a block sold their houses at lower than market prices,real estate agents sold to other buyers at higher prices. Is the aim in Ypsilanti to buy property at below distressed prices and then invite in businesses searching for cheap production facilities? The gains would not go to residents of Ypsilanti, would they? I'm an Ann Arborite who goes to Depot Town and other places in Ypsi.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 8:18 p.m.

I am shocked to find out that there is one politician who is thinking beyond the next election. It's too bad that his first reflex is to seek &quot;revenue enhancements.&quot;


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

oneofsix, I remember those great days of Ypsilanti also...Glory Days, actually. But between GM and Ford alone Ypsilanti area lost over 18,000 jobs since 1950 and that's just GM and Ford generator plant. I also know first hand how hard it is for someone to try to succeed in a business in downtown Ypsilanti, and to lose everything. Don't think people haven't tried! But a lot of it is perception and some just can't hogtie people and bring them there to eat or shop. So eventually the hardworking shop owners lose it all and leave. I think the City government tried hard to improve the area, by cleaning up the blocks on Michigan Ave from the river to Park St. The timing was horrible and it didn't have a payoff except in appearance. So here we are...we've got what we've got. We can't go back to 1950(although I'd love to! LOL) Now what do we do? That is where I think Ypsi City and EMU need to get together and work on some collaboration. It can't hurt. EMU is a big part of the City. So act like it!


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:50 p.m.

Glen S: People don't like Walker because he is going after Unions unnecessarily. He is doing this because he knows Unions contribute to the Democratic party. It wasn't a money saving measure, as the Unions voluntarily agreed to all the cuts Walker asked for.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:21 p.m.

God bless Ypsilanti and Mayor Murdoch for his leadership. We need to get together to find a solution or Governor Snyder will appoint an EFM to do it for us.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:11 a.m.

the mayor is Paul Schreiber


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:53 p.m.

I have been around the Ypsilanti area since the late 1950's and have seen the steady decline of the general downtown area over the years. Only recently have they attempted to clean up the messes made over the years to attract new business and weed out the sleaze of the seedier side it had the reputation for. I do remember that Ypsi was a destination for locals in the 60's and early 70's. With the Martha Washington Theater, Bimbo's, Melencamps, the Tap Room, sledding at Riverside Park in the winter as well as the rejuvenation of depot Town. They missed the boat many years ago by leaving the Thompson block to deteriorate, along with the train station that sat boarded up for too many years, that I find it hard to recall if I ever saw it in use. When your main thoroughfare is nothing more then junk scrap yards, abandoned warehouses , strip malls and antiquated facades, you have to wonder where the vision was all those years ago. Don't get me wrong, I do love Ypsi, but it should have been transitioned into the 21st century long ago. Michigan Avenue should be a gateway filled with vibrancy and a sense of great design through proper planning. This mess the city finds itself in may indeed change Ypsilanti forever. Maybe that's not such a bad thing. The next couple of years will shake out the difference between the leaders who have vision and those who don't see a need for change.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:27 p.m.

Those junk yards and scrap heaps are in Ypsilanti Township. Blame Roe, Doe, and 'Bo for that mess.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:51 p.m.

The third Google search result for &quot;City income tax&quot; is the 2007 Ypsi Stop City Income Tax Committee proclamation. I didn't live in Ypsi in 2007 but the numbers quoted in the SCIT statement are fairly unpleasant. I am not sure how much they have changed in the interim, but I'm guessing they haven't changed for the better. I am also confused by Murdock's statement that charging for trash services would encourage recycling. What would stop the City from charging for recycling pick up as well as trash?


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 3:54 p.m.

Snyder is trying to force local political to clean up their own mess. It's about time. The local politicians are upset because any significant action by them to solve problems could hurt their chances for reelction. Everyone should know that is what important to them, reelection. The voters, don't make me laugh.

John Spelling

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 3:17 p.m.

I just don't see the problem with Snyder's plan. Many of you folks whine but offer no viable alternative. Ypsilanti has two to three years to get their house in order. If they don't, then the State, which is you and me, comes in to do it for them. If your local leaders can't resolve this issue, then you've hired the wrong leaders. So stop with the whining about Snyder and his proposals. If you don't like his plans, then offer up some something better. What should be done when Ypsilanti is broke in 3 years? Personally, I will vote no to any tax increase until all options have been exhausted to reduce spending. And one option on the table should be the privatization of all city services. Lastly, Schreiber says he'd like to wait until the 2013 budget before making significant changes. Really? To me that suggests an emergency manager is already needed.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 3 p.m.

Tom, I'll bite. When will AA need to &quot;make changes to avert takeover&quot;? How many years of cash does AA have on hand? I think all communities are going to be making changes for just this avert-takeover reason, not just Ypsilanti.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 2:55 p.m.

The one thing I remember is the fight over that one place before it was demolished, across from DQ, I think it was a rug place, they wanted to keep what they had, rebuild it to look nice, but Ypsi sued them out of there. Now they are on Jackson road and will never set foot inside Ypsi again. Kind of said really. A business wanted to help out but was refused. This could get real messy if Ypsi turns a blinds eye on water street and says no to even a little business that wants to attract bigger businesses. If I am not mistaken, Old Navy thought about settling in and said no way when they realized that Ypsi still had a strip joint. Guess that says a lot for morals. Good luck with that eye sore. Not surprised Ypsi is in trouble again.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:16 a.m.

So ypsi has college student and so has AnnArbor together about 85 000 student , we need the TRAIN to stop and brind more people her.. You should have see what the rugplace left!


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:49 p.m.

by trouble do you mean a $9million surplus? That's an interesting description of a surplus, but I'll go with it.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 2:52 p.m.

Mr. Murdock continues to discuss ways to increase revenue by adding fees and taxes. Did you notice his laundry list did not include the re-negotiation of union contracts and other city obligations brought on through irresponsible collective bargaining? Until that stone is turned-over I will not consider additional fees or taxes as a viable option.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:43 p.m.

I think he's referring to the big pay cut the city made the firefighters take in last year's contract negotiations.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:06 p.m.

exactly what &quot;irresponsible collective bargaining&quot; are you referring to?


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

If I owned property and paid property in the city and they tell me I now will have to spend additional for refuse collection, I would personally deliver my garbage to city hall. With the mills that these poor residents pay, the addition of itemizing fundamental services at additional costs is insulting at the least.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 9:33 p.m.

Pittsfield Twp resident pay for trash p/u. God forbid residents actually pay for a service they use. Good Night and Good Luck

David Paris

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 6:43 p.m.

Exactly! They already pay for the service, or it wouldn't be getting done in the first place, why make them pay twice? Oh, because they're not Explicitly paying for it. Let's see, how many services does the city provide that are not currently explicitly itemized in their tax bills? I see no end in site if they are allowed to use this tactic. Good luck Ypsilanti!


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 2:20 p.m.

Finally! Someone is talking about increasing REVENUE!


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 2:03 p.m.

It cracks me up to see conservatives reflexively attack public sector unions and public spending, bemoaning Ypsilanti's fiscal circumstances. In an article that mentioned that the city currently has $9million in reserves in its first paragraph. I wish more communities would irresponsibly have $9million in reserves.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Once again councilmember Murdoch sees the big picture and Schreiber doesn't. Murdoch is the one willing to step up and lead. Good job Mr. Mayor. Good job.

zip the cat

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 1:07 p.m.

I don't want anything to do with anything trickey rick has any hand in. He is without a doubt the absolute worst thing this state could ever come up with. If your a worker of any type or senior,he is your worst enemy. If your well off or rich he's your man. I for one can't wait for the recall to begin. Ypsi needs a good house cleaning,but not by richie rich


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 12:45 p.m.

I don't know that I disagree that Ypsi is poorly run, as one of the comments indicates. The city population has routinely approved funding (the T-word) for services and enhancements, and with exception of the (one really big project) that has failed to thrive, you can look around and see the results. There is and has been a surplus, and a forward-looking mentality on part of council to keep things that way. The city crime that is always brought up in the AA-blog-née-paper would be much lower if Ypsilanti township could bother to regulate their folks (or we could keep them out), but that another comment. Zip code for Zip code, Ann Arbor crime rates are about the same as Ypsi's-- high AND low. What gets me is the new government takeover language that the Governor is implementing. It's so broad that anything qualifies a local government for takeover. I wonder: can we at least buy stock in whatever cronie-corporation our local governments (and monies) are going to be outsourced to? Ann Arbor's in the same boat- look at any one of a number of city-funded projects that are going to be in the red (you have a nice 4 story deep hole for one). Any one of those is enough to make a local government disposable, with the existing language.

Wolf's Bane

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 12:08 p.m.

It is no secret that Ypsilanti has been on the verge of financial collapse for a while now; many posts are absolutely right, Ypsilanti has very different financial concerns than Ann Arbor - far more basic. However, I strongly disagree with Gov. Ricky's notion to turning Ypsilanti over the one of his 'emergency managers'. Please, Ypsilanti, heed Pete Murdock's call to action and start strategizing. As for suggestions on how to proceed? How about a spine? Let's see Ypsilanti's city council actual DO something, like, for example, figure out what Beal's true intentions really are with the Thompson Block ruin? How about charging Park usage permit fees and raising them? How about competing with Ann Arbor for some new developments or rehabbing some of that beautiful downtown architecture that Ann Arbor destroyed long ago in its own downtown? How about a renaissance zone with EMU (Your most steady and perhaps largest employer within the city)? How just DO something!!!


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:38 a.m.

I'm not a Ypsi City resident but I do care about Ypsi City. It's in bad shape. 1. Hindsight is 20-20. We can learn from history, but we can't change it. 2. Internal backbiting is harmful to the city. Stop blaming one person on either side of the fence. 3. Stop the robotic-anti-union attack. Ypsi is one example of admins and workers teaming up to help in a bad economy. 4.Try to be positive. I wonder if any of the profs in the public administration and finance areas at EMU have any ideas that they could offer? Would they be willing to sit down with City administrators and a group of workers to talk about solutions? Susan Martin, will you go to your best EMU profs in the public administration and finance fields (and you have some of the BEST) and ask your profs to volunteer to help the ailing City of Ypsi? A successful vibrant Ypsilanti could be a big plus for EMU! And you could win over a lot of taxpayers and a lot of potential donors. Also, could EMU and Ypsilanti's police departments merge? They already patrol much of the same territory. Just some thoughts.

Glen S.

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:35 a.m.

I don't often agree with Brian Robb, but he's right about this: Unlike Wisconsin's Governor Walker (who at least had the courage to stand behind his insane, corporate-sponsored, anti-union, anti- working and middle-class &quot;plan&quot;) Snyder is cowardly hiding behind the theme of &quot;shared sacrifice,&quot; while outsourcing the dirty work of slashing services and cutting unions to locally-elected officials. Essentially, he is putting a gun to the heads of local officials (the threat of an EFM) while saying, &quot;Go ahead, it's your choice.&quot; However, at this point, Snyder's proposals are just that -- proposals. So, before we declare defeat and announce that &quot;everything is on the table,&quot; I think mayors, city council members, school superintendents, and school board members from every community and school district that would be devastated by these cuts owe it to their constituents to unite and go to Lansing and make their best case for why this plan will spell disaster for so many of our communities and schools. People all around the state are just now starting to realize that this is no longer just about struggling communities like Ypsilanti. Recently, many other Michigan communities and school districts which, until recently, thought they would never face significant budget challenges are waking up to realize that they are next in line. Just two examples: One of the wealthiest communities in the state, Troy, recently shuttered its City library; while West Bloomfield Township recently instituted furlough days for municipal staff. ... Surely, if you add up all the residents of all the communities that stand to lose under this plan -- as well as all the people who live in school districts who'll be negatively affected -- we are a solid majority of Michigan residents. Instead of declaring defeat, let's band together and tell our Governor and Legislators to go back to the drawing board to come up with a rational, sustainable model for revenue and spend

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:29 a.m.

Won't matter. The 18th and last trigger for the new EFM law amounts to &quot;just because&quot;. If the guv wants to turn Ypsi over to his business buddies, he will. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:51 p.m.

&quot;At least one regular poster from the People's Republic of Ann Arbor would consider Chairman Mao and his successors to be fascist! So it is not really an insult, just inaccurate labeling.&quot; And with that we know exactly how much value to place on this post. Seriously. Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 9:44 p.m.

@ghost, Yes, &quot;Republican&quot;, &quot;conservative&quot;, &quot;teapartyist&quot;, &quot;libertarian&quot;, &quot;fascist&quot;, &quot;Nazi&quot;, and &quot;TeaPublican&quot; are all insults hurled from the far left at moderately liberal Democrats. At least one regular poster from the People's Republic of Ann Arbor would consider Chairman Mao and his successors to be fascist! So it is not really an insult, just inaccurate labeling.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 8:22 p.m.

@Murph, Thanks for the update. @Steve, Didn't know &quot;teapartyist conservative&quot; was an insult. More than a few people wear that as a badge of honor. Is there some hidden derogatory meaning about which I am not aware? Good Night and Good Luck


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 6:35 p.m.

Mr. Ghost - While the initial bill heard by the House included the ability for a corporation to be appointed as an emergency manager, the final version of the local government and school district fiscal accountability act that was signed into law as PA 4 of 2011 had that provision removed. Sec. 15(5) of the Act specifies the requirements for an emergency manager, including &quot;(c) The emergency manager shall be an individual.&quot;

Steve Hendel

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 6:31 p.m.

Well, Ed, did YOU ever take a job unless you thought that you and/or your family would somehow benefit? There's nothing wrong, in and of itself, with the profit motive; only with the abuse of it. Speaking of abuse, why don't you stop calling people names like &quot;tea-party conservatives&quot; just because they disagree with you? I think anyone who knows me would get a laugh out of that one. Hope I didn't make any misteaks (sic) in this one to awake your inner pedant.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:38 p.m.

If the guv appoints a company to be EFM, the state will pay that company's fee, and the company will not take the job unless it improves their bottom line. What is it about basic capitalism that teapartying conservatives seem not to understand? Good Night and Good Luck

Basic Bob

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:20 p.m.

Ed, there's no profit to be had from the state, either. You have a very suspicious view of the policy changes, Chicken Little.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:01 p.m.

&quot;What's Ypsi got thT [sic] they would want?&quot; That's the wrong question. The new EFM law permits companies to be appointed as EFM. Those companies will not take on the job unless they profit from it, and certainly the guv know this. And the EFM will work for the state; its fees will come from the state, not the city. Why would a company take the job? To make a profit of the fees paid by the state while they dismantle the city. Ain't capitalism great?!?! Good Night and Good Luck

Steve Hendel

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 3:37 p.m.

Nonsense. &quot;Turn Ypsi over to his business buddies.&quot;? What's Ypsi got thT they would want, other than debt, deficits and decaying infrastructure?


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:23 a.m.

No more spending like a drunken sailor for special interests.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 1:37 p.m.

I hate those special interests like fire and police.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:21 a.m.


Brian Dye

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:17 a.m.

Once again, feeling the pain of Water Street... Maybe that Burger King that wanted to buy up a parcel of Water Street wasn't such a bad idea... Instead of trying to burry the debt that was incurred on Water Street, why not actually sell some of those parcels that were cleared and prepped for development just last year.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:30 a.m.

In a differnt State the cityfathers couldnot make up there mind of what to do .with there after 3 year mother nature did here thing and NOW it is a nature park with wildflower birds and insect again..


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 12:20 p.m.

That project ruined the city , along with DBP 's


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:11 a.m.

"Pay-to-throw" trash collection seems like a good way to encourage illegal dumping.

Basic Bob

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:18 p.m.

I have never seen a state with more trash next to the highway as Michigan. Add in the abandoned building, and it is a big mess. Truly disgusting that the people here don't care at all about the natural beauty of the state. Pay-to-throw is common place in many places (like Chelsea, MI) although a few people will take their extra garbage to a dumpster at work.

City Confidential

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:41 a.m.

I shudder to think what our parks, natural areas, vacant lots and dead end streets will look like if this &quot;pay-to-throw&quot; idea goes through. Who will be responsible for cleaning up all of the illegally dumped trash (and paying to throw it away)? Welcome to Ypsitucky. If that's offensive to you, take a drive down through Ohio and Kentucky and take note of the ways that people dispose of their trash down there. Also, the fire department would need to hire additional staff to deal with all of the illegal trash burning.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:57 a.m.

Mr Murdock is focused on increasing revenue. One item after another listed to close the gap. Charge more for this. Enact a new charge for that. Yet not one of them was to reduce spending. &quot;Maybe the city is structurally incapable of providing these services — that could be. The ultimate example of putting the cart before the horse. I suggest Ann Arbor sit up and take notice. We are quite smug in our ability to weather any financial storm, yet it has been recently demonstrated that we are flirting with real financial trouble.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:54 a.m.

that is RICH coming from Murdock. Mr. &quot;Oh we don't need an income tax&quot; himself. How are those predictions you made working out? oh yeah, not so well. This from the guy who opined about regulating the newspaper dispensers. @Macabre- Ypsilanti hasn't been Ann Arbor in either its contracts or its more general spending. Please review the budget numbers for the past years. I think one of the &quot;options' missing is a comprehensive review of codes and zoning with an eye to ' simplification and removal. Lighten the load on all of us. This is city has a tough tough tough reputation when it comes to working with property owners and developers on anything from new construction to simple renovations. Figure out a way to make it easy - other cities have.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 10:38 a.m.

@ lorie, I would refer to Pete as rich in experience and deeply caring about Ypsi...which is why he is serving and planning ahead. And thank God we do not have that city income tax that would burden all of us in these tough times and not be enough...

dading dont delete me bro

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:51 a.m.

do you really think snyder wants to take over each and every city? reminds me of the mortgage companies, do you really think they want to get into the real estate business?


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

Just a thought..take it what you will. There are 170 elgible distressed areas in Michigan (including Ann Arbor, Ypsi, etc..): <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> There have been 175 EFMS in training who will be given a salary of 170,000 a year: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Is that not a coincidence? I hope not. and in other news which isn't being reported on Michigan cuts jobless benefits by 6 weeks <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;partner=rss&amp;emc=rss</a>


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:25 a.m.

Maybe we should advertise inON Wallstreet CITY for SALE can be had ..Or second chioce .become indepenet from the U S A and washington and we become a foereign Country and ask washington for foreign AID ..CASH etc. YEars ago the UP wanted to go first , maybe the time has come.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 4:40 p.m.

You are mighty trusting. In my opinion your theory will have those in power screwing us over just up to our breaking point -- which basically means just up to the point where by screwing us, they screw themselves.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:46 a.m.

<a href=""></a> <a href=""></a> Looks like Ypsi and their employees have been working toward cost savings for a while now.

Adam Jaskiewicz

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:40 a.m.

I think this is exactly Snyder's goal with the emergency financial manager legislation. He doesn't want to actually take over local governments, he wants to scare them into making the changes necessary to avoid a takeover. I have some issues with the EFM law, but if just having it there convinces local governments to make changes, those issues aren't going to come into play.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 1:57 p.m.

whatsupwithMI Thats why you must vote wisely. If you vote for someone whos willing to give you something you don't deserve or not willing to work for, you better believe they are going also give themselves something they don't deserve or willing to work for.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 1:01 p.m.

The problem with these bizarre and open-ended government powers is that while they may have been worded for one specific situation, once enacted the language will live on _forever_ and the power they give WILL be used on other targets- and used inappropriately.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:40 a.m.

Macabre, Examples of &quot;no conscience-contracts&quot; with the City of Ypsilanti, please?


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 12:57 p.m.

David: What??? sources, please. I think you misinterpreted a headline you glanced at once, while you were still asleep, before you had your coffee and your eyes were connected to any thought process. (are you referring to the State Patrol station closing, that will have NO effect on state patrol services, and has nothing to do with city policing, let alone city expenditures or contracts?) you might want to reread your comment about regurgitation without questioning.

David Barry

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 11:05 a.m.

Well I know they are closing the Ypsilanti police station for cost savings. We cannot hire more police officers. I think some people just regurgitate stuff they are told because it sounds right without actually questioning anything.

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 10:19 a.m.

The days of profligate spending are over, Ypsilanti. Decades of no-conscience contracts with city employees has created this artificial crisis. Snyder understands that Michigan will be bankrupt within years if we don't get public compensation in line with the private sector.


Tue, Mar 29, 2011 : 1:20 a.m.

SO Snyder understands , well he hired two poeple and gave them a salary of $ 250,000 and $ 300,000 ...because he can..all other sacrifie....Ardesta in training

Macabre Sunset

Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 5:52 p.m.

Ypsilanti has certainly taken the recession more seriously than its counterpart across the county. But in cutting the budget it has specifically avoided tackling the issue of public union employee compensation (the plan includes a 5% reduction in wages for &quot;non-union&quot; workers, but still maintains pensions and the Cadillac benefits for union workers). They also decided not to lay off as many police/fire workers as planned. As a result, spending remains consistent while revenues decline 10%. The no-conscience contracts are the ones negotiated with unions that simply spent the tax revenue collected during better years rather than anticipating that there would inevitably be bad years.


Mon, Mar 28, 2011 : 12:40 p.m.

Dang. Typo. Example of &quot;profligate spending,&quot; please?