You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:55 a.m.

Washtenaw County board chairman postpones vote on massive bond issue for second time

By Amy Biolchini

Citing still-unanswered questions and uncertain requirements from the state, Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners Chairman Yousef Rabhi announced this week that a vote on a major bond issue the county is considering has been postponed for the second time.

The bond issue could be up to $345 million to cover long-term retiree benefit costs that the county estimates it will shoulder throughout the next 25 years.


Yousef Rabhi

Andrew Kuhn | File photo for

The county would be responsible for paying off the bond with interest out of its general fund. The bond proceeds would fulfill the county’s required contribution to its pension and health care trust funds for retirees.

Those trust fund payments have been increasing year over year for the county. In 2012, that payment was about $20.6 million. Estimates for this year project the payment to be $22.3 million.

The board was slated to vote July 10 to issue a formal “Notice of Intent” to issue the bond at both its Ways and Means Committee meeting and regular meeting that follows.

A passing vote would have initiated a 45-day referendum period. Should residents collect 15,000 signatures on a petition, the bond issue would have to be placed on a ballot for voter approval.

Rabhi said that the commissioners still have questions about other alternatives to issuing the bonds to cover the county’s debts — and so he wasn’t comfortable having the board vote on the matter July 10.

Rabhi learned Wednesday from county Finance Director Kelly Belknap that the Michigan State Department of Treasury has not developed a list of items that a local government must submit for approval when considering a bond issue — which also prompted his decision to postpone the vote.

The ability of local governments to issue bonds to cover long-term retiree benefit debts was made possible by a state law — Public Act 329 — signed in October.

Several other municipalities in Michigan are pursuing such a bond issue, including Saginaw County and Bloomfield Township.

It’s not the first time Rabhi has announced a decision to push back a vote on the bond issue. Just two weeks after the bond issue was made public May 2, the board was facing a vote to initiate the bond issue process — though an updated actuary report had not yet been delivered.

Rabhi stated at that May 15 meeting that he would be pushing back the vote on the bond issue.

At the request of several commissioners, including Rabhi, county administration set a schedule of public hearings, a press conference and presentation sessions and created an informational website.

The major point of contention for most on the bond issue is that no alternatives have been discussed or presented by the administrative staff.

Additionally, the potential bias of the bond counsel team of John Axe of Axe & Ecklund and his daughter, Meredith Shanle of Municipal Financial Consultants Incorporated, has been called into question as they will only get paid should the county decide to issue the bonds.

Administrator Verna McDaniel presented the bond issue proposal to the Board of Commissioners as a way to manage the payment schedule of the increasing contribution demands to pension and retiree health care trust funds.

Though the county has been paying out its required amount to both trust funds, the funds’ under performance has contributed to the increasing amount the county must allocate to paying them off.

Based on a 25-year payment schedule, the county is planning to issue up to a $345 million bond to cover both the pension and retiree health care trust fund debts, based on an actuarial report of the employees covered by those plans.

After Jan. 1, 2014, employees will no longer be admitted to either of those plans.

New estimates show that the amount needed to cover the projected debt will be substantially less than $345 million.

McDaniel continues to present the bond issue as the only way for the board to continue to provide a number of services without having to make drastic cuts necessary in order for the county to conform to a new four-year budget process that McDaniel asked the board to approve.

Commissioners have asked questions about other options than issuing bonds for the debt.

McDaniel’s budget presentation states $6.99 million must be cut from the county’s operations to have a break-even budget in 2014-17. About $2.4 million of that has been accounted for in higher-than-anticipated property tax revenue.

Her plan proposes finding the cuts by reducing the county’s pension and health care obligations by $5.06 million, cutting operating costs by $1.83 million and eliminating $100,000 in funding to outside agencies.

A public hearing on the bond issue remains on the July 10 agenda. The hearing is slated to begin after the close of the 6:30 p.m. Ways and Means meeting during the regular board meeting at the Washtenaw County Administration Building, 220 N. Main St., Ann Arbor.

Amy Biolchini covers Washtenaw County, health and environmental issues for Reach her at (734) 623-2552, or on Twitter.



Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 3 p.m.

Why isn't the Washtenaw Board of Commissioners acting responsibly and seeking to substantially reduce the costs of long-term retiree benefit programs. Government employees get far more in retiree benefits than those in the private sector and that is wrong. An average working person resents this kind of disparity and favoritism for the politically well-connected.


Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 7:52 p.m.

Because the County just signed a 10 yr labor contract to beat the "right to work" law. We're stuck with this for the next decade before renegotiations.


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 3:48 a.m.

I think instead of a bond where they stick taxpayers with the bill they need to seriously look at getting a financial manager. We didn't make these bad deals that are totally unsustainable, the system is crumbling one government entity at a time. I feel bad for the retirees but this needs to be fixed and the fix will be painful for all involved...............

Shawn Letwin

Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 1:04 a.m.

@Snark12 Actually I hate having to state 1/3 BILLION dollars and now you made me feel even worse that the true costs are close to 2/3 BILLION dollars for the next 25 years to cover the taxpayers financial obligations for the retirement costs of county employees. But thank you for the update in numbers. I really thought that I felt bad enough upon just reading that the amount of monies needed to fund the retirement fund had increased by 10% this past year. The bailouts by the taxpayers just keep coming decade after decade...savings and loan, wall street, mortgage companies, auto companies and now there are the various government locales whose managers and administrators promised benefits that are unsustainable (for which they reap the benefit of). I was on the fence about immigration reform. But now I say drop the fences and let everyone come in...we will need all the taxpaying people we can to bail out the government from the obligations that the taxpayers is on the hook for of current and future retired government employees. Amazing how industrialization and computers have made the workforce within private enterprises so much more efficient and profitable by replacing people with machines and software...yet the costs for those in government have sky rocketed over the same period of time. The last set of assumptions by the accountants and long since retired managers, administrators and elected officials were off and we now have a new set off fiscal assumptions over the next 25 years. As another posted stated so eloquently, "Go figure!"


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 3:52 a.m.

Drop the fences and your kids will be begging for a low wage job to compete with the flood of cheap labor coming. This plays right into the hands of big business which the democrats say they don't support but they support amnesty; make up you mind whether you support a strong middle class or the low wages that immigration reform will force upon the middle class


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:51 p.m.

How many commenters are receiving a pension from the County? Its easy to be callous when its not your money.

Ralph Pasola

Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 6:50 p.m.

Each and every County employee receiving a pension has paid into the pension fund from every single pay check they received. Current employees do the same and also contribute to the VEBA for health benefits. So, this is not all one sided.

Michigan Man

Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 6:30 p.m.

Bus - Michigan Man here - Not I and proud to announce such!

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 3:29 a.m.

with or without the bond, your pension is guaranteed. it's not your money on the line but those who are deprived future services and benefits because the county administration made poor choices.

Shawn Letwin

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:12 p.m.

@snark12. Thanks for your insight. A debt obligation for over 25 years or so on 1/3 of a BILLION dollars is a tremendous risk. If i borrow for a house, their is always that house which I will either own, or the lender will have retained the asset. This endeavor leaves us on the hook for 1/3 of a BILLION dollars with a presumption that there will be a taxbase. Well, we see how that presumption unfolded just a few years ago. Potato..potaahto...


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 10:53 a.m.

@snark12- The bonds will have a clause that allows them to be recalled early (e.g. 10 years), which reduces the risk for the County (if interest rates go down they can recall and refinance the bonds) but decreases the reward for the investor. This is another reason they are unlikely to be able to sell these bonds at 4% interest.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:38 p.m.

This is no different than borrowing for a house because the county will also have an offsetting asset: the investment fund. Yes, the performance of that fund cannot be known with clarity in advance, but your home can lose value as well, as we've seen. The longer the obligation, the lower the risk. If this plan was to sell 10 year bonds it would be vastly more risky (unthinkably so) than if it was for 30 years. BTW, I know you like saying "1/3 of a BILLION" but you would strengthen your case with the correct facts. The combined principal and interest due on $345 million of bonds would be $583 million, so it's an obligation over "1/2 of a BILLION".

Shawn Letwin

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 9:18 p.m.

@snark12. Thank you. There are many sides of it and the more information the better. It is worth repeating that one thing that it does do for Washtenaw County taxpayer is make them fiscally responsible for all of the debt that is being borrowed with the premise that tomorrows returns will cover the expenses of the past. The taxpayer will be on the hook for fulfilling not only the obligations of the legacy costs of county workers (including the high costs for those managers and above who want to be rewarded like their counterparts in private industry), but the taxpayer will be fiscally responsible for an additional 1/3 BILLION in debt that may not get the returns needed. Yes, this process has been done for many civic purposes in other communities, but that doesn't make it right or the best choice for our community. That is why Washtenaw Watchdogs wants to give the taxpayer the final say on this onerous fiscal liability. If borrowing to invest money for retirement costs was such a good idea, then why aren't we seeing that as the way to go for the individual? No, the individual has to put real money into an account. Yet, governments want to borrow money to cover their obligation and present it as typical way of doing business. Sheesh! Government wants all the pay, benefits, etc. associated with the private sector but does not fulfill its obligation for fiscal responsibility. Private industries lead by bad practices lead to businesses going out of business and competitors filling in the demand. Governments lead by bad practices often lead to kicking the can (prior bad decision) down the road and ultimately the taxpayers are holding the bag of debt (whilst those responsible retiring in anonymity with very generous taxpayer backed benefits). Lots of discussions about accounting, but very little discussion on our government representatives being ACCOUNTABLE as the tail continues to wag the dog!

Steve Bean

Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 1:13 p.m.

"But they will also have $350 million in an investment trust which will have some level of return." Yes, potentially negative. We're early in a deflationary spiral that could eliminate a large portion of that amount, leaving little to build back up over the subsequent 20 years. Over the course of the full term it's quite possible that the return doesn't break even let alone net a substantial amount.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 9:55 p.m.

Oh, it's perfectly legitimate to borrow money to pay off a credit card, especially when the credit card bill is at a high interest rate that can change year to year, whereas the borrowed money will be at a fixed, historically low interest rate.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 9:51 p.m.

Again, I have no particular belief about whether we should bond or not, but I just want to add some reason to this discussion to address some of your points: * You asked if this is so smart, why don't we do something like this to address our personal retirement needs? The obvious answer is because when we retire, we no longer generate income. The county will presumably still have a tax base providing revenue in the years ahead which will be used to make annual bond payments. * A better analogy is why does a young couple borrow money to buy a new home rather than just saving up for full purchase price? Because they expect to continue their working lives in the years ahead and will have income to make the debt payments. And, as in the case of the county bonds, it can be risky if the couple loses their jobs or if the home drops in value. * Yes, the county will have the existing pension obligations and more than $500 million in bond principal and interest due over the next 30 years. But they will also have $350 million in an investment trust which will have some level of return. * Much has been made of the money to be made by bond advisors, lawyers, underwriters, and fund managers. No, they don't do the work for free. Googling this topic shows that municipalities pay, on average, between 0.80% and 1.25% combined of the bond values for these services. Yes, that is in the millions over 30 years, but, no, it is not anything like the 25% suggested by an earlier poster. The vast majority of the money goes to the banks underwriting the bonds, not the attorney currently advising the county or the manager of the investment fund.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 7:37 p.m.

If the bond repayment comes from the general fund, why do we need the bonds? There is something about this deal we are not being told.


Mon, Jul 8, 2013 : 3:49 p.m.

The Bonds could cause a tax increase if the investment fund does not yeild enough to the general fund to make the payments, right? Just because communities all across the country for many years have been doing does not mean bonds are good ideas.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 7:57 p.m.

Using a bonding process allows the county to replace the hard-to-forecast and constantly evolving benefit obligations with regular, easy-to-plan-for bond payments. You borrow a large amount of money, put it in an investment fund, and then draw down amounts out of that fund to make the annual payments towards the benefit obligations. Meanwhile the bond payments are made with the normal general funds fees according to a schedule that can be mapped out years in advance. I'm not advocating for or against the idea, but I think it's important that people understand how it actually works. It's not a new, elaborate scheme; it's something done by communities all across the country for many years. It also does not imply a tax increase.

Shawn Letwin

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:40 p.m.

Lots of good posts...hope each of you consider matching your civic minded comments here with the same conviction and effort this upcoming Wednesday @ 6:30pm and speak during the public hearing. Either come as an individual or come be a part of the Washtenaw Watchdogs group of people (including myself) that is being spearheaded by Doug Smith. Everyone one is welcome (those for and those against, yet believe that this monumental fiscal commitment is best left for the voters to decide). The taxpayers could be left on the hook for 1/3 of a BILLION dollars whilst lawyers and finance people skim the proceeds for millions. I voted for representation of managing the typical operations/functions. Putting this county in debt (as one said, borrowing to pay-off a credit card!) is not a typical function. I will fight for the right to preserve to have fair representation of my interests against those who are self-serving of themselves and others within the government. Join Washtenaw Watchdogs this Wednesday or come on your own.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 12:02 a.m.

IMy husband and I went in February, but we will not be able to make it on wednesday. I already joined Washtenaw Watchdogs

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

Sadly, I don't think many of those who comment here actually get involved and go to public meetings. Even fewer are willing to stand up and speak.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:28 p.m.

We need to have a good showing of opponents for the July 10 Board meeting to show the commissioners that we are committed to getting the 15,000 signatures required to put this on the ballot if they pass the resolution. They know that they cannot get the voters approval, so they are trying to pass it through without a citizens' vote. Don't let them do it. Show up for the meeting. I know they were aware of our plans to gather signatures at the Art Fair. This delay will prevent us from doing that because we cannot gather signatures until they announce their intent to issue the bonds but we will still be at the Art Fair to gather volunteers to circulate petitions. Look for us on Liberty Street with the other non-profit organizations. Read more at


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:23 p.m.

The independent audit conducted for 2012 said that the County had $16 million of completely unrestricted cash at the end of the year. They also increase their net worth by $8.8 million. Thus, the idea that a $5 million shortfall over a 4 year budget would require drastic cuts to service for poor or sick people in the County is ridiculous. It is an age old political trick. Verna McDaniel is just listing every service in the County's portfolio and saying that it may be cut. It is just a scare tactic. The County's current retirement accounts are paying more than $1 million per year in investment expenses (i.e. paying financial managers). They will also have to pay a similar amount to manage the new money. The managers are not even performing as well as stock index funds such as S&P 500 or Russell 2000 funds. Thus, the County would be better off investing in the index funds and saving the money on those financial managers. Bottom line is that the bond issue is not necessary.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:10 p.m.

An interesting article on how the Detroit situation may impact Washtenaw County: or


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:59 p.m.

Thanks DonBee


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:56 p.m.

The gov't retirement benefits, as well as salaries and so-called "contracts," (contracts to spend other peoples' money??) were entered into without care that "public policy" or economic conditions could change. It should not be the fault of the current tax-paying public. In my opinion, it's not in the public interest to pay retirement benefits at the expense of current conditions. If we're going to obtain funds through a bond, it should be to improve our current infrastructure and public service.

Basic Bob

Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 3:20 a.m.

leaguebus, the bond issue has nothing to do with retirement benefits. these are guaranteed no matter what. it is about borrowing money to pay for expansion of government.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:40 p.m.

Gee, Nicholas Urfe do you remember what happened to the Big 3 employees?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

Those pesky retirees don't need that money anyway! I would just take it away from them and let them fend for themselves. If Social Security is not enough for them to survive on, thats their problem, not ours! LOL. All I have to say is that if that was your retirement money, things would be different, but its not, so let them starve.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:10 p.m.

That we do not like it does not matter. Those people are entitled to their retirement benefits. They worked for them in good faith. It was part of their pay package and employment agreements. Though I think heads should have rolled - via recalls - when additional staff were added to the pension at the last minute.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 4:41 p.m.

I also see nothing is the bond proposal which tells us how the bonds will be repaid. Magic maybe?

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:07 p.m.

@outdoor: if your wallet is magic, then the repayments are magic. You do have a magic wallet?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:52 p.m.

The article says the bonds are repaid with money from the general fund. The bond money is used to make annual benefits payments, and then general fund money (that would have otherwise been used to fund benefits) is used to pay off the bonds.

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 4:24 p.m.

Can they re-structure this deal to exclude those with a family relationship from being involved?

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 4:23 p.m.

Anything that takes years should require voter approval. That includes years of taxpayer payments. Especially when some of the people who will profit and give advice are father-daughter, as is the case here.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:34 p.m.

Nicholas Urfe, you totally missed my point, the tax payers should of had a chance to vote on if the contracts should of been opened early or not!

Nicholas Urfe

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

That is an interesting point, Judy. Should taxpayers vote on employment contracts? Can the specifics be captured in the limited text of the ballot? Should taxpayers vote on services contracts - who cleans the outhouses, who fills the potholes, etc? Probably not. People would be bored to tears by the details. But without any question, a $300+ million bond should go to a vote of the people.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:29 p.m.

Oh but Nicholas Urfe you had no problem with opening the uion contracts early and the union getting 5 and 10 years contracts that the taxpayers did not get a chance to vote on.

Michigan Man

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:45 p.m.

With this Rabhi guy leading this matter - big trouble down the road for the fine tax payors of Washtenaw County - just have no confidence whatsoever, in Rabhi and his acolytes solving anything.


Wed, Jul 10, 2013 : 7:46 p.m.

How long has he been Commissioner? How long has this problem festered? I think that he's not the source of the problem.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 3:41 p.m.

If he'll drop the bond issue, he can have as much hair as he wants.

Superior Twp voter

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 3:17 p.m.

He needs a shave and a haircut, too. Just saying...


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:44 p.m.

For details, please see reporting available in the Ann Arbor Chronicle:


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:22 p.m.

outdoor6709 got it right. Follow the money. The difference between pay-as-U-go budgeting and bond-deferred taxation is the profit gleaned by those who provide the service . Old story in government. And the DDA. The money has to come from somewhere. A bond just allows more time to raise even more taxes to meet the obligation. Like a credit card, temporary relief ultimately costs more. The extra amount directly into the pockets of non-producer profiteers. Take it to the voters. See if the majority intend to move out of the county before their bill comes due.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:08 p.m.

This is a classic example of Democrats running up unsustainable debt obligations to the unions and then trying to cover it up with a crazy investment scheme. This makes me hope that really bad decisions by government can be overturned by newly elected people. If that can't happen then a handful of people elected by their "union masters" can permamnently harm the vast majority of people that do not support unions. We really need to get "all the people" represented by our elected officials.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 1:58 p.m.

A friend of mine floated an "economic development" bond issue to expand his factory. Government of Fenton was issuing party. He said the lawyers and banks to 25% to cover their expenses. He was responsible to repay 100% of the borrowed amount. If I am incorrect that 25% is skimmed off top, then AA news or Commissioners should provide actual expenses to cover the cost of bond issue.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 4:43 p.m.

No clue what Fenton's budget is. However it is a matter of similar process. For a town that vilifies "Wall Street Greed" I find it strange that a large number of people support the bond process without knowing who is making, how much over the bond sale. Some in AA do not even seem curious.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 6:16 a.m.

Even if I am to believe this story, do you think town of Fenton, MI and Washtenaw County have comparable budgets?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:47 p.m.

Expecting someone to provide conclusive evidence contradicting your friend's hearsay is exactly the standards we look for here.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

The reason no alternatives have been offered is, bond deals are very lucrative for the issuers and sellers. Lawyers fees and sales costs amount for about 25% of the money issued. So friends/campaign donors will get about $70 million dollars. Taxpayers get stuck with the bill and the issue that caused the overspending will not be addressed. If they vote for this quick fix, we should recall the commissioners. Also we need to address the state making it easier to take on more and more local debt.


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 6:14 a.m.

outdoor6709, it's not on Steve to disprove your claim. The onus is on you to show evidence that lawyer fees and sales costs amount to 25% of the money issued.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 10:22 p.m.

The closest document that I could find on line does not talk about the upfront costs, but it does point to the mistake that the County is making by using an interested party to advise them. Highly useful reading to anyone who wants to understand the pitfalls - not of the bonds, but of the path the county seems to be on with their advisor.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:25 p.m.

I too, have never hear of a lawyer working for free! I would like to see the break down of how much will go to John Axe of Axe & Ecklund and his daughter, Meredith Shanle of Municipal Financial Consultants Incorporated if the 350 million dollars worth of bonds are issued.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:44 p.m.

The statement that "25% of the money issued" goes to issuers and sellers is ridiculous and irresponsible. Here's another percentage: about 90% of the people commenting here have no idea what they're talking about.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 4:39 p.m.

Does anyone really believe that the bonds are issued and sold for free? The Chronicale article says we need $250 million to cover the future costs. Where does the other $95 million go?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:36 p.m.

This is an unverified and irresponsible claim. Better reporting would help stem such imaginative speculation.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:14 p.m.

Steve, Do you have any evidence that I am incorrect?

Steve Hendel

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 1:32 p.m.

Do you have ANY evidence for your claim that "Lawyers fees and sales costs amount for about 25% of the money issued. "?


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

Just a quick reminder to the posters --- y'all voted for the Commissioners over the prior decades and let them approve expensive contracts while making minimal contributions to the funds. Now the bar bill has arrived and everyone hates it. Tough.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 6:04 p.m.

I voted JimmyD - But I did NOT vote for the person who is on the Board right now. I was in the minority. In the last election I voted for candidate from several parties, but no Democrats and no Republicans. We need more choice and better candidates.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 1:07 p.m.

Good post JimmyD. Commissioner Dan Smith, R-Northfield Township, was the sole Republican to vote against opening union contracts early. Thanks again Dan Smith for all you are doing.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:35 p.m.

Under performance has contributed to the increasing amount the county must allocate to paying them off. That statement alone is a scary thought, even knowing that they will continue to lose money will only burden the taxpayer that they will be on the losing end.

Basic Bob

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:34 p.m.

The board is in a panic because *someone* told them their retiree costs were going to increase from $22M in 2013 to $30M in 2014. The board continues to get wildly varying estimates on the projected revenue from the bonds and the actual cost of the retirement benefits. It sounds to me like the should have moved everyone into a defined contribution plan a long time ago. Of course they did, and then moved them back. And then they agreed to a ten-year contract with its employees with an unsustainable benefit package. So they are bad managers. Let them clean it up now, instead of later by putting it all on the backs of taxpayers while they seek lucrative employment fleecing local governments with their crazy schemes. No bond for you!


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

Absolutely! I'm a nurse and both St Joe's and UM both changed to only shared contribution and no health care after retirement in the 90's. Why is the government of cities, townships, state, all of them still giving out pensions and health benefits to it's workers when the rest is society made the transition years ago? Voters should demand they do. Otherwise, they will continue their gravy train and citizens will pay for it. Seems like their retires always set themselves up with another high paying job after retirement. Their connections stii there provide them the job. Why don't they really retire and let people who really need the jobs work? Their experience is not so valuable that the next generation who need jobs can't do them.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:15 p.m.

This bond issue needs to be decided by a public vote. It's too large to be decided by a few people in a back room somewhere. The tax payers of this county will be left holding the bag because of bad decisions made by our county officials. Remember Sylvan Township and Water Street in Ypsilanti. Our county commissioners are being sold a bill of goods by outside agents who will reap large fees.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:37 p.m.

If this does go to a public vote, hopefully apathy does not prevail and voter turnout is large.

Common Sense

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:42 a.m.

The Board appears to not have budgeted properly and now wants to increase our taxes by passing a bond. I would vote to cut all spending levels until the obligation is covered over time for as long as it takes. No new taxes! Make the budget work in favor of the tax payers!


Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 3:50 a.m.

A tax increase is not part of this proposal.

Stan Hyne

Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 12:48 p.m.

A bond issue is like getting a loan to pay off a charge card.


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 11:27 a.m.

This bond should never happen. It should be dropped and the board needs to move on to other matters - like reducing costs to better reflect revenue, income and future obligations. They should find ways to reduce future obligations. They gave away money the county never had in the first place. Their use of actuarial science for making these obligations is suspect, at best. Go figure!


Sat, Jul 6, 2013 : 5:59 p.m.

If they are smart they will borrow a line from Classic Saturday Night Live: "Never Mind" And move on.