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Posted on Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 2:57 p.m.

Ypsilanti City Council approves budget priorities that cut public safety positions, non-union wages

By Tom Perkins

Ypsilanti’s public safety department and administration will face significant cuts in the 2011 fiscal year as the city looks to make roughly $1.4 million in reductions.

City Manager Ed Koryzno is forecasting a budget deficit of $4.2 million by fiscal year 2015 if the “preventive” cuts aren’t made immediately.


City Manager Ed Koryzno

The City Council voted unanimously at its Tuesday night meeting to approve budgetary priorities addressing the situation. The measures include eliminating five police officers and three to six firefighters by July 1.

All non-union city employees will take a 5 percent pay cut and 13 furlough days beginning March 1, and City Council members' compensation will be reduced by 5 percent.

Public safety, which represent about 55 percent of the city budget, will compose 80 percent - or $1.1 million - of the reductions. Administrative cuts make up the bulk of the remaining 20 percent.

Koryzno will now flesh out the recommendations and present them to the City Council during April budget meetings. The council will then vote to adopt the budget for the next fiscal year in June.

“Council determined it would be financially prudent if budget reductions are made sooner rather than later, and those reductions are reflected in the resolution before you tonight,” Koryzno said.

A five-year budget projection presented by Koryzno showed expenditures exceed revenues by $1.4 million in 2012 without the cuts. That figure grows to $4.2 million by 2015.

The general fund balance faces a shortfall of $1.34 million in fiscal year 2014 without the cuts. With the cuts, the general fund balance remains positive through fiscal year 2015.

“So basically we’re buying ourselves two years of solvency with these cuts?” Mayor Paul Schreiber asked after the presentation.

“That is correct,” Koryzno replied.

Council Member Michael Bodary agreed the cuts were necessary to avert larger problems down the road.

“Unless we make the personnel reductions that we’re proposing right now to keep this from happening - and it still could happen - then we’re just forestalling," he said. "I'm hoping by 2015, things will be better."

Koryzno blamed a decrease in tax revenues due to the poor economy and Water Street debt on the worsening financial picture. The Water Street debt payments grow from $70,000 in fiscal year 2011 to $1.38 million in fiscal year 2015.

The council also voted 6-1 to approve a new police contract, which includes minor concessions in base wage payments into health care and retirement benefits.

Council Member Pete Murdock was the lone no vote on the police contracts.

“You can look around and you see some of the things that Ann Arbor and the county and we have done with salary reductions and so forth, and I think we could craft something along those lines to reduce or eliminate the need for layoffs,” he said. “But it would take some shared sacrifice on the part of everyone to do that.”

Schreiber said the city has $9 million in reserves and would be in much worse shape financially had it not been “judicious in our expenditures.”

“We were able to start saving for a rainy day, and its going to start raining next year,” he said.

• See the financial budget documents presented Tuesday (pdf)  

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



Sat, Feb 6, 2010 : 3:18 p.m.

Midtowner, you might be thinking of trash and recycling. That is paid for by millage, and any surplus must be deducted from the millage.


Sat, Feb 6, 2010 : 12:56 p.m.

Midtowner, you are wrong again. The DPW budget comes from the general fund and can be used anywhere else in the budget. There is specific state money for roads/trunk lines. Please stop following me around and insulting me every time I post, especilay if you have no facts to back up what you are saying.


Fri, Feb 5, 2010 : 10:09 a.m.

get another clue andy. please. my father was the dpw director in ludington for 12 years. the dpw budget doesn't come from property taxes. it comes from state gas taxes. it can't be spent on police or fire. it has to be spent on dpw. i agree with you that we should cut council's pay. maybe even eliminate it all together, but other than that you have no idea about what you're talking about.

Martin Church

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 12:34 p.m.

We did not just Lose the war on Drugs, we surrendered to it. Everyone has I grew up said it was a victimless crime. Then I watched my friends and classmates give in and watched as they died. first it was grass, then the harder stuff. Now we have to deal with the problems. As for the comment good people would not run if it did not pay. Guess again. I have run for several positions and lost. The question is will the citizens of this community wake up and say enough with the politics and let's have full accountability. We drove businesses away, and now we are driving Home owners away. Time to cut the taxes and change the structures and that begins at the ballot box this spring, Summer and Fall.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 11:58 a.m.

Martin Chrurch, you are absolutely right about a council pay cut. I did the math when a pay cut was first brought up. If you keep the 10% cut to council expenses in place, and bump their pay cut up to 25%, the city would have saved $22,000 anally, enough to pay for the cost of maintenance Frog Island and Riverside Parks. Since council voted that cost back into the budge over the summer for no good reason (see the links I provided above) it seemed only right to me that council should take a pay cut to make up for it. I suggested this to council, and while I did have some discussion with the mayor, there was absolutely no support for such a measure. The argument I heard most was such a drastic pay cut would keep qualified candidates from running. I think that's a joke. If our council members are there for the $5,000, then I don't want them there to begin with. Council deserves to be paid, but they should be first in line for drastic pay cuts. Council should be setting the example, not providing a token of good will. Mrs Turf, I think that YPD is a fantastic organization. I grew up in a law enforcement family; my father, uncle, and brother are/were officers in my home town. Seeing the job YPD does with their limited resources makes me proud of them. That said, I think the idea of a forfeiture funded drug enforcement office is dangerous and wrong. First of all, the war on drugs is over and we lost. Overzealous enforcement and jail terms have cost the country billions of dollars and produced almost no results. The tactic has failed all around the country; why would we want to try and start it here now? We already have the forfeiture funded LAWNET, an organization that many in it's enforcement zone see to have questionable ethics. Which brings me to my next point. Do you really think that there are enough drugs in the city of Ypsilanti to fund four officers through forfeiture in the long term? I don't. And once they get the really bad guys, then what? Do they start going after all the small timers at EMU and seize the contents of their dorm rooms? If an officer costs around $85,000 a year benefits and all, we are talking about having to do $340,000 in seizures every year just to pay officer salaries. Now, I know there would be federal seizure money involved, but even if the feds pony up half, the idea of funding through seizure is just not realistic. The last thing we need is to start busting every kid walking around with a dime bag and seizing his Xbox to pay for the officer's time. I am disappointed that council made these drastic cuts, especial since they did not take a significant pay cut or look at DPW cuts that would have hurt much less. But I can't agree with this plan. It would have been a poor use of resources to fight a war that we lost more than a decade ago. I wish we could keep more officers on the street, but this is not the answer. By the way, if you really want to save an officer or a fire fighter, demand that council make the cuts to DPW recommended in that departments recent audit. There is enough money there for one fire fighter or police officer. If council takes that additional pay cut, we're on our way to another one.

Megan Turf

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 11:30 a.m.

You are welcome to say anything you want. But anyone who knows me, knows that I think for myself. And besides, the point is to keep them employed if they can. And they can. They are simply choosing not to. Which I think stinks.

Come On

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 10 a.m.

Turf, you interest in YPD is very curious and very concerning and is obviously being directed by a certain other person who still works at YPD and his agenda. The budget crisis is now, we cant wait a year to see if a narcotics unit and a resulting forfeiture fund will sustain the employment of 4 officers.

Martin Church

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 9:30 a.m.

My question is why is the administration and council members only taking 5% cuts. Those Fire Fighters and Police Officers being Layed off are taking 100% pay cuts. The rest of us in private industries have taken 30% pay cuts or greater, it's time our Administration and Council also take at least a 30% cut if not a 50% cut. After all their performance should be reflected in the pay. If you can't raise your wage, you cut it. At Least this is an election year and it's time to vote these poor managers out of office and hold our legislature accountable. We have had several years of lack of representation while our tax dollars have gone else where. It's time to look for new directions. Fire them all vote for new blood.

Megan Turf

Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 8:22 a.m.

My interest is not curious at all. I've always had an interest in the YPD and the safety of the city I live in, that's no secret. And I say give them a chance. Give them one year to stay employed in this lousy economy and on the streets of our city and see if they can be sustaining and improve our quality of life. What's the harm? Reassess in a year and see if it was worth it. Maybe it will be, maybe it wont. But council should do everything in their power to keep as many officers and firefighters on our streets as possible.


Thu, Feb 4, 2010 : 2:50 a.m.

So, where are the cuts in DPW service? It was suggested in a recent independent audit of Ypsi DPW that at least two positions could be eliminated in the short term, and those saving could save one firefighter or police officer. That's not much, but keep in mind that the changes suggested to DPW are based on increasing efficiency, not cutting service. The audit can be found in the council packet here: There have also been several threads on Mark Maynard's blog discussing Ypsi's parks and DPW budget in recent weeks. The discussion is pretty interesting, and also delves into transparency in city government. Here is a summary of these threads: It started when Mark broke two ribs sledding in Riverside Park: From there, he questioned if his injury could have been avoided, if park policy had been handled differently: It continued on an open thread when Councilman Robb was asked by a poster, Kingpin, to comment on the earlier thread: In response to Mr. Robb's answer, Mark posted a thread on the cost of park maintenance: Mark then re-posted a letter from the Director of the DTCDC and one from Mr. Robb that had been sent to, and posted by, Kingpin: And finally, Mark posted a thread about a recent audit of Ypsi DPW and cost savings that could be found in that department: I'm not a total idiot. I don't think any of the cuts that are talked about in the links above are going to save the city or eliminate all of our public safety cuts. But it's a step in the right direction. If nothing else, maybe it will buy us another year of solvency. Either way, I think it's worth talking about.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 11 p.m.

OMG city council gets money for what they do? well cut another 95% of that for starts,,,


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 10:46 p.m.

Does anybody know how the purchase of the Water Street project works. There are probably hundreds of houses in the city that the owner walked away from and let it go back to the bank or previous owner. It seems to me that would be a better option than all the cuts that are proposed. The project will never go anywhere anyway. Maybe the government should stay out of the real estate business and not gamble with the taxpayers money.

recovering bureacrat

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 10:12 p.m.

City Assessor, Take a look at the tax roles and find the culprits who don't pay their fair share of taxes by homesteading several properties simultaneously. There is probably enough money being defrauded in several areas that if you applied Robert Bobb's technique of finding the funds we could keep our public defenders employed.

Come On

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 8:30 p.m.

Turf's sudden interest in the ongoings of YPD is very curious. The idea of a narcotics unit sustaining the dept with forfeiture money as suggested by your hero Lt is far fetched. It is not like there are kilos of of drugs and tens of thousands of dollars moving thru the city. Nice of you to use your real name this time.

Jeffersonian Liberal

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 6:33 p.m.

You people don't get it, this is the same page from the statist- progressive play book. When the money runs out cut the police and fire departments and the sheep will accept more taxes. You are paying for millions of dollars of non-essential entitlements,and over priced union salaries and pensions. This is also a great lesson of what happens when some politician comes up with a pet project like the water street fiasco. Trust me if it was a great idea some entrepreneur would have stepped in long ago. Wake up!

Megan Turf

Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 5:56 p.m.

The YPD presented an option to City Council to keep four officers employed using drug forfeiture funds by creating a narcotics unit to target a known issue in the city. But council turned them down. I guess they would rather be known as a council that lays off officers instead of keeping them employed with a perfectly valid way of paying for their salary and benefits. Not to mention targeting a problem that the YPD can solve if there was a dedicated unit in place to follow up and target the dealers. Good thinking council.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 5:11 p.m.

Well just remember, the City chose bus (AATA) service over Police and Fire protection. I guess as the city burns we will at least have a ride out of town!! KEWL!!!!!


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 4:44 p.m.

Lets have more secret meeting, how do we bypass the public meeting act? I know lets consult the city attourney and he can validate that we can have a closed meeting. The last thing the peole of the city of Ypsilanti want is transperency!!!


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 4:38 p.m.

Make EMU pay for every emergency services call!!! They use the services the most, oh thats right, lets just lay off more police and fire so the smaller amount can focus all the resources on the EMU campus, and the city can burn down. Nice plan, very nice


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 4:35 p.m.

City Manager Ed Koryzno has been running the show for over 9 years. I lived and moved from the city because of that fact. His incompetence is show by orchestrating the Water Stree Porject, and now runs around yelling the sky is falling. Lets link his salary to a preformance based model and see how fast he bails!! Wake up residence of the city of Ypsilanti, there are a few that run that city, that have been imbeded for a while and are the sole source of what ails your city. I moved to a city that is and economic equal to Ypsi and they have proposed solutions a few years ago to head off what ypsi is headed towards, but then that city doesn't have a 1.3 millon dollar flop to take care of. Call or email Ed and ask him about his participation in water street, how much did he say could be made? It is amazing how he is still running the show, now it's right into the ground.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 4:31 p.m.

Do you know what the response time to the fire was? If not, then don't generalize. What do you expect when tax revenues are down and so many people are driving around in foreign cars. Cities in Michigan suffer. It is domino. For those complaining - while driving around in VWs and Toyotas and the like - I hope you are complaining to yourself as well for not supporting the lifeblood of Michigan - the Big 3.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 4:21 p.m.

"The city fire dept had three other fire depts out to help them with this. Is this due to the last round of cuts?" Naw, that's been pretty common for a long time.


Wed, Feb 3, 2010 : 4:04 p.m.

Now that is just great. I live down the street from the building that burned down last Sunday on Ecorse road. The city fire dept had three other fire depts out to help them with this. Is this due to the last round of cuts? Just how much did having Superior Township, Ypsilanti Township and the the other dept show up? And they still lost the whole building. Response times are lagging for both police and fire, and yet we cut more. We would not need to cut this much had not the prior mayor and those in council not did the water street fiasco. They could have looked back and seen that the city wells were taken off line and hooked to Detroit water. Due to heavy metals from all the old industry that was down in that area. Not to mention the lost revenue from all the businesses that were there and now are not. Way to go Ypsi. I wonder just how much more the city can take before we end up in recievership.