FAQs

City of Troy Election FAQs

Couldn’t the money realized from the employee concessions and retirements have funded the Library?

False information is being spread that the $2.6 million from concessions and retirements was being hidden from Troy residents to trick them into voting for the very small Library millage in August.  This money was discussed during budget meetings in May and, because it was hoped this money would be realized City Council did not put a roads/snow plowing millage on the ballot along with the Library millage.  That money is now allocated to restoring 24-hour snow plowing and retaining police officers who had been slated to be cut.

 

Why can’t they keep the Library open on Saturdays?

It’s important to note that the library budget that allowed Saturday hours was over $5 million annually. The millage that was passed only funds it at the reduced level the budget cuts precipitated: $2.7 million.  Saturdays are the most expensive day of operation and closing on those days helps the Library stay in budget while still retaining the 55 hours necessary to qualify for funding support from the state.

Our library director is looking for ways to staff and fund open Saturdays at the library, but the decision must be a wise and practical not merely political and fiscally irresponsible.

 

Couldn’t the money they spent on that park/fountain at Rochester Rd. and Big Beaver been used to fund the Library?

No.  City money did not pay for the park on this corner, or the red bricks. The money came from the Troy Downtown Development Authority (DDA) and cannot be moved to the library. This DDA project was planned for more than 5 years, and contracts were signed before the bottom fell out in 2009.  The cost to the Troy DDA was $1M and the remainder of the $2.5 million project was Federally Funded. The DDA funds also cannot be controlled by the city council.  If not spent, the dollars would not go back to the city but to the state of Michigan.

 

What about making sure the staff is lean and efficient?  Couldn’t they cut employees?

City administration has reduced the workforce by 150 full-time employees in the last 6 years.  This equates to 30% of the full-time workforce.   Again, we have the lowest millage rate in the area and one of the lowest per capita rates of employees to residents in Michigan.  And numerous measures have been taken thus far to position Troy to implement these cuts to staff and resources with minimal interruption to services.

Over the period from October 2009 – June 2011, the City reduced its payroll by more than $8 Million or 26%. All employees have taken at least a 10% concession through wages and reduced health care benefit levels. The City eliminated longevity pay for new hires for all employee groups beginning back in 1993 and eliminated tuition reimbursement for non-union employees in 2008.

 

What about transparency?

City administration has a three-year rolling budget recognized as a leading-edge practice, even touted by Governor Snyder’s Budget Director.  This is available online to residents. Follow the numbers year by year to see why the reduced revenues and increasing expenditures put Troy’s fund balance in jeopardy — and why passing the library millage was so vital to Troy’s economic success in other areas.  Troy has also posted a “Dashboard” on its web site, one of the first cities to implement a Performance Dashboards as proposed by Governor Rick Snyder. The Dashboard provides a quick assessment of a community’s performance in five key areas that affect families today: economic strength; health and education; value for government; quality of life; and public safety.

 

What about the Transit Center? Why couldn’t THAT money go toward the library or roads?

Funding for the Transit Center came from these sources, and if the project is canceled, all the money goes back to them:

$8,485,212 federal grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009

$1,300,000 federal grant from the 2010 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act

$250,000 state grant for LED lighting from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth

 

But aren’t Troy’s taxes too high?

Compared to our neighbors, our tax millage rate ranks lowest (these are 2010 rates; 2011 rates will not be certified until after the election):

Troy       9.40

Novi       10.54

Farmington Hills 11.61

Royal Oak    11.71

Birmingham    15

Southfield    16.34

Madison Heights 18.81

Clawson    21.98

 

What do other communities pay?

A comparison of City Tax bills based on a taxable value of $102,490

For the year ended June 30, 2010:

Madison Heights $1,928

Southfield    $1,675

Birmingham     $1,537

Rochester Hills      $1,307

Royal Oak    $1,200

Farmington Hills $1,190

Sterling Heights   $1,294

Troy       $ 963

 


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