How did Troy get into this unstable position?

Nov 2008 – Troy residents pass the 2008 Millage Cap Charter Amendment Proposal. Bob Gosselin, Troy Citizens United (TCU) political leader and Oakland County Commissioner, takes credit for the passage on his website.  TCU (an anti-tax, Libertarian group in Troy) wrote and pushed the innocent-looking Charter Amendment Proposal that caps Troy’s city tax millage rate at 8.10 mills, not including separate refuse pick up.  This rate is lower than 16 other cities in Oakland County, and forces all future millage increases above that cap to be voted on by the people of Troy.
Fall 2008 – The recession hits around the same time. Falling property values cause marked drop in actual property taxes paid by Troy property owners. (You can check your taxes over the years here: http://troymi.gov/Taxes) Other cities can raise their millage rates to make up for lost revenue from falling property values cause. Troy City Council cannot (because of the 2008 Millage Cap Charter Amendment). All they can do is cut: city amenities, public safety, snow removal, etc.

Fall 2009 – City Manager sounds the alarm, saying that the three-year budget allows hims to see that the freefall of revenues due to falling property values is going to impact city services. In the past city council could have raised the millage rate to meet revenue decline, but because of Millage Cap, city council can do nothing.  City Council puts a 1.9 mill increase proposal on the ballot, so residents can decide whether to save services.

Feb 2010 – TCU sends out inaccurate 4-page mailer in effort to kill the millage, claiming there is no revenue problem.  The anti-tax group also claimed that a ‘Yes’ vote would result in a 29 percent increase in Troy property tax bills (when it would have increased only a small portion of any tax bill), whipping the community into an anti-tax frenzy. Councilman Howrylak sends out an inaccurate anti-millage proposal letter to Troy residents. Troy residents defeat the 1.9 millage increase that would have saved Troy’s library, nature center and historical museum and the fight over the library.

May 2010 – City Council votes on a balanced 3-year budget that de-funds the library in favor of protecting public safety/police department. (Library, Nature Center and History Museum to be defunded as of July 1, 2011.)

May 2010 – Citizens to Save Troy Public Library forms and writes a proposal for a dedicated, 0.9885 millage to save the library, which is to become Proposal 1. Then friends of TCU/Howrylak/Gosselin cut and paste Proposal 1 language, use the language to create 3 FAKE library proposals and get them added to the ballot, in their attempt to confuse voters and doom Proposal 1.

October 2010 – TCU sends out an inaccurate, 4-page mailer to defeat the millage vote. Among the lies, they claim the .9885 millage increase, locked in for 10 years, will actually be 2 mills, which was impossible. Councilman Howrylak sends out an inaccurate letter to Troy residents claiming, among other lies, that the library created under Proposal 1 would have to buy all new books and building. Not true.  Tea Party Leader Janice Daniels says a Library isn’t necessary.

November 2010 – The people of Troy, confused by Mr. Howrylak’s and TCU’s fake proposals and disinformation, (including the Kempen Petition, which is another long story), vote down Proposal 1, dooming the library.

February 2011 – Martin Howrylak/TCU say there is $1.7 million available in the budget for the library, though his numbers turn out to be inaccurate. Money he says is available is already planned to pay for future budget shortfalls due to continued drop in property values and city revenues.

May 2011 – As part of the budget cycle, City Council votes to delay the Library closure, giving residents one more chance to approve a minimal-approach, dedicated .7 mills for five years in the August election.   TCU proceeds to call for bleeding the Fund Balance to fund the Library on a year-by-year basis, a fiscally irresponsible scenario that would put the City’s bond rating at risk and make managing the Library (e.g., retaining employees, managing vendor contracts) impossible.

August 2011 – Residents approve the millage. Janice Daniels begins describing herself as an Independent (though once the proud founder of the Troy Tea Party), as she begins her run for Mayor.  She runs in a slate with three candidates who are associated with the TCU.


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