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Jan 18

The Michael Corleone Dilemma

Comments (0) 10:00 AM posted by admin |

The following is in resposnse to a commentary towards me that was posted elsewhere on the internet. What better place to respond than here?


Mr. Roka,

In less than 250 words you demonstrated why this proposal is dead on arrival long before we’ve even put it on the ballot.

This election is nothing like the 2007 election. The issues aren’t the same. The budgets aren’t the same. The plans aren’t the same. They aren’t even close. This election isn’t about me. It’s not about Pete Murdock. And it’s certainly not about Steve Pierce.

But you’re already trying to frame the debate that way by fighting the 2007 election all over again.

This election is about Ypsilanti and whether or not you want to invest in it. It’s strictly an emotional issue. This has nothing to do with graphs and charts or “educating the voters” as some would have you to believe. This is only about whether or not you want a City of Ypsilanti. If you want to invest, you’ll vote yes. If not, you’ll vote no. Simple.

But since you want to question my decisions regarding the 2007 CIT, let’s examine them.

I make my decisions based on the information I’m given. Back in 2007, our City Manager presented Council with his budget projections. He projected that without an income tax we’d have revenues of $15.8M in FYE 2012 and $16.1M in FYE 2013. He also projected that with an income tax we’d have revenues of $19.1M in FYE 2012 and $19.5M in FYE 2013.

Let’s put that in perspective. The budget we adopted for FYE 2012 had $13.7M in revenues and in FYE 2013 we are now projecting $11.1M.

The difference is $2.1M in FYE 2012 and $5.0M in FYE 2013. Those numbers are insane. If we actually had that $2.1M for this year and the $5.0M for next year, we’d be putting swimming pools in everyone’s neighborhood.

For the sake of absurdity, let’s run the numbers for the entire life of the 2007 CIT.

We were given revenue projections of $15.0M in FYE 2008, $14.4M in FYE 2009, $14.9M in FYE 2010, and $15.8M in FYE 2011.

What we really ended up with was $14.9M in FYE 2008, $15.6M in FYE 2009, $14.6M in FYE 2010, and $14.0M in FYE 2011.

If you do the math on all six years, the shortfall from projections is a whopping $8.1M. Another insane number. I would have never predicted that, but I don’t recall Paul Tait or Joe Ohren predicting that either. In fact, with an income tax, they were counting on an additional $26.6M of revenue over those same years.

Twenty-seven million dollars? I’m sitting here at my desk at work and I can’t stop saying that out loud. Twenty-seven million dollars.

And I have flaws?

I’d love to tell you all the awesome things we’ve done in the past five years, but you’ve already tricked me into starting to fight the 2007 election all over again. That’s simply a waste of time.



Ale Roka
Posted January 17, 2012 at 10:48 pm

While in once sense I appreciate all the suggestions of how to fix the problem … really, Brian Robb’s flaw isn’t that he isn’t smart, deep diving and ready to cut fat.

My pained bemusement at the last round of opposition to a city tax was that there were a bunch of ignorant (sorry, it’s true) suggestions on how to solve the problem (anyone remember the suggestion we simply ticket overweight trucks?).

Robb’s flaw is that he thought he was so much smarter than everyone else (including the president of SEMCOG and PhD public policy profs) that he thought he could fix it. I call it a flaw, but I’ve never doubted that Robb was well-intentioned.

My point is this: Brian Robb (and perhaps others on council) is smart. He has a ton at stake at reversing the position he ran on. If there was another alternative, can a few of us agree that smart, obsessive Robb, would’ve found it by now?

It should be clear that the fact that if THIS council is proposing a tax we really have three choices:
-pass it
-preempt receivership by self-inflicted auctions of everything.

Sorry. I just can’t stand another cycle of “maybe if we replaced police with armed squirrels” suggestions. If you have a real suggestion, take the time to research it. If you don’t, it’s not real.

This time, can we please talk about what’s real?

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