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Feb 08

Time To Believe The Hype

Comments (1) 5:00 PM posted by admin |

Michigan’s Governor Jennifer Granholm has thrown down the gauntlet and is telling local governments that it’s put up or shut up time.

In her State of the State address that she gave on Tuesday night, the Governor said the following:

And our local partners must do the same. Michigan’s counties, cities and villages, townships, and school districts all must do more to share and consolidate resources.In Michigan, we love our hometowns and our school home teams, but we also like saving a buck whenever we can.This year we will find ways to do both.Tonight I am proposing a change to revenue-sharing payments to local governments.Cities and townships that want to see their revenue sharing increase this year will need to show us they are sharing services or consolidating with other units of government to save taxpayers money.

It’s simple. When they show us they’re consolidating or sharing, we’ll “show them the money.”

The City of Ypsilanti has done some consolidation and / or regionalization over the past couple of years. The County now handles IT for the City for a pretty decent savings. The City also buys salt together with Eastern Michigan University. But the Governor wants more.

Consolidation of services makes sense and it saves money,” she said. “And whether it’s by using a carrot or stick we are going to make it happen.

Cities, townships and school districts will get financial incentives to consolidate administrative and other services to save money. Those that don’t will be financially punished next year.

Making it happen in Ypsilanti might be a lot more difficult than it sounds. The majority of City Council want you to vote on an income tax sometime in the next ten months. It will be a hotly contested election that will consume City resources. The City is trying to get from EMU employees what it cannot get from the State.

I know what you’re saying. “Why does everything boil down to the income tax?”

The Governor has given us a task. That task is the consolidation of services. We need to cooperate with our neighboring communities. We need to make partnerships. We need to change the way we do business around here. And if we are focusing all of our attention on an income tax election for the next ten months, we’re not going to meet the Governor’s challenge, and we’re going to get that stick she’s talking about.

Up until now, we could make the State the bad guy because our state shared revenue has decreased from $4M in the halcion days of the City’s budget in FYE 2000-01 to the less than $3.2M we recieve today. Now, if state shared revenues decrease as a result of us failing to consolidate and share, then the onus is us.

Like it or not, we’re going to have to believe the hype.

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1 Comment »

  1. Comment by Tin Foil
    February 9, 2007 @ 11:00 pm

    Like yourself, I’m a firm believer in consolidation of gov resources. I, for one, would love to see us merge with surrounding communities. We’ve got too many fiefdoms in SE Mich.

    I’m also a fellow believer in the law of unintended consequence.

    I think Governor Granholm’s got the right idea, heart wise, but what happens if say, Inkster, tries desperately to consolidate resources with its neighbors but Garden City and Westland look at “what will you do for me Inkster” and decide instead to loop around their neighbor for a more mutually beneficial partnership? Garden C and Westland get state rewards for their partnership while Inkster gets the stick like the pigeon-toed fat kid in gym class scuffing his toes while the jocks pick teams.

    Don’t be surprised if, despite our best efforts to make buddy buddies, Pittsfield and Ypsi Township cooperate and get increased state aid while we wait in the shadows hoping someone will ask us to dance. The other constant law: the rich get richer.

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