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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Commission Considers Ways to Maintain Services at Reduced Costs.

According to City Manager Jay Cravens it is only going to get worse. The economy that is with housing values expected to decline another 5% next year. So with the City on a declining fixed income and prices continuing to rise what do you do ? The approach Mayor Zambricki  and the Commissioners have taken is to work harder and learn all you can about  what your cost saving options are. Twice a month meetings are now a the norm and that does not count additional sub committee time. The Mayor likes options delivered in groups of three.  For the roads, it was do nothing (which really wasn't an option), pay for needed repairs out of existing funds, or float a bond.. Commission chose the second option.  For Pubic Safety which is still an on going topic , the Commission' asked for three options for staffing The full report as provided by the Public Safety Department is on the city website and linked here as Public Safety Presentation.  It scrolls downward from the top. Also included  in the PSD report is the suject  of fire engine longevity and the use of motorcycles in the department. As as result of  of the first PSD meeting, the commission voted to put  $50,000 of  windfall money into a rainy day fund for eventual fire engine replacement.

There was no agenda of the meeting September 27th, The single  topic was the increasing insurance costs for current city employees and retirees. Mayor Zambricki's goal of maintaining the same for less may be pie in the sky but there are reasonable work arounds the city and  it's employees and retirees can strive for. City Manager Cravens  mentioned plans that include chiropractic and psychological therapy which  could be eliminated to reduce costs.

Much was made of an agreement in Clawson  a similar sized city that seem to work for all parties.  It was also recognized that every municipality is facing similar problems  of fixed income and rising health  insurance costs. It was also acknowledged  that the City of Bloomfield Hills has been more generous than most. The commission  appointed a committee to meet with all  concerned and bring the matter to the Tuesday October 11 City Commission  meeting.

On a similar note it is the problem of long term  costs of public safety officers on disability. That is being reviewed.

In short the City Commission spent the hours between  5:30 and 7:00 pm  discussing a  concern  few residents  are even aware of. In our city, per the charter, the commission is the boss and we pay five commissioners $5 a month for twelve month, making our total annual city commission  expense $300.00. For that they handle all issues big and small. If there there was a dispute about what soap was best for the City Hall restrooms and the City Manager wasn't comfortable with the idea of resolving it himself, It would come before city commission.  Mayor Zambricki would of course,want three options.

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