This is not an official blog of the City. It is the work of Mark Kapel who is solely responsible for content.

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Monday, October 31, 2011

Library Historical Time Line. Part 2. October 14th 2003.

Commissioner Dale Dawkins led the charge that evening. Word on street says it was Dawkins who convinced Mayor Benjamin Hoffiz to write break up letter to the Township Public Library. New kid, Pat Hardy, elected to City commission that May later remembers Dawkins as saying it was something that must be done.  Still later she said she regretted having done so. If a library  millage increase was 7.5 times whatever it was last year Commissioner Hardy a former English teacher would have a hard time saying no. Dale Dawkins was for her a role model and mentor and the stand he took is what she remembers. Commissioner Zambricki  was articulate  especially in the closing remarks. Commissioner Davy was the first to mention  the Troy Library and the $100 family  full privilege  card. Mayor Hoffiz presided but did not say much.None of the five (except for Hardy many years  later)  supported millage increase.None of the five suffered for taking that position. With the exception of  Mayor Hoffiz who was completing his second stint as mayor, all the commissioners went to eventual terms as Mayor.

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At the Public Hearing seven residents spoke in favor maintaining library services regardless of the millage increase.Three spoke opposing such action and seven residents had comments or wished to ask questions.

Not : Minute meetings of the era were quite detailed. The names and street addresses  including house numbers  of residents speaking were listed. We have omitted the house numbers and because the residents who spoke were speaking on a topic now eight years old we listed only the first initial. The name of the street are listed. to indicate interest in many parts of the city. If you recognize yourself by an initial and street name  and regret the omission of your full name, please inform us in the grey/blue comment box at the end of this post. You can also tell us if your opinion has changed or remained the same.

A library survey sent by city commission that fall had a 691 replies or a thirty percent return. Better participation than the percentage of voter turn out at some city elections. 375 said no to the millage increase. 288 residents wanted to continue library services regardless and 28 returned surveys with comments only.

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The last document on this page is most interesting. Few if  any in our current government  may be aware of it's existence. That being said the original is not be found  on the City's website. It comes to this publication as a copy of a copy from a private collection and was slightly of kilter when it went through the copier.

The date of the letter is October 14th, 2003 the day of the City Commission meeting  who's minutes appear above. The letter as such was not mentioned by at the meeting. Commissioner Davey does mention in 10/14/03 minutes other options beinging looked into such as the one described in the letter.

The letter represents a agreement that both parties 2003, City of Bloomfield Hills Manager Christine Bremer and Troy Library Director Brian Stautenberg are the sae page on such things a dollar amount and availability.At one point in the letter CityManager  Bremer  references a remark  by Director Stautenberg that the library over the three years prior to 2003  had actually served  644 "Bloomfield Hills" residents.

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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Library Historical Time Line. Part 1. The Millage of 1996 and The 2003 Break up.

In 1996, in the City of Bloomfield Hills  voters rejected a .4 millage  to fund library services from the  Bloomfield Township  Public Library. The millage issue featured a 70%  voter turn out. High for the City. 1500 voted "NO" and 735 voted  "Yes".  A compromise service contract of roughly $200,000  a year for three years was later approved by the City Commission.  Presumably it was renewed in 1999 or 2000 for a three year agreement with the annual  amount due of $226,460.

The City had a working agreement with the Township Library which went back to the Library's origins in 1964. During much of this period the Baldwin Library and the Bloomfield Hills Township Library (BPTL) had one director working with the two library boards. In 1999 the BPTL and Baldwin appointed separate directors.  In  2003 when the City's contract expired the BPTL raised annual fee from $226,460 to $463,580, an increase of 2.5  times  in order to "make usage fees more equitable."

City  residents and  the City commission  claimed a price Pearl Harbor. How would you react if  your lawn service said the  $35 cut would now be  $87.50.  Would you gladly pay it or call around for another service ?

The BPTL offered no explanation for the price increase and as rule does not dispense information in regards to their decision making process.

 What follows is conjecture on the author's part based 
on two incidents that happened seven years apart.

 In 2010 after the millage failed the City contacted the BPTL to see if a dialogue was still possible.The the library  said it was but the .6 millage used in the election that would no longer be acceptable. The new negotiating amount  would have to be 1.2 mills. It seems the library board had been listening to the Township's United Home Owner's Association and it was time the City paid it's fair share. No more  Mr. or Ms. Nice Library.

Why was the City's fair share always double the initially accepted price ?
 Because different formulas were used to compute the price.

Based on 1999 numbers (provided by Southeast  Michigan Council of Government) the surveyed year closest to the 2003 break up, there were  15,174 home owners in the township  and 1385 in the City of Bloomfield Hill.  The median value for  a home was $356, 000 for the Township and $854,000 for the City of Bloomfield Hills. Median means half higher and half lower

By dividing the number of households into the requested annual dollar City residents who paid $163
 in 2002 were requested to pay $335 per household in 2003. In the Township however the average householder paid $335. If the City resident paid $335 the City's annual commitment of $463,588 and the Township's commitment of slightly more than  five million dollars would more or less balance the ten to one advantage the Township had in population. Fair and equal in terms of the mind of the BPTL. Everybody pays the "same." Acceptable to homeowners in Bloomfield Township  who by using the above formula  might have thought the City was getting to use their library for half the cost.

There was just one problem The median household value in the City was $854,000. The Median  household value in the Township was $356,000. The assessment  per household in the city could by half as much because the homes  were more than twice the value. The  BPTL didn't like that math which meant less revenue for them. Neither did the Township resident in the $350,000 house who did not think in terms of million dollar plus homes but in terms of a friend who lived in one of the city's few $350,000  homes and paid less than  he did for "his" Library. In the minds of both the township library and homeowners  it was perfectly logical and justifiable to sock the city and soak the rich.

Could a compromise  have been worked out ? Among reasonable people most certainly.  That's what happened in 1996 when a millage failed. tempers flared and a lawsuit was brought. 2003 was not 1996 however and the Township Library had a relatively new director . There was no compromise, or even any discussion.

The explanation offered by this writer is again pure conjecture  based on the fact that the  BTPL on two occasions  arrived at numbers twice that of what the city thought was fair. The actual increase asked for 2003 was closer to 2.5 rather than the 2x  used in the theoretical model. The difference is the model stops only at "home owners" and the actual number includes "other dwellers".

 October 14th 2003, the City's day of decision. 

On the following page you will see  various documents  concerning that day.  Of the five 2003 City Commissioners, many are familiar  names if not familiar  faces. 2003 Mayor Pro Tem Michael Zambricki is now our current Mayor and has not disclosed  his position on the 2011 millage proposal.  2003 Commissioner Dale Dawkins  is a former mayor  and is listed as a supporter of the current millage proposal. 2003 Commissioner Pat Hardy is also a former Mayor, current commissioner, and library millage supporter. Former Mayor and 2003 Commissioner John Davey is listed as being opposed to the current millage. 2003 Mayor Benjamin Hoffiz as mentioned in our post of August 6th 2011 is deceased.

Many of the residents who spoke at the public hearing , are alive, and well and the same address.  In our next post to borrow from a famous TV Show, "It is October 14th 2003. All is as it was then, except you are there."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

City of Bloomfield Hills International Editions

Want to read the City of Bloomfield Hills while travelling abroad ? It is easy.  Say for example your are  in Hong kong. Use Google for your search engine and type in English in the search engine box. You will find entries that looks like this頁庫存檔 - 翻譯這個網頁
29 Sep 2011 – It was also acknowledged that the City of Bloomfield Hills has been more generous than most. The commission appointed a committee to meet ...

Note  Chinese letters to at the far right . Click on the ones in purple that and the City Of Bloomfield Hills blog will appear in Chinese. Is that cool or is that cool ?

 Below in Red type you will find in red the names of 25 languages. Click on one or all to read an "International" edition of this blog in that language.

 The question is, is  it good  Chinese or the  awful transliterations you see on airline safety cards the flight attendants want you to read before take off?  Well there is one way to find out. The Bloomfield Hills School System curriculum includes the teaching of eight languages, one of which, American Sign Language which we are unable to produce here. The others are Latin  FrenchGerman Spanish, Arabic,  Chinese (which we have already done) and JapaneseMaybe you or your kid knows one of them.
My German is workable. I am a graduate of the University of Vienna's  prestigious  Deutsche Sprachen Fur Auslander Kurs  and I can prattle on auf deutsche  for hours but my pronouncation would give a native speaker reason to pause and probably a headache. I am however  good at Italian and French movies that get dubbed into German In my opinion the Google German  translation is very good  darn. If there is a problem  it' is  with the author's heavily idiomatic English  and fractured syntax not the translation.

Polish anyone ? Irish  for St.Paddy's Day ? How about  Farsi (Persian, Iran, or Haitian Creole for those snobs who think their French is better than yours. They say  Swahil. is the third  language of Mitt Romeny but no one is sure how well he speaks it. Up for some more? Russian is written in the Cyrillic alphabet.Vietnamese uses the Latin Alphabet However.  There are only seven million people living in Hungary but both the language and the people are known world wide. In Hungarian  as in English there is no gender. It's either "a" book or "the" book. No Der,Die, Das  or Le, La, or Les. And ten more to close out our  25.

  1. Armenian
  2. That is not Hebrew. It's Yiddish
  3. Italian
  4. Iceland
  5. Afrikaans
  6. Albanian
  7. Greek
  8. Indonesia
  9. Turkish
  10. Finnish

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    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Monday, October 24, 2011

    The Blueberry Story - Featuring Jamie Vollmer Wednesday, October 26 at 7pm at Bloomfield Hills Middle School, Free of Charge, No Reservations Necessary

     This is the inaugural in the Bloomfield Hills School District Lighthouse  speaker series. By now by observing  School Superintendent  Robert Glass' visual thinking  you know he  likes stories with a moral and analogies with a kick. You also know that  that the pedagogical Mr. Glass seldom says anything without a purpose. You will not be tested on the material but The Blueberry Story will be referenced frequently in the future. So why not get in on the ground floor by attending. It's easy. You can just show up. It is free. Mr. Vollmer's Book may be available for purchase. If you have one already maybe you can get it signed. It is doubtful that blueberries will be served.

    Andover fights to the end (again) but last minute onside kick fails as Lahser prevails 28-21. Knights (6-3) advance to play Redford Thurston (8-1) in state play off.

    I was curious about this football game.Some remarks by a lady at a school board meeting piqued my interest.I had to excuse myself from a dinner party to see this game. My wife was none too pleased about that but it wasn't exactly a black tie affair. It was a cheese(no fat)turkey burgers, Uncle Mike, the dog and "Zorro" the movie on a DVD affair. If that sounds dull one must consider that when one get older one has to watch one's sensory overload. That's why my wife didn't think taking Uncle Mike who is actually older than the city of Bloomfield Hills to the game would be a good idea.
    "Tell me again why you have to go ?"she said sounding like she wanted something on file just in case anybody asked.

    So I started to explain again about the lady at the school board meeting and my wife nodded because I had told her about the school board lady before.We agreed I would greet Uncle Mike at the door thank him for bringing the video, down a quick burger and vamoose.

     Kris Andonian Andover Football Booster. 
    Every thing went according to plan except I went the wrong school. The game was not at Andover.So I went to Lahser where there is like zero parking. It is so bad you figure the smart fans parked at Andover and walked over. There is this street across from the high school. Pine Ridge. 

    I parked  by the ridge, and grabbed the camera. Then a little flashing light tells me there is no card in the camera. So I drove home and got a camera card, drove back. Parked by the ridge and walked a half mile to stadium.  

    When I  got there the score was Lahser 28 Andover 7 and the third quarter is almost over yet the excitement level rivaled that of a game that was just was just beginning.

    As the saying goes if you can't get excited about Andover/Lahser what can you get excited about? 

    My father class of 1939 (Stockton High,Stockton California)  got excited about about the game with arch rival Lodi California. I asked who won and he said, "we won two and they won two which was fair." 

    For my wife it was Royal Oak Kimball versus Dondero but she refused to get excited and was in the marching band because that was the only way she could be in the concert band. 

    For me the 1967 game Perysburg and Maumee was exciting because it was Perrysburg's first win over it's arch rival since 1963. Midway through the fourth quarter with Perrysburg, the home team comfortably ahead by three touch downs, The Perrysburg Police took the victory bell away from the Maumee faithful and drove off with it. You here it clanging off in the ever more distant distance. Later it was explained that the Bell would be delivered to the high school for a special Monday victory party. 

    Luckily no one tried that at Lasher Andover 2011.Maybe. it was because Andover  didn't have what the the local constables might, possibly pre-maturely, considered the property of the home team. But Lahser 28 Andover 7 was about to change as the Andover faithful knew it would.

     Shorty into the fourth quarter the Andover Barons found the end zone. Thus 28-14 a respectable score. Not a blow out. 

    And so it went most of the quarter until there was one minute and five seconds left in the game. 

    That moment of time was frozen in score board history because  one of the teams called time out. I wish I could be more helpful but I wasn't paying particular attention. The game about to end I walked all the way to to Lahser side to be in position to get pictures of the winning team.  Then from the other side of the field, there was a shriek,cheering and an Andover player out distancing his pursuers and streaking towards the end zone. Lahser 28 Andover 21.
     At first I thought Lahser kicked off on 4th down and Andover returned the kick for a TD. The pictures of the scoreboard indicated a 4th down. The I heard something over the PA about a sixty yard pass play. It seems Andover on it's last offensive play of the season had thrown the Bomb and connected. The Andover quarterback #6 one Winston Urwillier threw for 226 yards and three touchdowns against North Farmington. In that game the Andover Barons erased a 46-13 deficit in the fourth quarter by scoring 22 points.Details and stats are gleaned from the October 23rd Birmingham Eccentric reporting on the October 15th game. 

    With 45 seconds remaining. Andover would try to recover the onside kick. That attempt failed and Lahser was able to run out the clock on three snaps from center without trying to advance the ball. The Game ended Lahser 28 Andover 21. Players from both schools shook hands and went to their respective corners for team meetings and if you will celebration.

    The Lahser players after dumping a garbage can of ice water on their coach headed to the Southwest section of the home team grand stands to celebrate with their fans before retiring to Northern zone area. The Andover players, coaches and fans occupied the South end zone.

    Both teams had had things to celebrate. For Lahser it is a trip to to the state play-offs. The fist since the Knights made the state semi finals in 2008. It is a a spectacular rebound from a two win season in 2010. This year the Knights got off to a 3 and 0 start only to lose the next two by devastating margins. The Knight rebounded to win three of their next four games and qualify for post season action. Here Head Coach Dan Loria explains some of the play off details while the Lahser Band plays in the background.

    For Andover there was the camaraderie of a tremendous effort against overwhelming odds to celebrate in a season the participants will probably never forget. The varsity had only 21 players of which 16 are seniors.Coach Jim DeWald told the Eagle Newspaper, "Numbers in football mean more than in any other sport." In a physically demanding sport an eleven man offense and an all eleven man defense is the norm. Players who play both offense and defense for an an entire game is unheard of in the last 50 years. No greater authority than three time Superbowl winning Coach Vince Lombardi said "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." In an eight game schedule, Andover played five teams that qualified for the 2011 Play-offs. 22 points in the fourth quarter against play off bound North Farmington is impressive. So is 14 fourth quarter points against Lahser.This was a team that played it's best late in the season, against the best when time was running out. That's not fatigue. That's something else. Kris Andonian who witnessed the handshakes,and hugs said."They've been doing it all season long." Maybe that is it. Too few bodies for too long a season.Whatever, many short season playoff teams would like to have Andover's fourth quarter moxie.
    Lahser Band post game
    When I got home, Zorro was just concluding and everyone wanted to know who won. I told them and told them the score. The real answer however is Bloomfield Hills with two teams to be proud of.


    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Bloomfield Hills High School

    First Look 
    Fielding Nair 85%Schematics
    For a Unified Bloomfield Hills
    High School
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    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Bloomfield 20/20 Forfeits Signatures Obtained Prior To August 12th to Get an Extension till Nov 12th On Recall Campaign.

    The following statement dated Sunday October 16th  appeared on the Bloomfield Hills School Forum website written by Chris Fellin  Bloomfield 20/20.
                          Recall  Status
    Chris Fellin The Recall campaign  has momentum
    The recall campaign has momentum, and more signatures and completed petitions are coming in on 
    a daily basis. Bloomfield 20/20 will continue to collect signatures for the next several weeks. Recall 
    supporters have asked us to keep up the effort and continue to keep pressure on the board to act in 
    accordance with the November 2010 vote. 

    The majority of BHSD taxpayers do not like what the board is doing, and will not approve any new tax 
    for a construction project at the Andover site.

    On October 18, the $863,114 consultant Fielding Nair will present a plan to the board and public that 
    requires new taxes for a $60-million to $70-million construction plan. This for phase 1 only.
    Bloomfield 20/20 is outraged and anticipates the community will be outraged, and that many more 
    residents will step forward to sign the recall petitions in response.

    Bloomfield 20/20 will continue to gather signatures as long as our supporters wish to do so.

    Legally the recall signatures must be obtained in a a ninety day period of time. B20/20 is trading the signatures they obtained prior to August 12th for new signatures they hope to obtain between now and November 12th. This may also include signatures of people who signed prior to August 12th who are willing to sign another recall petition dated between August 12th and November 12th.

    If B20/20 fails to get the enough signatures by  November 12th they may trade September signatures  received  prior the 12th of that month  for December signatures and extend the recall deadline until December 12th.
    To recall  an individual board member B20/20 needs 5266 signatures. To recall all seven 36,862  signatures or seven times 5266 are required.

    Kate Pettersen School Board Treasurer  Going or staying ?
    As months get traded the date of a possible re-call election gets advanced. B20/20 believes that date of that election would be now be March of 2012.

    How many signatures does B20/20 have currently ? The exact number is anybody's guess. The  number is not 36,862. Is it half that ? That would be enough to recall half the board, which Jenny Greenwell, B20/20 leader believes would be a victory. Then the question would then be which half ? School Board member Kate Petersen is moving out of the district. Her husband has accepted a job in another city. The Petersen house, depending on who you talk to has or has not been sold . Treasurer Petersen has expressed a desire "to stay on the board "as long as possible." That possibility  like the B20/20 campaign could be indefinite if Peterson were to rent an apartment or move in with a friend or neighbor.The Bloomfield Hills School Board and the school district has been remarkably indifferent about such arrangement in the the past.
    Jenny Greenwell.  Something She Could Live with ?

    "She could even move in with us," Jenny Greenwell said when discussing the possibilities  before adding the the caveat "Over my dead body !"

    The other school board member considered vulnerable  is  Trustee Robert Herner  who is an appointee for a  past Board Member who who lingered before leaving. The term Herner is serving is ends in 2012.
    Vulnerable ?
    Street Talk says that if B20/20  had the necessary signatures to recall four of the five other board members (not Petterson or Herner) they would have used them on October 12th. A B20/20 spokesperson they are pulling Peterson and Herner from  future recall  mail out petition packets to save time and money. This prompts  questions about the initial strategy of attempting to the entire recall board.

    B20/20 hopes that citizenry will be outraged  by tomorrow night's Fielding Nair presentation at a  7:00  pm  at the Doyle Center. The total Fielding Nair consultancy cost the school district more than $800,000 dollars and it is expected that a $60 to $70 million dollar bond will be  requested to pay for a new Bloomfield Hills High School. If the Bond issue fails the The new Bloomfield High School will operate on the campus of two or more existing schools.

    The hoped for  outrage might be less than anticipated however.

    "So that's Plan B," Jenny Greenwell said  when informed of the School Board's fall back position should the Bond issue fail.. "I could almost live with that."

    You don't say.

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    A Late Afternoon in Early Autumn in the City of Bloomfield Hills.

    Summer ran late this year but nobody complained. Halloween is on its way but outdoors the season is just getting started. There was a lady,young to be exact,who bought a luxury condominium  at a new development in  Birmingham. She said that when she looked out the window , she wanted to see stores. People in the City of Bloomfield Hills do not see stores. Instead they see the samples  provided  from some of the better front and  back yards on a late afternoon in early fall.

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    City Commission and the Survey Round One: What we have here is a failure to communicate.

    At the last City Commission meeting on October 12th,despite an overloaded agenda, an hour of time was blocked off  to hear  half hour presentations of from Cobalt Community Research and Mitchell Research and Communications. In both cases the plug was pulled before the midway point of either presentation. There was a back to back  total disconnect between presenter and the city commission. It would be an exaggeration to say  that  a commissioner  was obligated to stand on a chair, put two fingers in the  mouth and blow like Gabriel.  Hand waving and raised voices were however, required to prevent the further clicking of Power Point presentations. Fans of the electric bill will be happy to know that no actual plugs were pulled.

    It seems both survey firms (Cobalt is a non profit and Mitchell is a national company) planned on using  a small specifically defined sample to determine the opinion of the whole population. The City Commissioners said they wanted all residents surveyed. Cobalt said they could do so but that would raise the price from $3,000 to $5,000. Mitchell could survey all as well  but it didn't seem thrilled by the idea or did not  necessarily see the need.  The meeting was televised  by Bloomfield Cable Television (BCTV). It should be available on the city's website in a couple of weeks and  we will alert you as to the start and stop points so you may see this segment for yourself. It  should be watched very carefully.

    Commissioner Sarah McClure said the point of the survey was "to help us (city commission) answer more controversial issues. Like should we move elections from May to November or have one city wide trash hauling company."

    These were not  casual "for instances"  and commissioner McClure knows that or should. The residents of the City don't consider the topics mentioned as particularly controversial and most probably believe they have been resolved. In 2009  at a special town hall meeting residents stated a definite  preference for the multiple trash haulers. A change in election date changes much more than date and would require a city wide vote to amend the city charter. In 2010 at a public hearing residents stated  a  strong desire for keeping the election dates the same. The mention of such relics which even in their day weren't exactly "controversies" may presage a resurrection of these topics as agenda items.
    Mitchell Research does more than survey and is not shy about full scale advocacy. In their abbreviated presentation they mentioned one city that kept voting for multiple trash haulers.Then Mitchell  Research came on board and  the proper positioning of a "single trash hauler" and the subsequent  election victory,  were given as example of the benefits Mitchell Research can provide  to a municipality. On their website Mitchell boasts....

    Campaigns are tough. There is never enough money and the deadline is always yesterday. That’s often when we get the call to turn things around and get the campaign back on a winning track. And, that’s when we’re at our best. For example, we helped pass a $500 million bonding proposal to build a garbage burning incinerator in Oakland County, Michigan, one of the wealthiest counties in the country. Our victory was the first time in 38 attempts around the United States that anyone had ever been able to get voters to approve a this type of incinerator. Our company drafted and implemented the plan, conducted all the polling, did the print and electronic advertising, and led the campaign to victory. We won for the same reasons our clients always hire us: we had a well thought out, research driven strategy; hard-hitting advertising, and just plain hard work!

    So we may ask the question is the City Commission seeking to get our opinion or to convince us of theirs?

    When the Mitchell  presentation was broomed  (probably because they insisted a small sample sizing was more accurate, and that phone calls were the contact medium of choice) they pointed the finger at City Manager Jay Cravens and said,"You told us you wanted our most accurate survey." Mr. Cravens did not deny that. "Well the one we brought has an 95% accuracy rating ," the survey company offered as a parting shot.

    How does one define accuracy ? It is interpreting what we the people think? Or is it making us think something  someone else  wants us to think ?

    Mayor Zambricki  said the point of the survey was to identify priorities, to provide cost benefit analysis, and to give performance feed back, that  would  help the City Commission determine what to do now and in the future to improve the city.

    If  true that is  simple enough and complicated only when the Commission doubts it's own ability or the intelligence of  its constituents. Recently resident Robert Toohey wrote a letter about the up coming  library millage election. In it he identifies priorities, does cost vs benefit analysis and tells people what to do and how they can benefit. The cost for this double sided letter to all city residents ? $1100 to $1500. That is a third or half what the city has been quoted for the cheapest partial sample survey. Toohey  as a former head of the City's planning commission conducted the most elaborate and successful  resident survey in city history for the City's master plan. See the  July 18th post.

    Furthermore  City Commission should be ashamed of themselves for going to outsiders determine the pulse of the city in which they live. That information is readily available from the residents who are not reticent . Survey companies say that such information is not always  accurate  and that people tell you what you want to here. There is  truth in that statement. Just as there is truth in the statement that the survey companies tell survey  seekers that to get their business. PT Barnum said there was sucker born every minute and that wisdom has never been refuted.

    Friday, October 14, 2011

    Overview of Services The Baldwin Library Offers.

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    Fact Sheet :The Baldwin Public Library and Its Proposed Contract with The City of Bloomfield Hills.

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    What happened at the City Commission Meeting of October 11th.

    Every Penny  Counts  !
    Hats off to Commissioner Micheal McCready who read the fine print and asked the questions  that stopped the bleeding  on close to $100 in finance charges paid by the city to American Express.It seems the city hasn't been paying their  American Express credit card bill on time. The meeting  agenda packets compiled by City Clerk Amy Burton and her staff,  include invoices the  city receives and checks written  by the  city. The trouble is the agenda packets financial reporting  runs many pages and most people fast forward through lists which among  other things include report expenses for car washes, vehicle repairs, office supplies, and Troy Library card reimbursements.The city was billed finance charges for late payments in September  for $24.98 which was reported in October agenda packet. In addition the city was billed  $19.20 for August and  $37.94 for June, Commissioner McCready asked why the bills weren't being paid on time. "We have the money don't we ?" His  question prompted some inter department finger pointing and assurances that some inter departmental  re-routing would take care of tha matter. Let's hope so. Readers are welcome to check for themselves next month. Expenses are listed in alphabetical order and "American Express" comes early. The last line under "American Express" will list finance charges if any. Just think of how many airline miles or deluxe toaster oven points the city forfeited by paying late. Worse in addition to doing his job Commissioner McCready took on a task that any self respecting newspaper reporter should have been doing.

    The Library
    Doug Koschik, Director for the Baldwin Public Library gave a  detailed  overview of the Balwin Library and what it offers residents of the City of Bloomfield Hills. We linked to the written pdf file copy of this presentation which is on the city web site in our commission meeting preview post of  October 9th. The complete five page text follows this post. Although the pages appear small they may be enlarged to full size by clicking twice on the small page. Mr. Robert Toohey in his letter to city residents published here on Octber 11th referenced and urged City residents to read the entire  Service agreement between Baldwin and the City. The Baldwin people believe that is important as well as they brought copies of the agreement fto the meeeting for all to read . That five page agreement was linked to the our preview post on October 9th  and is provided again in reduced size pages that can be blown up by clicking, in an October 11th post which immediately follows Mr. Toohey's letter.
    Why do we reprint ?
    What can be found on the City website  or in the case of  Robert Toohey's  letter  an opinion that was mailed  to all City residents ? For your convenience and because the issue  warrants it it. Our surveys show that people read the reprints. Some people may be unaware that a document is on the City website which they visit infrequently. Maybe Mr. Toohey's letter (or others like it, or offering an opposing point of view that is  mailed to a city wide audience) is overlooked or tossed. Maybe the night before the election someone wants to review all  documents or opinions relating to the issue  without tearing through the entire house looking for them.

     A good question.
    A woman from Marblehead (Rudgate) asked about a  portion or the agreement between the  Baldwin  Library and the City which  states...

    6. The Contracting Community shall indemnify, defend and hold Baldwin, its officers, agents, employees and officials harmless from any and all claims, losses, liabilities,
    causes of action, demands, judgments, decrees, proceedings, and expenses, including attorney fees, of any nature (“claims”) arising out of or resulting from the Contracting Community’s participation in this Agreement.

    City Attorney William Hampton said it was a basic indemnification cause which he described as standard boiler plate in most contracts these days. While anyone with $150 dollars could sue about almost anything he saw very little risk or exposure for the city which has Government immunity and liability insurance. Hampton added that he saw no legal problems or pit falls for the city in the  contract. 
    Survey Says..
    What happened would be rather comical if the subject matter wasn’t so serious and fraught with implications. It seems the commission wants to survey public opinion, which on the surface is a noble pursuit. From there it gets complicated and a times a little scary.We will cover this section in a separate post titled, “ The City and the Survey, Round 1.”  Look for it next week. 

    Wireless Facility "nee Communications Tower" Round 2
    Mayor Zambricki in regards to this issue said Commission  was not approving, and not denying it The commission is willing to take it the next step and get input from the residents. Commissioner Connie Saloum said "it is very important that residents know what is going on" regarding this matter. We will give all the details in a seperate post titled, "The City and the Cell Phone Tower Round  2." Look for it next week.

    New Hires. PSD  Chief and The Commission agree on details. Disagree in outcome. 
    This too shall covered in detail in an upcoming post

    In other matter the Commission will
    • Commit .35 mills of existing revenue to road expenditures.
    • Is considering along with the building department a mock disaster training exercise in the city's most densely populated area, the in back of the Hunt Club area, Kingsley Trail et al..
    • Host a swanky wine and cheese reception for donors of the Tree Initiative Program at the prestigious Village Club. Gold Fish crackers most unlikely.

    Wednesday, October 12, 2011

    Agreement For Library Services Between The Baldwin Library and the City of Bloomfield Hills

    To enlarge to full size click on document twice
    To enlarge to full size click on document twice
    To enlarge to full size click on document twice
    To enlarge to full size click on document twice
    To enlarge to full size click on document twice

    Tuesday, October 11, 2011