Council Meeting 2-20-2012

by Jaime Greene on March 3, 2012

Well after two weeks of high fevers and sickness I am back.  Much has transpired since I last posted; a well deliberated Council meeting, Michigan Municipal League (MML) training and Richmond Community Baptist Church’s Celebration of 50 years of Faith!

 

Below is my recap and opinion of the Richmond City Council meeting held on February 20, 2012.  Here is a copy of the 2-20-2012 “non” official Minutes (still awaiting Council approval) and a link to the Richmond TV webpage, I encourage you to watch this one.

 

 

There were 5 items for consideration on Council’s Agenda tonight. I must confess I have been avoiding discussing the February 20, 2012 Council meeting as I am still processing all of it.  The most deliberated topic was the approval of the Little League 5 year plan 2012, which included requests for financial support from TIFA, for improvement to the Little League field.  Please review the Agenda items they are in numerical order.

 

1. Consideration of Little League 5-year Plan

  • Thus far the longest deliberation on an Agenda item at a regular Council meeting while I have been serving.  Little League clearly brings about passion in a few folks in the community.  The Richmond Little League organization presented to council its Little League 5 year plan 2012 (Please click on the link if you would like to view the document).  Council approved the conceptual plan yet offered no financial backing for the items in the plan.  I do support improvements to the fields and want to recognize that the Little League has spent much time, effort, sweat, and hard work into the field.  However, we are in some tough financial times and my eyebrow is raised when a request for over $500,000 over a 5-year period is made.  Click here for a copy of Little League 5 year plan 2012
  • I appreciate Councilor Yaroch’s request to have the motion clearly state that we are not committing to financial backing at this time but support of the concept that Little League has made a plan and has clear goals and objectives for their improvements to the field.  I encourage you to please go to the Richmond TV webpage and view the meeting and forward any questions you may have regarding the motion made.
  • Final motion read: Motion by Yaroch, seconded by Greene, to conceptually approve the Little League Five Year Plan with the following understanding that this approval does not commit the city to funding the plan.  Further any changes would come before the Recreation Board and be submitted as amendments to the original plan.
  • I am still looking for data on the total amount that TIFA has contributed to the RLL and will post that information when I can obtain it.

2. Consideration of Bid Award for Grounds Maintenance

  • As it stands it would cost more to utilize a DPW worker to cut the grass than it would be to contract it out.  I like that we contract out items such as Ground Maintenance, by doing so we are able to put the skills and talents of our DPW workers in other areas of the city, which I believe in turn then saves us money.  Contract bid granted to Kevin’s Lawn care for 1 year of service.

3. Consideration of the Purchase of Neptune Meter Reading Devices

  • This is a STATE MANDATE.  The city has no choice but to discard old meters by 2014 (ones in stock on our shelves).  I am happy that the meters our Public Works Director researched where capable of the “bells and whistles” aka Smart Meters if we consider implementing the options that it offers in the future (aka a ton of money to do so but the future option is there).  Motion passed

 4. Consideration of Request to Conduct the White Cane Sale/Richmond Lions Club

  • April 27-May 6, 2012 is proclaimed White Cane Week in Richmond!  Blessings to the Lions club for all the great work they do in our community and for others.

5. Consideration of Board Appointments

  • Personnel Board – Gerard Monfette, & Gary Packard
  • Board of Review – Daryl Conrad
  • Board of Zoning Appeals – Mike Kaminski

We do have openings on other boards. Please contact the city offices or myself for further information in serving.  Thank you for the opportunity to serve you.  It is a pleasure to provide transparency in Local Government and in our City of Richmond.  I welcome your comments both below and via e-mail to councilgreene@gmail.com.

 

Next Blog will be a recap of my MML Training.  Blessings!

 

In service,

Jaime Elizabeth Greene

 

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Js March 4, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I can understand paying for upkeep as far as mowing the grass but really $100k a year is ridiculous . For example the cubscouts puts on a quality program that last all year they run on one fundraising and parents shipping in. What makes little league any different? Why not build the cubscouts a building they can have meetings in or a campsite fore scouts? Why? Because there’s no money for it. How much does ayso soccer get from the city? There’s no reasonfor the taxpayers in Richmond to pay for unneeded upgrades when they do nothing for the other youth groups in this town. Not onecentt goes to scouting and becoming an eagle scout is something that a person can put on t their professional resume. Its doubtful putting that your team was little league champs isnt going to get you very far in the professional world. It irks
me quite a bit that a group like little league can ask for so much when other groups in town ask for nothing has anyone gone around town and seen the eagle.projects in some of out public spaces such.as the bird sanctuary at Geirk Park. Scouts give back.and don’t ask.for a cent and little league wants to take our money for superficial things like trees????????

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Winona March 5, 2012 at 10:31 pm

One of your campaign promises was “to be transparent and to show transparency,” but I feel that only works when all the facts are clearly given. Shouldn’t it be stated that RLL brought their request to the city council because the property is owned by the city and therefore needs their permission to make any changes? It is disheartening to read the comments of concerned citizens but not see your follow-up to correct misinformation. For example, the city does not pay to “mow the lawn,” “replace or build new dugouts” or “plant trees.” The city does however; pay the water and electricity for the facility. Perhaps you could take this opportunity to explain TIFA and the role its funding plays regarding community improvement projects as well as your objection to utilizing TIFA as intended by state law.

js ~ while I don’t discount the importance of scouting, as I am an active supporter, isn’t it necessary to note the hundreds of children/families in our community that are active in little league and sadly, only 40-50? children involved in scouting. While it may seem unfair to compare the two equally valuable programs in such a manner, it is after all, a numbers game.

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Michael March 6, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Dear Mrs Greene, Thank you for posting the links of your last meeting and RLL 5 year plan. You seemed very hesitant in supporting Mr. Yaurochs motion and in my opinion made it clear that yourself and Mr. Yauroch had that planned before that meeting. That is just my opinion. Being a lifelong resident of Richmond iam very fond of all the youth organizations our city has to offer including cub scouts and little league along with others. I participated as a youngster and my children get to enjoy them all today. I think its fascinating to see all the local youths and parents and grand parents up at our city park on game days. For a volunteer organization, RLL is top notch, one of the best in the state. I don’t have numbers but can only imagine how much money is spent at local business when little league is having one of the many tournaments put on by its many VOLUNTEERS. With that being said could you please explain to me how TIFA works? Where that money is supposed to go. I think the fire dept. and police dept. should surely have an oppurtunity to get some of that money but can’t understand why you would be against a volunteer organization that keep between 300 to 400 local youths occupied a chance at any of that money. And by the way, the little league president clearly stated that this was a plan and it might take 10 years. I think the little league dose a great job at our city park. Thanks for your time.

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Jaime Greene March 6, 2012 at 5:21 pm

Thank you Winonia & Michael for your comments.

I must humbly confess I do not have all the answers. I am asked many questions everyday and I am finding that it takes time to find answers for them all and desire patience that I will do my best to answer them. I appreciate comments like yours as it does help in answering the questions. My hope is that the Blog creates an environment of transparency, information finding, and provides an opportunity for folks to voice their opinions and be heard. I am thankful that I have experts like you to help enlighten the situation but your statement is not entirely true. The city has paid to replace and build new dugouts in addition financed the lighting of the fields.

I also must correct you in “brought their request to the city council because the property is owned by the city and therefore needs their permission to make any changes?” this did not always happen. It has been past precedence that RLL made changes to the park without consent of the City (my guess over 5 years ago). This is one of the reasons why the 5-year plan was created; to create a better relationship between the City and the RLL, and to ensure that the City is involved with the vision laid out by the RLL Executive Committee. I support this and that is why I voted yes.

Michael to address your post; it concerns me that you do not believe I support RLL. I do and as a past Recreation Board Member I was on was the Board at the time of advising of the approval of TIFA funds for those improvements. I believe I have made it clear that I support RLL in my previous posts. It is a great organization! Little League’s Pledge states the following:
“Pledge

I trust in God
I love my country
And will respect its laws
I will play fair
And strive to win
But win or lose
I will always do my best”

This is a Model I teach my children and absolutely support!

Please do not misunderstand me. My questioning of where “TAX PAYER DOLLARS” are spent does not mean I do not support Little League or what it does for the City of Richmond and its surrounding communities. With a current projected budget deficit of $400,000 for the City, we need to scrutinize ALL Tax dollars and where they are being appropriated. As an elected official it is my duty to see the “big picture” of the financial scope of the City. The Council needs to establish a vision for the city and set goals to prioritize how to achieve the vision. We need to ask, is it a good idea to lay off a city worker so that we can have money to build a dugout for the tee ball field?

I am working on a TIFA post and have been working diligently at collecting data for that post. That is an excellent question!

Thank you for your comments I appreciate them.

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Winona March 7, 2012 at 1:17 pm

Since it is clear neither of us has the documentation readily available to back up who paid for specific little league items, we must agree to disagree, for now.
I was pleased to read your response until you wrote ” is it a good idea to lay off a city worker so that we can have money to build a dugout for the tee ball field.” Are you confident with your implication that little league would really bring such a request to the table if they were fully aware of such consequences. Being under public scrutiny, I think you would know better than most how a statement like that can spin a situation way out of control. I realize the TIFA Act (450 of 1980) is a lengthy document so perhaps the discussion of RLL’s request for funds and where it originates should be continued after all the facts have been laid on the table and TIFA has been explained in its entirety.

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Gary March 7, 2012 at 4:15 pm

I doubt TIFA funds could be used to pay for a city employee anyway. I understand the point you are trying to make, but that is a horrible analogy.

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buzzsaw March 10, 2012 at 9:49 am

I find it intersting that the people in the townships have no problem with the city providing recreational activites as long as the tax payers of the city pays for them.

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Willy March 10, 2012 at 9:54 am

I totally agree with you Buzzsaw, you hit the nail on the head! The city businesses for example hire people not only from the city but from the surrounding area as well. The mmoney spent on recreation should have limts. Unfortunately, this council doesnt seem to see any limits to spending.

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Matt March 15, 2012 at 10:32 pm

I’m sorry to butt in, but none of your or “buzzsaws” statements makes sense. If I’m reading your statements correctly, only city residents can participate in city activities? Wow wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could just keep everybody locked into thier own communities!?! Richmond was made up from a few small communities that joined together, people came together to do better. That’s part of what makes our town better then the others around us. And what does the local business’s hiring people from outside the city have to do with anything? Your last statement makes the least sense, it seems Richmond is doing pretty good considering all the hurdles it has faced. We still have a police dept, fire dept, and many of the other services that other cities have had to outsource. Your statement better applies to detroit, not Richmond. The only problem with our city is the narrow minded, NON-volunteering, big city idiots that have moved here and try to bring their problems and terrible attitudes. Please respond, I find many of the people that respond to these blogs very entertaining…

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