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Letter to the Editor - Township exposed

November 16, 2011 - In one of the worst economic recessions on record, our Township Board from 2009-2011 went on a spending spree depleting the Eagle Valley host fee fund of millions of dollars. The mismanaged and over budget projects have now started to deplete our general fund which has left us uncertain on how to make up the difference in the sheriffs' millage. The 2012 millage renewal will not be enough to maintain current protection.

Mr. Gibb's outburst on August 29 after the new board rescinded the April 18 approval of the landfill expansion now makes sense. He said, "You don't know what you just did, next year there will be police layoffs and cuts to township services". At the time it was thought to be a baseless threat to scare the board into reconsidering this reversal on the landfill expansion. Just one more truth was exposed pertaining to the treachery that was behind his planned expansion of the Eagle Valley landfill. He leveraged the financial stability of our township with his ability to mislead the board into approving the Eagle Valley landfill expansion so the Wildwood amphitheater and Orion Center could be built. Without the landfill expansion there would be no way to recover the depleted funds. The expansion was the only way to finance and maintain the facilities that the township otherwise could not have afforded.

Unfortunately it's time to pay the piper. With the financial instability of the township now exposed, the board needs a solution and I hope that will not be to back pedal on the ill-gotten expansion. Do not use this expansion as the reason to conceal the lack of fiduciary responsibility you have shown. The Waste Management money is tempting and it's that lust for easy money we are paying for now. It's been over ten weeks since you voted to rescind the expansion approval and no progress. I can understand, admitting the truth of what actually happened and explaining this entire fiasco will be embarrassing. The residents of Orion Township deserve the truth and you have already changed your motion and seem to be waiting for this to blow over. There should be no surprise from the board over the inability to cover this shortfall in the sheriffs' millage - you approved all the expenditures. When the township auditors Plante & Moran presented the five-year financial outlook for Orion Township, you all heard what was said. You were told in 2008 with township salaries and benefits making up 58 percent of the budget, the predicted losses from the GM Orion Plant closing and declining property values, the township must adjust accordingly and watch the spending.

There has been a terrible injustice perpetrated on the residents of Orion Township by their elected officials and it's only those elected officials that can make it right. The handful of residents that exposed this travesty have been faced with countless political roadblocks. Have Oakland County and Waste Management been given a Grand Old Pass, a political sweep under the rug? If the residents of Orion Township do not care and are willing to except a tax increase, 40 more years of being Oakland County's garbage dump, and allow this type of behavior from our elected officials, then continue to do nothing. But if you're at all outraged over this then take the time to file a complaint with the Attorney General, write a letter to the editor, e-mail or write our township officials, and get involved - stop this disregard of our rights.

Joe Geraci

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