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Where's the Village of Goodrich logic?



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November 25, 2009 - Dear Editor,

Economically, the State of Michigan is in dire straits and unemployment is at an all time high. Most of us are painfully aware of this and are doing everything we can to reduce spending and protect what savings we have, while keeping our homes. Many of us are struggling to put food on the table and meet monthly costs. The problem at the state level affects all levels of government; county, township, city and village, across the entire state. Revenue sharing has been reduced and it will be reduced further in the coming budget years. Property values are declining, which will also have a drastic impact on local revenue.

The Village of Goodrich is not immune to this problem.

We have been dipping into our savings for a number of years to meet our obligations. If we continue at the current rate, in all probability we will eventually exhaust our savings account. We have dumped the library in the township's lap because we could no longer afford to operate it. We have also voted to eliminate the spraying of the Goodrich Mill Pond to reduce our costs, and also eliminated crack sealing. At the beginning of the budget year we adopted a budget that did not allow for pay increases for all elected officials and employees. Let's face it; the money isn't there to allow additional or unnecessary costs.

Now our village manager is requesting our council increase the number of paid days off for village employees to make up for a lack of a wage increase.

I must really question the logic of this request for a couple of reasons.

A. If we can afford to give time off with pay, what was the purpose of freezing wages and benefits in the first place? We are currently dipping into savings just to make ends meet!

B. If we can really afford to give people time off with pay or without pay, is it possible that we are over-staffed? If so, isn't it our responsibility to reduce staff or hours worked, thus further reducing costs to the residents? After all, the village does not exist to provide employment!

All other levels of government are reducing people, including police and firemen. They are also reducing hours and consolidating jobs to save every penny they can. This is happening in all of the surrounding communities and at every level. It's being reported in all facets of the media, yet Sidge seems oblivious to what is going on all around her. For her to say that this will not or does not affect our budget is ludicrous. Every penny spent has an impact on our budget, and until we can operate within our budget without pulling money from our savings accounts we need to save and watch every cent we spend. If we don't become more fiscally responsible, we will eventually go broke. Of course we can always increase taxes, other levels of government have dipped deeper into our pockets to make ends meet. I'm sure not in favor of this, and I doubt that many of the village residents are in favor of a village tax increase.

But of course, a tax increase will not impact Sidge; she isn't a Village of Goodrich resident.

Patricia J. Wartella/Councilmember

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