Source: Sherman Publications

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Start a new millage for the park? Because we let them

October 27, 2010

Dear Editor,

Has anyone ever taken a look into the expenditures, revenues, and salaries in regards to the recreation department?

Firstly, the recreation department and the township park are non-mandated services as stated in the Brandon Township mission statement. Thanks to the previous administration and current officials, the Fantastic Four (Kathy Thurman, Jeannie McCreery, Bob Dewitt, and Tom Stowell) not only have the recreation department and park not seen cuts since the election in 2008, they have spent. They spent $92,000 on the play structure and will spend another $81,000 plus $20,000 for engineering fees on the lift station and pathway at the park. Having looked at the "Revenues with Comparison to Budget" report for the recreation department received from the friendly ladies in Jeannie McCreery's office, the money does not exist in the recreation department. They will, as Treasurer Tyrone Beltramo put it, have to "rob Peter to pay Paul." They will continue to shift funds from the general fund to the recreation budget and this is why we have to cut emergency services or raise the millage rates.

Who runs the recreation department and how are they paid? According to the township101 budget, the recreation department has a director, administration. assistant, and a programmer. They are not paid under the recreation department but through the township general 101 fund budget. Combined, these three positions take home $115,257.80, with over $2,100 in expenses and have racked up over $114,000 in recreation department expenditures. This department is supposed to be revenue neutral, which means if you don't bring it in, you don't spend it. When you do the simple math they cost nearly twice what they bring in. The disbursements and employee salaries (with expenses) are $231,357.80 (not including the funds above spent on the park) and the revenue is at $130,000 for 2010.

If our substitute officials were truly serious about the budget, they would have cut this non-mandated recreation department down to size. They could have stopped spending excessively on the park. They could have kept our emergency police services here. As desperation rises history has shown that crime also rises. For those interested, read about the world prior to WWII and in the Great Depression, very desperate times. The hole being dug is forcing but one end. We must open our eyes and know they have but one way out. Our elected officials will have to increase all millages to the maximum allowable and start a new one for the park because, "we let them."

Michael A. Hamlett