Source: Sherman Publications

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A crisis of perception

August 17, 2011

Dear Editor,

(In response to: 'Brandon Township police fund in trouble,' The Citizen, Aug. 13, page 4):

After reading The Citizen and attending the Brandon Township Board of Trustees meeting, a few things are missing from the true picture.

All of our township officials have ready access to each and every yearly audit of township finances. To make things easier, Treasurer Beltramo in July 2009 reported projected revenue would be down by 28 percent. He also presented the board with a scaled analysis displaying the outcome of all of the audits by Plante & Moran from 2003 through 2008. The picture depicts correctly the steady decrease in unrestricted funds in relation to budget for that period due to lack of tax revenue. As printed July 9, 2009 in The Oakland Press, speaking to the board, Mr. Beltramo stated, "I think it's important that everyone understand where our finances are and where they're going in this economy." Trustee Tom Stowell responded, "This is much worse than our worst-case scenario." Kathy Thurman responding to the 2009 presentation stated the presentation "was not a complete picture of the budget." Remember, this is what they said in 2009, two years ago. In the Aug 8, 2011 meeting Thurman stated, "I can't speculate beyond 2013." This is despite the findings of decreasing revenue every year since 2003 (per annual audits), despite her own report which has the police fund in a deficit for all three scenarios, despite the current need to increase the fire millage, and despite all national and international reports on the U.S. economy, a crisis of perception still exists.

To deepen this crisis, in the same breath Mrs. Thurman wants $15,000 from the general fund (for now) for a failing non-mandated parks & rec department. Thurman, while looking to increase the police millage to 3.5286 mills, asked for a 3 percent raise for both the township employees and township trustees. Additionally, Thurman wishes to decrease voluntatary officials' donations by 3 percent.

As it currently is, on all accounts, my assessment submitted to The Citizen Sept 11, 2010 titled "Remember who dug the hole come election time 2012 and Oct 30, 2010 "Start a new millage for the park? Because we let them" are correct today. Thurman has previously requested, as a wish, that I submit my letters for her correction prior to issuing them to The Citizen, hoping to censor free speech. With police and fire millages increasing, I ask all of you to please let your voice of dissent be heard at the coming budget meetings and in the election 2012.

Michael A. Hamlett