2014-15 Budget is passed

The Council and the Administration have agreed on the annual 2014-15 Fiscal Budget proposed by City Manager, Tony Nowicki and presented by Marilyn Stamper, Finance Manager.

Although Mayor Hinkley had some difficulty supporting this budget because of the lack of what he perceived to be a difference in the amount of dollars budgeted for Economic Development, the Mayor concluded,”…he wasn’t comfortable with the Plan that we have or don’t have.” “Things are happening around us. People are passing Wixom by.” The Mayor thought we needed to commit more dollars toward Economic Development and utilize this money to attract new business. It disturbs him that he doesn’t see a Plan. If we don’t have a plan,we will not be successful”

If, in fact, people and businesses are passing Wixom by, perhaps it would be a great idea to find out why.

Councilman, Nick Kennedy, “found it interesting that nothing was brought up about Economic Development during the Budget Sessions.” “…To say that we don’t have a Plan is a misnomer. “…We are moving ahead with talking to the businesses in regard to Economic Development.”

Councilwoman, Lori Rich stated, “..that the Mayor did mention Economic Development a couple of times during the Budget Session. However, “…she completely disagreed with his concerns. ” Ms. Rich stated that she agreed more with Mr Kennedy’s opinion overall in terms of Economic Development; however, we need to recognize what the city is and what it is not. We are not Troy, Auburn Hills, or Novi…and she liked the uniqueness of what the city is and what it is not.”

Ms.Rich concluded that,”…Administrations over the years, including this Administration, has moved forward with Economic Development and it has worked and it is serving the City quite well.”

The Mayor’s final point was that, “…what he has been waiting for is a report out City being newly identified. The Mayor reluctantly  supports the budget and he was making it known that we don’t have a (Economic Development) Plan.

Nevertheless, the Council passed the Budget totaling $11,625,662 in expenses.

The list of expenditures are listed.

Expenditures

City Council $ 14,876

City Manager $ 3,261

Assessor $ 177,488

Building $ 366,382

Legal Council $ 55,000

City Clerk $ 197,229

information Systems $ 136,284

Financial Administration $ 318,786

General Operating $ 776,194

Building Maintenance $ 60,300

Cultural Center $ 305,909

Fire $ 983,459

Police $ 3,358,139

DPW $ 1,594,664

Zoning Board of Appeals $ 2, 400

Board of Review $ 1,196

Planning Committee $ 95,600

Senior Citizen Committee $ 60,142

Parks and Recreation $ 334,957

Interfund Transfers $ 2,477,396

Total Expenditures $ 11,625,662

The entire noted comments and the Fiscal Year 2014-15 Budget is found within the minutes of May 27,2014.

Coming Next:

           * What is Economic Development and its defining characteristics

           * Budget in detail, moving forward

Supreme Court, Shockingly Unjust

How did Money become a language and attain a power, act, or manner of speaking? It was through a misguided and belligerent Supreme Court ruling know as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission that created the omnipotent corporation because the stupidity of the Justices ruled that free speech included the commercial language of spending money.

Money is commerce, pure and simple and has nothing to do with free speech.Individuals may spend money any way that they wish, but to equate corporate spending to an individual’s language of free speech is incomprehensible.

Language of Money and Religion

Language of Money and Religion

Ref: Wikipedia

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 558 U.S. ___ (2010), (Docket No. 08-205), is a US constitutional law case. The United States Supreme Court held that the First Amendment prohibits the government from restricting political independent expenditures by corporations, associations, or labor unions. This followed a line of decisions starting with Buckley v. Valeo, 424 U.S. 1 (1976) interpreting freedom of speech to include spending money. The case has remained intensely controversial for increasing the influence in elections that money can have, in contrast to most other developed countries where limits are imposed on all election spending.

As this shameful ruling in Citizens was not enough against the American Public, the elitist Court once again has demonstrated that a prepared legal piece of paper “Chartering a Corporation” has no justification in law beyond the “thoughtlessness of political motivated justices.”

Power, money, religious convictions, and political influence peddling to these Justices of the Supreme Court are the interests of this ideology oriented and biased Court.

The Supreme Court in its latest decision known as the “Hobby Lobby” decision, the Court  heard arguments regarding the Affordable Care Act’s requirement that for-profit corporations provide insurance coverage for contraception. The case, will essentially pit religious believers against women’s rights advocates.

The case was brought to the attention of the justices by the chain of crafts stores Hobby Lobby that cited conflicts of its religious principles. The justices reviewed the case under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, a law requiring that the federal government meet a demanding standard when it imposes burdens on religious beliefs.

First, and maybe of most importance for the meaning of the Constitution, the Justice would want to decide the case not based on the First Amendment, but on the protection for religious rights provided in a 1993 federal law.

A  first question was how the court could avoid the tough constitutional question about whether corporations can “exercise” religion in the constitutional sense…”that the ruling could create a system where corporations could claim religious rights violations and earn exemptions to laws.”

What a surprise when the Court gave another gift to Corporations! I have to believe that they recognized the potential of their decisions that their decision would be entering a new world in which, for the first time, commercial enterprise could successfully claim religious exemptions from laws that govern everyone else.”

The Supreme Court has demonstrated what is known all along: there are a lot of men in power positions that don’t give a damn for Women’s rights or for their health and well-being. Some Employers are apparently of the same religious and hypocritical bent as the Supreme Court.

Whether it be a tightly held ownership corporation or a widely based ownership corporation, it must be a basic foundation  in commerce and law that Charter Corporations have no standing or “Human Presence” status; to rule otherwise is to open the doors to an unruled Corporate world of plunder and deceit on the American people. Remember Citizens vs FEC?

The Supreme Court has released the terror; now that the terror has been legally unleashed, there is no stopping it. The commercial plague will have migrated to all companies and corporations and the end of social health and well-being of the American people has no constitutional protection under any prevailing laws.

Any Corporation created by paper is not a human; therefore, there should be no Corporate protective religious vail for the fanaticism of a religious corporate, or its hypocrites that dictates disingenuous demands to the detriment of the health and welfare of women or anyone else.

There is an hypocrisy that exists in those who create and manage a corporation when they use religion, “that is defined as an organization based upon faith  and worship” to strike out at those who desire to practice their own beliefs and manage their own lives according to their own volitions, specifically, if there are a  number of potential differences in religious beliefs within the corporate members.

When individual employees values are suppressed and their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness is deterred by an employer through religious hypocrisy is deprivation of health care for the employees; if the ruling stands, it is a deterrent for all the people if unchallenged.

It would appear that hypocrisy is in many Corporate foundations where management and owners having a faith-based religious extreme and are willing to attack their own employees using a religious vail.

It would be appropriate for these employees and those who feel that their own health and well-being is jeopardized by the corporation’s attitude, they should find a different employer; additionally, a boycott of their business by the affected people would be entirely justifiable.

***And now we have, and have had “Corporate Tax Inversion” that allows Corporations to not pay taxes to the US; Fortune’s Magazine article will enlighten us all.

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Wow! Celebration with a BLAST!

 Lighting the Night…Wixom Style!

Celebration Ready

Celebration Ready

From the first dimming of the fleeting light of day, the fireworks began with the little noise representative of small firecrackers; then there was a loud single bang here and there and the noise progressed steadily and finally the thunderous noise from major fireworks was heard coming from all directions and from the various subdivisions. The celebrating had begun!

As the evening progressed and when the night finally arrived the noise of the fireworks became louder and more pronounced. At ten o’clock the entire town north of Pontiac Trail and from east to west and north to south through out the community, the night sky was filled with colored lights, thunderous booming of a discharged canister accompanied by a burst of colored splashes of lights which formed the various shapes that awed the imagination and an exclamation of, “How did they do that one?” The residents did indeed celebrate the Fourth-of-July. The founding fathers would have been proud of this nightly display.

Some would say it was just residents setting off fireworks, nothing more. But I would like to believe that the true patriots came out on this night to show their appreciation of life, liberty and the appreciation from oppression of the British and in remembrance of the triumphant  creation of a new Nation.

Independence Day is to be Celebrated and none should ever for get this. It is not to be celebrated in June or in any other month. There is only one July 4, 1776! And that is that…Get with the program!Independence

Congratulations to our residents and their Celebration of Lighting the Wixom Night. It was one of the best displays of fireworks and of celebration I have witnessed in the thirty-nine years that I have annually watched the lighting of the night skies on the Fourth-of-July.

I think there was a spontaneous point in the celebration where the simultaneous lighting and setting off of fireworks around Loon Lake actually shook the peripheral earth…and a small water tsunami was rolling into the canal; fortunately there was no damage!

The celebration continued for better than two-hours and what a night it was. Thank you to all those who participated in Lighting the Night in celebration of Independence Day. You certainly made my Independence Day a brighter one and thanks to all the residents and the subdivisions who took the time and care to Light The Night, WIXOM STYLE!

 

 

 

Did “Lite the Nite” Serve its purpose?

Fredom-isnt-FREE.jpgThe downtown streets were filled to the maximum with enthusiastic people and the vendors, the businesses, and the restaurants were bombarded with customers buying food, beverages, burgers, fish and chips and precious tokens to be taken home. The crowd was pleasant and there was a great mix of the young, the beautiful and the precious elderly. All came to enjoy the music and the beautiful evening with their expectations of what the City of Wixom would provide in the festivities of “Lite the Nite.” None were disappointed when the Lite the Night fireworks presentation came at ten o’clock and lasted for about twenty-five minutes.

Sibley Square Park was packed with people as well as the surrounding landscape; the benches around the pond gave comfort to resting and relaxation for many. There were as many children as adults, all having an enjoyable evening. Lite the Night fireworks exploding into the night sky above Wixom filled the night air and the blue sky with bright-colored lights with a mix of thunderous noise that delighted and greeted those who had spent the evening waiting for the moment.

A delighted audience was not disappointed with the event. The Lite the Night festivities were a success; it was noted that the parking from south of the tracks to north of Maple Road and all through the downtown area was at a premium; every available space and field had a vehicle parked, or rather squeezed into it.

It is hoped that the vendors, sponsors and the participation of all the businesses and our own community’s offerings were successful. Much has been put into this event by the Administration for the specific purpose of fun, festivities, and for the economic interests and benefit for those businesses within the downtown area.

Having seen the crowds of interested people and the fun-filled event, it was evident that while the Police watched and talked with the people, the Fire Department displayed their interests under a tent giving away hats to those who are always interested in the Fire Department and their fire truck; both Police and the Fire Departments representatives gave a very secure presence adding much to the atmosphere of the evening.

Having noted the obvious, there came a moment of realization.

Having arrived late for the opening ceremony it was obvious to me that the day’s events were to note the significance of the July 4, date of historical importance. After all, everyone should know what happened on July 4, 1776. (the Declaration of Independence was formally adopted by 12 colonies after minor revision. A New Nation was born.)

Our country is what it is today because of this historic event and our freedoms are secure because of this document and what happened on this most important  date. We should never forget this! But have we?

Having arrived late to the festivities, I obviously missed the introduction of the Mayor and his speech that noted the significance of this date, and the importance of recognizing the significance of the evening’s events. I too missed the flag raising ceremony and the waving of flags and the applause of the Mayor’s speech. I too missed the children and the adults that carried their little flags…typical at such ceremonial events, as is the wearing of the many t-shirts depicting the freedoms and liberties shared by all Americans created by the red, the white, and the blue symbols and language characteristic for the day.

I too remembered the previous reading of the Parks and Recreation advertisement. It was noted by the Administration and Staff, “…Come and join us in celebrating Independence Day Wixom style! We’ll be featuring 2 bands, great food, beer and wine tent, family entertainment and of course, a spectacular fireworks display! Interesting was my thought! Where was the mention of the true meaning of the day’s celebration?

What happened to the meaning, the celebration, the momentous realities of the historic value of why this date (actually July 4, 1776 is so significant? It has been noted that the Celebrating of July 4 th Holiday is a momentous occasion that many communities and their Administrations have “pushed into the background” in order to promote businesses by sponsoring festivities that bring the public to the downtown areas for the survival of local businesses. There too is the desire of many Administrations to eliminate overtime costs for Police, Fire, DPW, and Administrative Staffing for the events when they are a recognized holiday.

Unfortunately, money is always the interest;  the realities of why municipalities do not celebrate a significant day and date are thrown away because economics take precedent over the patriotic interest. Spending dollars is not wise, making money is! There is no money in the promotion of citizenship and patriotism.

To understand and remember why we celebrate specific occasions as the creation of a New Nation is a momentous obligation; a responsibility to give the public an opportunity to participate in such an occasion is citizenship at its finest.

A festival of “Lite the Nite” is a festive occasion but, a festivity without meaning is just another day in the events calendar, nothing more. A celebration of liberty and the creation of a New Nation is a cause for celebration that should not be ignored. Has Wixom, like many other communities, forgotten why we have a need to celebrate this occasion in an appropriate format? When it is recognized the world over that wars are in the daily news and freedoms are not gifts we should think about it.

Not to see a child, an adult, a policeman, a fireman, or any residents or businesses either carrying or flying an American Flag for what was essentially meant to be a celebration in remembrance of a New Nation created for liberty and justice for the people is astonishing.

Memories in Pictures

Mr Community with Character

Mr. Community with Character “RETIRES”

 

Mayor and Wife meet the President and First Lady Bush

In Washington negotiating for the NEW Post Office

Once upon a time “The Candidate”

Wixom Express On Time Delivery

The history of Wixom has always been interesting; both the good times and the bad times are all worthy of a Memory.

Relaxation and The Wixom Wire News

   It is  a nice day to relax and I am just sitting on the balcony enjoying the day doing absolutely nothing. No, I am not looking out upon Loon Lake, but its the next best water: the Grand Strand Bay.

The weather is not as nice as I would like it, but 65 to 70 degrees temperatures are better than a 12 or 28 above zero temp, and the winter snow can stay where it is, and melt before I get home to Loon Lake and Northridge.

My relaxation is quite improved by the receiving of the March/April publication of the Historical’s Society “The Wixom Wire.” Must reading of course!

Jackie’s notes and Hugs are always nice to receive as well as reading the latest Society News and reviewing coming events.

It was noted that new officers were elected for the Historical Society by a membership vote in January and the new officers are: President, Laure Dorchak; Vice-President, Nancy Dingeldey; Secretary, Jackie Coulter; Treasurer, Graham Bennett. Congratulations all!

Noteworthy is the remarkable history of all the work the Historical Society has done for the community over the many decades of service to the City of Wixom. With the many events that they sponsor, their regular presentations at meetings, and their travel programs, this dedicated group of people does more with less than any other group or organization in Wixom.

If you have not visited the Historical Society’s meeting, stop in and say hello! They are a devilish group, and they like to get things done; but you will have fun in doing all that they do, and there is much they need and want to do. You will be welcomed with open arms, maybe even get a “Hug” from Jackie!

Congratulations to the new officers! The next event on their Social Calendar  is scheduled for April 21, 7:00 P.M. at the Wixom City Hall noting “Early Detroit” and this will be an interesting evening.

The event will be hosted by Sylvia Domzalski and Vivian Fogle. So stop in and say Hi to everyone!

Tell them Wayne sent you; then again you might want to rethink that…

Tomi and I will soon be back in Michigan; in the mean time, take care, stay warm and let someone else do the shoveling of all that snow.

I too need to catch up on the City’s events and see what the Council is doing now! But remember, it is my Relaxation time!

Containing City Expendatures: New Budget Under Development

Hold on to your money

Budget is Pending

As City Manager, Mr. Nowicki prepares for the presentation of the new City Budget, the main question is, “How are we progressing towards bringing expenditures into line with revenues received?” The second question to ask, “How will the Council react to the necessary personnel and staffing restructuring that may be necessary in several departments if they are staffing changes within the new budget.”

It goes without saying, one of my pet-peeves is the public fraud perpetuated by the previous Administration that places considerable emphasis on a mythical ‘Department of Public Safety” that does not exist…and never did exist. It is an attempt to unnecessarily “Puff up” an unwarranted relationship between the Police Department and the integration with the Fire Department.

It goes without saying that both of these departments very easily may stand alone on their own merits, and they too can coordinate all necessary public safety issues between the Police Chief, the Fire Chief and the City Manager as required by the City Charter. Furthermore, the Position of Director of Public Safety should be eliminated along with the demise of the Department of Public Safety FRAUD.

Public Safety Exists but not in the form that is purported by the present Police and Fire departments structure.

Communications between the Police and Fire Departments, when structured as the City Charter requires, will be as effective as ever, and there will be no mis-steps in either the Fire Department or the Police Department.

The present City Budget structure gives verification and validity to both the Fire Department and the Police Department as co-existing entities, but not as a unified Department of Public Safety. Nobody will find a Department of Public Services formally defined within the Budget that combines these Departments.

The former Administration brought the configuration of a Department of Public Safety into existence and accompanied it with the future position of Director of Public Safety as a back-door position was fill when the retirement of the Police Chief, Goodlein became a reality. He was then rehired through a political opportunity disguised as a money-saving opportunity for a position that became a “Director Of Public Safety.”

Recognize that the City could not rehire a retired police chief into the same position that he retired from; therefore, a new position had to be created. And with a stroke of an attorney’s  legal curve-ball opinion thrown into the City Charter, a new position and job classification with accompanying job description magically appeared.

However, in these economic times, now is the time to continue with the restructuring and defining Departments into an effective and efficient teams working in concert with the Administration.

Many benefits will be gained by reestablishing of the Police Chief position. This restructuring, in concert with a new two-tier pay system, would give a command structure within the Police Department. 

A reduction in expenses and efficient communications between Police and Fire departments with adequate personnel structured within the staffing of the both the Fire and Police Departments is essential.  Presently, the command structure of the Police Department is inadequate; a command structure is essential for the safety and organization of the department and is a necessity for efficient operations of the department. 

There is purported to be some progress made in benefits and pay structure with Union personnel which is essential for both present and future hiring of personnel within the city’s departments. The specific details I do not know, but certainly the Council will know about this contentious area and, if necessary, will give attention in the forthcoming Budget meetings.

The Council has paid thousands of dollars into employee’s benefit and retirement plans which were underfunded. This was done immediately after the tax-increase was accomplished. I am a believer in promises made are promises that are to be kept. That promise has been accomplished.

Having said that, benefits, wages and accompanying sick-days-paid, leaves-of-absence, pay-for-performance, retirements, and promotions are all of interest of the City Manager and of this Council. Details of these and other areas of expenditures need to be reviewed and brought into line with todays economic environment if found to be beyond competitive norms.

Certainly, there are many other areas to review in the future of the next budget. It is of interest to the residents to have the City Manager and the Council get the information they need and to discuss openly the issues and resolve them to the best of their collective ability.

Additionally, there exists a City Charter: the Council and the City Manager must follow it to the letter. It is our guide and is to be used, not abused.

There are many matters of interest that the City Charter defines: relationships, nepotism, staffing departments and responsibilities and accountability that are there to be followed, as well as Robert’s Rules of Order.I too recognize what Mother said, “Nothing is ever Easy!”

This Council has their work before them and soon all will know how they will react to a new budget that is being brought together by City Manager, Mr. Nowicki and his Staff.

In the near future, we should understand the issues and the potential of how the Budget will affect our taxes…today and potentially for following years. Taxes and revenues and how the new Council will react to the Budget proposed will be of interest to all of us.

We need to be vigilant in our efforts to maintain the economic viability of our City’s future.

 

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