Should we cut the pay for City Council, and, if so, by how much?

Quite a few folks here in Ypsi aren’t too keen on the idea of firing firefighters and police officers in order to balance our budget. (See previous post.) So, it’s no surprise that other ideas are being floated. One of the most commonly heard suggestions is that we cut the pay of our elected City Council members. Some people, I’m sure, think it’s only fair, seeing as how much of the situation we now find ourselves in was due to their poor handling of the Water Street development, among other things. While it might feel good, and show good faith on the part of the Council, though, I’m not sure how much a modest pay cut would actually help. As each member of City Council makes just a little over $5,000 a year, I think we’d have to cut them all by 95% just to save even a single firefighter. And I don’t think even their harshest critics are calling for a 95% reduction. Councilman Murdock has, I believe, suggested a 5% pay cut for Council. Others in the community, however, are demanding up to 25%.

By way of background, the following comes from a recent editorial in the Ypsi Citizen:

…Of the total (City Council) budget (of $111,754 annually), $40,700 – or 36 percent – is spent on City Council’s annual salaries. The elected officials make an average of $5,813 a year. This averages $252 per regular meeting, not including special meetings, workshops and other functions.

Mayor Paul Schreiber and Mayor Pro Tem Trudy Swanson, D-Ward 1, make more than average salaries, at $8,964 and $5,976 respectively. Each Councilmember makes $5,151 a year.

Murdock’s proposed cuts were across the board, but included 5 percent reduction in City Council’s salary. This would result in an average yearly loss of $290 per councilmember…

I asked Councilman Murdock about this today, and received the following note in response:

The gist (my plan) is a nearly 12% reduction in our council budget, with a 5% reduction in compensation and almost a 50% cut in Council conferences and workshops. (These are the only “perks” of City Council – no per diems, health care, pensions like some other communities have or had.) In addition we follow the same rules for conferences and workshops as required for City staff that not all of these costs are shared by the City and Employees. The following is an excerpt from the policy:

The City will fund mandatory training needed to maintain or obtain licenses and certification required to perform job duties.
The City will fund actual registration and material fees up to $200.
The City will fund 50% of actual registration and material fees in excess of $200.
The City will fund 50% of actual transportation expenses including airfare, ground transportation, parking, and any other reasonable travel expenses approved by the City Manager and documented by receipts.
The City will fund 50% of the Standard Mileage Rate for business miles published by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for personal vehicles used for transportation to and/or from the professional development opportunity.
The City will fund 50% of the Domestic Per Diem Rates published by the Governmental Services Administration (GSA) for lodging and meals and incidental expenses (M&IE).

City Council compensation is the same as it was in 1995. Up until the City Manager’s recommendation Friday, there had been no discussion of across the board salary reductions. In any event, we will not be asking anyone to take a salary reduction back to 5% less than what they had in 1995.

So, I’m not sure where that leaves us. I was under the impression that Pete had been in favor of a 5% cut, but here he says, “we will not be asking anyone to take a salary reduction back to 5% less than what they had in 1995.” I guess I’ll have to wait until my spies report back from City Council chambers tonight.

Personally, I think that they need to accept at least a %10 cut across the board. I don’t see how they can call for the layoffs of critical police and fire personnel without doing at least that much. I would, however, stipulate that the cuts are temporary. There should be a trigger built in so that, when City revenue does increase, so to does the pay of our elected officials.

[Tonight’s post was brought to you by the most recent addition to the FOX News family – Sarah Palin.]

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53 Comments

  1. Mike Shecket
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

    What about cutting the number of city council seats?

  2. Picante Bobbie
    Posted January 11, 2010 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    I love our mayor-pro-tem’s suggestion on reducing council wages:

    “Mayor Pro-Tem Swanson-Winston suggested that Council Members who want to participate in the reductions do so and those who don’t should not.”

  3. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 12:02 am | Permalink

    Council did pass Pete Murdock’s budget reduction proposal tonight, which will create a savings of $13,334 over the original budget. $2,190 of that comes out of council’s salaries, or an average of $290 a year per member. The remaining $11,114 came cutting costs like membership dues and conference entry fees.

    One cut that was discussed outside of public safety was the money that the city uses to pay utilities on Parkridge center and the Senior Center, $35,000. That would leave the organizations running these centers to foot the bill. Councilwoman Richardson said she believed that these programs were prepared for the extra expense, but hated too see this money cut. The mayor pro tem agreed, as well as one of the Ward 2 reps (I missed which one, sorry) and they asked Mr. Koryzno to see if there was a way to avoid this cut, including exploring the possibility of applying the council pay cut to this cost.

    Now, I think all of this discussion is good. I can’t really argue with any of this. But I would like to point something out. If council had agreed to the same $11,114 cut in their budget, but agreed to a 25% cut in their salary and fringe benefits, the savings would have been $22,096. That would cover a whole lot of utility bills at our community centers. Or pay to mow the lawn in Riverside and Frog Island Parks for a year. Of course, if we still had a 501c3 mowing the lawn in our parks, we would have over $40,000, and the lights would be on. Or we would be well on the way to keeping a firefighter or police officer. Put all three cuts together (utility bill, pay cut, and lawn mowing), and you just saved an officer or firefighter. If council is really serious about getting the long term budget right, we need to see this kind of stuff. They can have a raise when the city has a surplus, and deserve every penny.

    As an aside, it has been suggested by people in the know that we start a 501c3 nonprofit with the specific mission to care for Ypsilanti parks. Kind of a year round Ypsi Pride. I think we need to give this some serious thought. What if we created a 501c3 Parks and Rec department, and hired all of the city Parks and Rec staff. City service as a non profit corporation. Food for thought.

    Now the meat and potatoes. Look, I can’t possibly explain what exactly the service cuts to YPD and YFD will mean; go look at the council packet for tonight’s meeting to see the flow charts. Or better yet, ask a firefighter or a police officer. I guarantee they can explain it. Here is what I got.

    The YFD and YPD will be up against it with these cuts. The YPD will loose 5 officers, a lieutenant, and all of it’s dispatchers are being transferred to the county. So not only do you loose one officer per shift over four shifts and a supervisor, but now the on duty officers must answer all non emergency calls to the station. To her credit, when asked if the department was capable of coping with these cuts, Chief Walker answered, “We’re the YPD. We can do anything.” 32 total police employees to cover a city the size of Ypsilanti. I hope they can.

    The YFD will be down to 14 members. Let me say it again. The YFD will be down to 14 members. There will be two platoons, with 6 members each. Two of these will be rotated off at any given time. Remember, firefighters don’t work in shifts, they work for days at a time, 24 hours a day. That means four total firefighters on duty at any time. Federal standards dictate that there must be 5 firefighters on the scene in order to enter a burning building; a commander, 2 in and 2 out. That means waiting for help from a nearby department. But all of the near by departments are cutting, too. So who’s left to help? And this is just fires we are talking about, not rescues, or car crashes or downed wires or any thing else that firefighters do. Oh, also, because cuts are done by seniority, the average age of the YFD becomes 48. And what do you think this kind of staffing will do to your homeowner’s insurance rates?

    Councilmen Murdock and Robb question the math of these cuts. Their calculations on overtime needed to make up for things like vacation or sick days, or the suggestion that the YFD could adhere to the “2 in 2 out” rule with the proposed staffing were staggering, and I hope they make them available soon. I think they could shed some light on the over numbers for the proposed cuts. If there is any validity to the numbers they mentioned, overtime pay would total more than that of several firefighters or police officers. If the math is really as far off as they suggest, then Mr. Koryzno will need to explain his figures very thoroughly.

    Both union heads urged the city not to make any cuts until the end of the fiscal year in June when the next round of collective bargaining begins. Both indicated that they were willing to make cuts, and suggested that concessions were offered and roundly rejected. Buy outs and early retirement were also mentioned. It was also pointed out that, if all of the city’s budget needs are met by laying off officers and firefighters on March first, the unions don’t have much incentive to make more concessions on July first.

    The end story? There is a lot more work to be done and discussion to be had. Council, the Mayor, and city staff have an unenviable task ahead. One thing is for certain; we are going to have to come up with some seriously creative solutions to fund city services. Or a miracle. And we already regained one factory and 400 manufacturing jobs, I think we already used our miracle up.

  4. Posted January 12, 2010 at 5:27 am | Permalink

    If we had a non-profit parks and rec, the money still would have to come from somewhere. Besides which, there is a non-profit that seemed to be heading in that direction, but a few city council people got their panties in a twist over the name of an event, and decided that the city has plenty of money to spend on parks.

  5. Megan Turf
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I would like to point out that the YPD came up with two options to save 4 of the 5 officers being laid off. (The Lt position is already gone since the internal promotion so no one is actually going to be let go on that one). (1) send one to LAWNET (for those of you who don’t know, LAWNET is the Livingston and Washtenaw County Narcotics Team and they pay a portion of the officers salary for their use. However, they work all over both counties and only come to Ypsi as needed) and (2) create an internal narcotics team of 3 officers. It’s my understanding that council was in favor of #1, but not #2.

    I’m sorry, isn’t the point to keep as many employed as possible?? When i was on foot patrol, back in the day, for the Volunteer Service Corps, a man walked up to me (when i was in full uniform with a police radio squawking at my belt) with a rock of crack in one hand and asked me for a light. (???). The officers came and dealt with the situation, but if we had a targeted team that focused here in the city, we could cut down on problems like that.

    I guess council has never read the crime reports where a man filed a complaint b/c he’d traded his car for drugs and now couldn’t get it back. I used to do the crime reports for the YPD. For three and half years. That “topic” wasn’t just a one time call for service either. You’d be amazed as how many I read over the years. The drug users call the cops to complain that their deals didn’t go through! And, because they have to respond to every call for service, at minimum, they take a report. This is ridiculous! The city could actually use a narcotics team to target these things. It wouldn’t just be a way to keep officers employed. I see it as a very big benefit to this wonderful city of ours.

    Council should want to employ as many YPD officers as the budget would allow, and by using the narcotics forfeiture fund to keep 3 officers employed (with an excellent purpose beside employment!) instead of laying them off, seems like a really good idea to me. I don’t understand why they’re not interested!

  6. Posted January 12, 2010 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    It would take some serious wisdom balls to give riverside park back to the DTCDC at this point. I’d be mighty impressed if council could be that virtuous after all the bad blood and hoopla. But somebody’s gotta be.

  7. Citizen Blogger
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    I was under the impression that Pete had been in favor of a 5% cut, but here he says, “we will not be asking anyone to take a salary reduction back to 5% less than what they had in 1995.”

    I read that to mean, “Council will not be asking any employees to take a salary reduction back to 5% less than what they had in 1995,” or that Pete is proposing an inflation-adjusted cut for Council much greater than what any employee might be asked to take.

  8. kingpin
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    You are totally right on, cmadler. Doesn’t it just make you want to go out and VOTE? Remember all of this at election time people….or when you have a house fire…or when you have a police emergency…..or when you find out that your Grandma is sitting all alone because they had to close the senior center for lack of funds…or when the Thompson builing falls down on you while you are walking your dog…or when your friend says, “didn’t there used to be a park here?”….or when the streets are full of misguided youth with too much time on their hands because the Community Center couldn’t afford to keep the lights on…
    Time for a clean sweep right out the door, right down the line. Let’s get some fresh ideas and faces in there.

  9. dragon
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Yeah, it really sounds like it’s council that has their panties in a twist. Here’s a tip, don’t call your 501c3 ‘The Sons of Dixie Parks Club.

  10. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    The DTCDC, as far as I know, doesn’t have plans to go back to their old position in the park. With the way certain council members drug them through the mud to further their political goals (if anyone thinks it was really about the word Ypsitucky you are fooling yourself) why would they try again? They would like to continue to make capital improvements to the parks and help run events, if the city wants the help. They are also working to help facilitate my Water Street trail project.

    The idea behind a 501c3 is that an independent body can go out and seek grants and donations and hold fund raisers, things city government can’t do. I’m not saying its a perfect idea, but it is something.

  11. Curt Waugh
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Hey, if we’re setting up a for-profit (through forfeitures) narcotics unit, can’t we set up for-profit fire and for-profit garbage collection? The fire department can just light the houses on fire AND put them out. Saves everybody a bunch of time. Who need the hassle of just waiting around for a fire or having to call 911? The sanitation folks can kick your cans out into the street so the city can collect fines, just like the brilliant snow removal plan.

    Come on people! We can make this work.

    (I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If the city needs money, stake out Cross St. between Estabrook school and Oakwood. There be a fortune to be made there.)

  12. Megan Turf
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    The city isn’t setting up a narcotics unit. That’s my point. They should!

  13. Glen S.
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    A dedicated drug unit that depends on a steady flow of forfeitures is not as good an idea as it may initially seem:

    First, because the amount of drug forfeiture money can be highly variable, there is no realistic way to budget (especially for salaries, etc.) from year-to-year, which, I think, will only compound our existing budget mess.

    Second, no matter how professional and dedicated our police professionals are — having officer’s salaries (and, therefore, jobs) depend on a steady supply of fresh forfeitures would invariably raise complicated ethical, legal civil rights and civil liberties issues.

    Third, an overemphasis on “drug” enforcement may divert already-limited resources away from other important law enforcement priorities, including community-policing, crime prevention, investigations, etc.

  14. Byzone
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Temporarily suspending Council pay could also have the unintended consequence of motivating a few of our less engaged Council members to leave.

  15. Ty
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Perhaps, when the city goes bankrupt, and we all move to Riverside Park and start building shanties, we could call the development Ypsitucky. By then, there likely won’t be anyone left to complain.

    And I agree that it was a piss poor decision for the City to take the responsibility of the parks back from the DTCDC just because they were angry over the name of a festival. That stupid decision is going to cost us $40,000 a year.

    So, when your house burns down, and, because of staffing cuts, no firemen can come in to save you and your kids, be sure to thank Brian Robb.

  16. FedUpwithYpsi
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I support a narcotics unit. Wake up Ypsitucky citizens – there are A LOT of drugs sold in this city. Glen: wah wah wah – “complicated ethical, legal and civil rights… wah wah wah. Jesus – wake up and smell the crack pipe. Do you really believe we are living in some uptopian city currently? We can use the money – make this city safer and help resolve a massive budget blackhole. Short of legalizing drugs and prostitution (which would be an ever better idea) we should try to leveage the illegal trade that is already happening 24/7.

    If we can’t make any progress, which is clearly doubtful, we should go into receivership – let the city dissolve as it should have long ago.

  17. dragon
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    So, when your house burns down, be sure to thank Brian Robb

    Who do I thank when my wife is raped and murdered?

  18. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Who do I thank when my wife is raped and murdered?

    It’s always the criminal’s fault. But you and your wife can always take steps to see to your own defense, such as self-defense classes, pepper spray, firearms, etc. Relying on other people to protect you and yours is foolish. Nobody is capable of caring about you as much as you do.

  19. dragon
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Brackinald

  20. Megan Turf
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    I don’t know what kind of income a narcotics team could bring in. I doubt the YPD would have presented it as an option if they hadn’t researched it. But I personally would support a dedicated narcotics team to tackle a problem that the YPD knows we have, if only for a year. If we can keep 3 more officers for at least one year, then why don’t we?

    A proactive team focusing on this is better in my mind than just reactive officers responding to a call and then doing no follow up because there are other calls they have to take.

    Crude a comparison as it might be, i’d rather invest in face wash for proactive treatment than just pop the zips as they come and hope i don’t get too many. :)

  21. Glen S.
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    Megan,

    I agree with you, but in this case, I would argue that the “proactive solution,” is more community policing, crime prevention, etc.

  22. kingpin
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Less police and fire protection really sucks. Oh well, my shotgun still goes “boo-yah…rahshaka”, and I still have insurance and a fire proof safe.

    Maybe we could start one of those citizen patrols like the dudes who wore the berets in New York in the 80’s. Or…maybe when the wayne county prosecutors come to their senses and free Tigh Croff, we can get him to move Ypsilanti.

  23. Guy
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Anybody remember this phrase, said a thousand different ways, from http://www.stopcityincometax.com?

    “We call on the City’s elected officials to stop the threats of draconian cuts to our city services such as police and fire to justify the need for a City Income Tax.”

    Well, give them credit. Robb and Murdock did more than threaten draconian cuts, they made them. All after SCIT folks promised, repeatedly, that nobody was gonna cut police and fire. The city, they made us believe, was full of secret warehouses of cash and more could be raised by ticketing truck drivers.

    If only I could take a time-machine back to those heady days when I still believed them. Twenty bucks says the bus is next on the block.

  24. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    Just my guess, but I think it has way more to do with the economy than the form of tax levied. A city income tax on a bunch of unemployed people is zero. The people who are still clinging to employment or watching their businesses barely survive don’t want the fruits of their increased workload taxed to pay for the shit of people who aren’t working as hard, or at all. That might be the nail in the coffin for industrious people who are already leaning towards finding greener pastures elsewhere. And when they go, everything goes.

  25. Posted January 12, 2010 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, Guy, I remember asking the Stop City Income Tax people about cuts to police and fire, and being told that such claims were just “fear mongering.” I never thought that the income tax had prayer of passing, given the economy. In spite of that, though, the SCIT people felt it necessary to lie. I can respect people with opinions different than my own, but I’ve got a real problem with being lied to.

  26. Unemployed
    Posted January 12, 2010 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Brackinald Archery. You are one arrogant asshole, dude. Here my wish that you find yourself in my situation soon. Unemployed through no fault of your own and having to listen to some smug “industrious” hipster talk about you like you are a worthless drain. Go fuck yourself all the way to your greener pastures, you prick.

  27. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Lie? In Feb of 2007, most peeps in Ypsi did not anticipate or predict the downturn in our economy, the auto plant & bank takeovers…
    So w/out the use of a crystal ball, some fellow citizens helped to prevent one more additional burden to the fine people of Ypsilanti (who are hurting very much). That burden that would not have solved the problem. And we now have council members in place that are at least dealing w/ reality. As for needed cuts, the previous admin set that up. How quickly we rewrite history.

  28. Joe Cooter
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    Just so we can be talking about real numbers, can someone run the numbers to see how much the city income tax would have added to city’s budget this year? Despite the downturn, it seems that it would have increased the budget, as not everyone is out of work. I would have been, and am still OK with paying a bit extra to maintain city services.

    I know, this is a simplistic exercise that ignores the what if’s, but seems worthwhile none the less.

  29. EOS
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

    You could keep the 5 police officers and pay for them with the money saved by having residents drop off their recycling at collection sites in Ann Arbor instead of curbside pickup. Unless keeping up the facade of “helping” the environment is more important than protecting residents from criminals.

  30. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

    Unemployed — suck my cock, and don’t forget to work the balls, you conclusion-jumping slanderer.

  31. Curt Waugh
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

    (Wow Brack, so witty. Lemme guess, “no offense”.)

    For once (or maybe more than once), I agree with EOS: If recycling is costing the city, drop it and impose strict limits on trash pick-up. Let folks decide for themselves if they want to recycle or pay extra for trash hauling. Reducing and re-using are better strategies anyway.

  32. Big Mac-Attacker
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

    Maybe unemployed could find a job…sucking Brack’s dick. Say…around $25 bucks a pop or so? I don’t know what the going rate is nowadays…

    I think EOS’s idea is great. I’d rather deal with garbage-garbage, rather than the human garbage that is produced by lack of dependable law enforcement. The people that run this place should be ashamed. If they knew this was coming, they should have been concentrating on it, as opposed to chickens and bees and inflammatory words and grass cutting in the park…

  33. Teddy
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    What i f the police just provide services to tax-payers? The more you pay, the better service you get.

  34. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    Just emulating my favorite vitriolic mimbo, Curt.

  35. Peter Larson
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

    Everyone could just buy guns and fire extinguishers and you could eliminate the need for police and fire altogether.

  36. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:24 pm | Permalink

    That would depend on the character of the individuals that make up the general population, Peter.

    Maybe once the individuals that make up the general population of Ypsilanti learn that government can’t solve all the world’s problems because money doesn’t grow on trees, enough of us will be ready and able to help each other out if and when the need arises.

    Until then, it’s ever-increasing squeaky wheels, and ever decreasing grease.

  37. Murph
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    EOS and I have discussed recycling before, I believe.

    You can’t cut recycling and use the money to pay for police. Recycling is part of the sanitation millage, along with trash pickup and yard waste, and money is not fungible between that and the general fund.

    Then-DPW Director Bill Bohlen made the rounds to neighborhood associations a few years ago to encourage more recycling as a budget-saving method within that fund. Recycling pickup was dramatically cheaper per ton than trash pickup, ergo diverting recyclable material out of the trash pickup stream saved the City a lot of money.

    Since then, we have a new trash pickup contract and the recycling market isn’t as good as it was, so I don’t know the numbers now. But it’s certainly not the case that recycling pickup is some frivolous feel-good measure that costs a lot of money.

  38. Andy French
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    Advance Ypsilanti has a post about the Water Street progress. I found it interesting considering our budget problems.

    http://advanceypsilanti.com/

  39. What's In A Name
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    The budget cuts being proposed for the upcoming financial year are cuts that were going to have to be made at some point in the near future, but not quite as soon as predicted with the economy tanking. For those that say the SCIT folks couldn’t have known and shouldn’t be called hypocrites are either lying or avoiding the truth that these cuts were predicted by the City Manager and called out in budget planning documents that existed before SCIT. The current economic malaise isn’t causing any unexpected cuts to be made to city services, it’s just causing those cuts to be made sooner than expected. The SCIT folks were talking out their ass and continue to do so.

  40. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 13, 2010 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    So, to clarify my previous post to “unemployed,” my point was simply that a City Income Tax wouldn’t have solved the problem. You can prove me wrong on that by finding facts and figures to dispute it, probably, since I’m just guessing.

    My “industrious” hypothetical character was not supposed to be me. I’ve spent this whole fall and winter in constant fear of being canned. The business I work for is on the edge of going out of business constantly. My boss has squeezed extra productivity out of me and made me miserable because of it. Fine, you gotta do what you gotta do. I was thinking more along the lines of a business owner, rather than myself. Business owners are, in my experience, far more industrious than most people. They are often the targets of envy from the less industrious, who want a cut of their profits (that are justly the industrious’s by right of their being more industrious than the less industrious) in the form of wealth redistribution via income tax. In short, they want rich people to pay for their shit.

    Well, I’m not rich, nor am I particularly industrious. I could have been, if I wanted to be, but I didn’t think it was worth the hassle. Still, I recognize that those who have sacrificed their personal lives to get rich deserve to get rich. I just chose the opposite path. My poverty is my choice (actually, I am above the poverty line now, FOR ONCE IN MY ADULT LIFE), their riches are theirs. It would be wrong of me to leach off of them, as if they owed me an easier, less industrious life at the expense of their industry. That’s evil; it is envy and theft.

    Another problem we face when we mass together in envy to steal the profits of the industrious from them, is that we steal the incentive of the industrious to be industrious here. Especially when the economy has buffeted them enough already with business-threatening obstacles. Hence, we drive business owners out of business, or out of the area. Then we lose jobs, our LEGITIMATE way to partake of the profits of the industrious. More lost businesses = more suck for everyone. Hence the greener pastures comment. Again, I wasn’t talking about myself, but you wrongly assumed I was. Making an ass of you, only.

    I did not mean, nor imply, that anyone who is out of work through no fault of their own is a leach, or isn’t industrious. I didn’t say that at all. It might be me at any moment. You read that in there for some reason, even though it’s not there, and you called me names which are untrue. For this reason, I told you to suck my cock, and don’t forget to work the balls, you conclusion-jumping slanderer. And I stand by that. If you don’t want me to defend myself from your unjust, untrue attacks, don’t make those unjust, untrue attacks in the first place, asshole.

    I am sorry you are unemployed. That sucks. But it doesn’t mean it’s alright to attack me, or that I will be restrained by guilt at something that is not my fault from defending myself from being attacked by you.

    Capice?

    I really hope you find a new job soon. If you need some financial help, as a sign of good faith I’d be willing to funnel some money through a go-between, so as to protect my super-secret impenetrable identity. Not that you need my help, but if you did, we can probably make something happen, fyi.

  41. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Murph,

    We have discussed this before and you provided the same non-answers.

    The cost of recycling is currently hidden in the maze of line item descriptions in the published city budget. The last time the real costs were discussed in a city council meeting (that I am aware of) it was revealed that the cost per ton to have Ann Arbor pick up the city’s recycled materials was double the cost per ton for normal trash pickup.

    You mentioned last time that you thought that recycling generated revenue and was a net gain for the city and that is incorrect. Since you work at city hall, you could get this information from the responsible individuals and inform the rest of us – but you choose not to. The mayor did not provide this information when asked on this blog either.

    Yes, the money spent on recycling comes from the sanitation millage and these funds can’t be used directly to pay for police salaries. But these rates can be changed by vote during the next election and funds reapportioned to better meet the needs of the citizens. In the mean time, the multitude of development authorities in the city could provide the funds necessary to continue to employ a full contingent of police. (If that is what the citizens want. The City of Ypsi has the highest costs for policing in the county and maybe it is preferable to get the costs more in line with comparable cities.) Perhaps the voters might consider cutting both the police and recycling budgets and paying down some of the debt.

    I’m fairly confident that recycling costs the city between a quarter million and half million dollars each year, but I can’t prove it using the information provided by the city concerning the budget. Residents have a right to know the exact costs and should be able to get that information from their elected officials. Certainly Pete has a good idea of the current costs of recycling or if not, can get that information.

    It’s just not right that residents are told that a significant portion of the city’s budget is fixed costs where there is a small possibility for savings. It’s your city, your money, and you should have a voice in determining the level of services and these contracts as well.

  42. kjc
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    “Another problem we face when we mass together in envy to steal the profits of the industrious from them…”

    ever think maybe you’re just projecting your own shit onto other people? i think the broad and slanderous generalizing of people without jobs is what annoyed Unemployed. you said:

    “The people who are still clinging to employment or watching their businesses barely survive don’t want the fruits of their increased workload taxed to pay for the shit of people who aren’t working as hard, or at all.”

    this theory that business owners are under attack by lazy workers might have started it. doesn’t seem like a leap to me to find that unjust and untrue.

  43. Peter Larson
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    So, BA, if level of “hard work” translates in entitlement to wealth, then why are there so many poor people working multiple jobs just barely scratching by?

    By your logic, a place like Malawi should be the richest country on the planet.

    I really don’t get your logic. Please enlighten me.

  44. Glen S.
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    So, according to “EOS-logic,” having thousands of Ypsilanti residents waste their time, money and gasoline making individual trips to take their recyclables to a station in Ann Arbor is more convenient, efficient and cost-effective than bi-weekly pickups by the City.

  45. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    Glen –

    Actually, it would be best if you just threw the garbage away. Saves the cost and energy of cleaning, storing, picking it up, storing it again, and then paying AA to pick it up, storing it some more, and then finally, maybe, finding someone who will come get it and put it to a use other than filling a landfill. AA is one of the few communities in the state that actually diverts much of their recycled materials from a landfill. More than 90% of all material collected as recyclable in our nation ends up in a landfill ultimately. Since there is no market, it would be significantly more green to throw it away.

  46. Brackinald Achery
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    You obviously outnumber me, people who don’t agree with me, and are not open to persuasion from me. So pass your city income tax and wallow in whatever results you get. If it doesn’t work out, you can always blame someone else. If it does work out, huzzah.

  47. Glen S.
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Sure, why not just “throw it away?”

    After all, natural resources are unlimited, there is plenty of landfill space, global warming is a hoax, and there were no commercial planes on 9/11 …

  48. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    You missed the point. It is being thrown away, whether it is collected as recyclable or not. The question is whether you want to spend half million dollars, waste water and energy to rinse and sort the trash, waste gas to collect and transport it to numerous locations, and then put it in landfills anyhow.

    Many natural resources are replenishable (e.g. trees – and the oxygen they produce while growing is beneficial) and global warming IS a hoax.

  49. dragon
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    EOS says
    Actually, it would be best if you just threw the garbage away

    Why?
    EOS says
    More than 90% of all material collected as recyclable in our nation ends up in a landfill

    I doubt that’s true, but even so, what does that have to do with our recycling? I heard from someone on the internets that we are part of the 10% that keeps our recyclables out of the landfill.

    EOS says
    AA is one of the few communities in the state that actually diverts much of their recycled materials from a landfill.

    Glad we settled that. Anything else?

    EOS says
    global warming IS a hoax.

    That paste isn’t going to eat itself.

  50. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Dragon –

    If Ypsilanti doesn’t spend the time, money, and effort to recycle there will be less harm to the environment and the same volume of material recovered and recycled nationwide. Is it worth half a million dollars to you to be in one of the few communities that finds a use for some of what is has collected even while knowing that more has already been collected than can possibly be used? And that every item that is successfully recycled, other than styrofoam, has a net cost to the environment?

  51. Glen S.
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    EOS – Not only does your argument fail to make environmental sense, it doesn’t make sense financial sense, either.

    You’re assuming that if we just throw all our trash away, we “save” the money we’re spending to pick up and process the recyclable materials.

    But, what you’re forgetting is that the thousands of tons of recyclables that would flow back into the “general” waste stream would inevitably raise the costs of pickup, as well as our landfill tipping fees.

    It seems to me — if we’re going to end up paying either way — why not choose the least environmentally damaging scenario?

    Better yet, by consciously choosing to consume less, and more carefully we can actually be better to the environment and save money. By being fairly rigorous about our recycling, and by composting the vast majority of food waste, we’ve been able reduce the amount of “trash” our household produces significantly — which is better for the environment and (indirectly) saves the City money.

  52. Anna Jacobson
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Here in Sweden we burn trash for heat.

  53. EOS
    Posted January 14, 2010 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

    Glen,

    On a pound for pound basis, Ypsilanti is charged twice as much, by Ann Arbor, to pick up recycling material than it pays to have trash picked up by the current contractor. So you pay either way, but you pay half as much if it is trash.

    I agree that choosing the least environmentally damaging scenario is a consideration. The least damaging scenario is also to go directly to the landfill. It eliminates the use of water resources (to rinse the cans and jugs) and extra transportation and storage costs and additional labor costs. And after all the extra effort and energy is used, 90% still goes into the landfill!

    Yes, consume less – that’s a benefit. Charge more for excessive garbage at a given location and maybe that will help reduce consumption – that’s a benefit. Otherwise, recycling pickup is a frivolous feel-good measure that costs a lot of money, wastes energy, and is more damaging to the environment until there is a market demand for these materials. Unless someone at the end wants to use these materials, the entire process is a waste of time and money.

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