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Waste/Fraud Are No Strangers To Jackson

Spending Tax Dollars To Defend Against The Storm Water Lawsuit

Of the $811,500 owed to property owners, about $300,000 is owed to residential customers, City Manager Patrick Burtch said. Refunds to city residents will come from leftover stormwater funds – about $280,000 – and a combination of street funds and general fund money.

The city still owes property owners roughly $470,000 in stormwater fees it illegally collected from 2011-13.

"The city of Jackson has vigorously defended the interests of taxpayers in the various stormwater lawsuits," City Attorney Bethany Smith wrote in a June 3 email, "in order to protect the city's assets which are held in trust for all of its citizens – not just for the specific property owners who are owed a refund – so that other important and necessary city projects and services are not jeopardized."

Broken down, about $30,000 of the city's legal fees to date have come from its general fund, $270,000 from its major street fund and $172,000 from its local street fund, Jackson Finance Director Phil Hones indicated.

So the city has paid $540,000 in legal fees. The total money owed back to residents is $811,500 for a total cost to the city of $1.35 million. Remember Griffin said it was an illegal tax and he was against it? Remember all the council people that said they were against the storm water tax when they were running 4 years ago? When you go to the polls this August and November, remember the names of those who have cost us $1.35 million.

Hot off the wire - June 4, 2015 The Michigan Court of Appeals has rejected the city's attempt to stay Judge McBains order and threat of $1000 per day fine if the money is not paid back within 30 days of his ruling. Lets see if the city has the arrogance to go to the supreme court and waste more taxpayer dollars on attorneys fees.

The ALDI Bus Route Fiasco

The collaborative effort between ALDI stores, Jackson Transportation Authority, and the City of Jackson to provide transportation services specifically to connect low-income residents with fresh, affordable and nutritious food was in operation only seven (7) weeks before the end of PY 2012. Over the course of the seven weeks, 38 persons took advantage of the program. The City will undertake aggressive marketing efforts to inform area residents of the service during PY 2013 to increase rider ship.

The ALDI Bus Route Failure - An effort at buying votes.

  Mayor Martin Griffin, 1st Ward Councilperson Michelle Woods, and 5th Ward Councilperson Andrew Frounfelker devised a program to connect low- to moderate-income residents to fresh, affordable foods. In collaboration with the Jackson Transportation Authority (JTA), the program, dubbed the “Simply Smarter Shopping Shuttle,” offers a fixed route bus run for certain stops in CDBG-eligible areas of Wards 1 and 5 to provide public transportation on Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to the ALDI grocery store at 1100 West North Street, Jackson. If successful, this pilot program may be offered to other disadvantaged neighborhoods within the City. The initial service area extends from East Michigan Avenue on the north, Cooper Street on the east, High Street on the south and Mechanic Street on the East with bus stops at the following locations:..........

And from those who never met someone else's money they could not find a use for -

"The metric that we use for success is not rider ship," said City Councilwoman Michelle Woods, 1st Ward, last spring. "Success is providing people with an avenue by which they can better access healthier, quality foods for their families." She lost the election.

The Austin Blair Park Reconstruction - An Exercise In CDBG Waste

Priority 4 – Parks and/or Recreational Facilities Reconstruction of the Austin Blair Park began on May 27, 2014, which will include new playground equipment, fencing, benches and picnic tables, sidewalk areas and landscaping. The renovations will allow for a more functional, neighborhood park in the under utilized green space immediately south of downtown.

Another Effort At Buying Votes - Just Before The Election.

Austin Blair Park referred to by one council person as a "gateway to downtown" is surrounded by streets on all sides. One street is a main thoroughfare from the south of Jackson into the central area, the "gateway to downtown". The park update added playground equipment that will attract children from the old Partnership Park whose playground equipment was burned by some area children. To get from that area to the new park facilities a child must cross a very busy Greenwood Ave. The new park could be considered an attractive nuisance in any action brought against the city in case a child is struck by a car. This was not a well thought out project costing over of $218,000 after an original estimate of $130,000.

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