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
"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.
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
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
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.
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.