GARY PATULSKI: City officials jeopardized funds for local streets

City officials jeopardized funds for local streets

TO THE EDITOR:

City Manager Mitch Deisch failed to mention $3,461,582 of transactions which jeopardized local streets. In the Oct. 19, MNA article entitled “Quincy Street residents demand action,” he did not disclose money that would have been available for streets which was spent to subsidize city enterprises. Due to poor city management, enterprises which are to operate as self-supporting businesses, do not generate sufficient revenue to pay their related costs.

Manistee operates four enterprises: Ramsdell Theatre, marina, boat launch and water and sewer. Three enterprises are expected to operate at a loss in the current year. One enterprise is projected to require annual subsidies through 2028.

Mr. Deisch did not mention:

  • 2006 to 2012 subsidies to the Ramsdell Theatre totaling $971,362;
  • 2009 Ramsdell Theatre roof repair ($485,000);
  • Despite prior spending, city officials irresponsibly spent $1,295,556 on 2012 renovations to the theater, of which $1,246,000 were with loans.
  • Subsidies in the city’s 2013-2014 Fiscal Year Budget: $178,830 to subsidize Ramsdell Theatre debt; $125,000 to subsidize water and sewer operations; $107,000 to subsidize Ramsdell Theatre operating costs; and $40,000 to subsidize marina debt;
  • April 2013 loans from Oil & Gas investments to finance two prior years capital projects: Marina building ($249,851) and boat launch ($118,539);
  • City officials over-rode the city’s 4 percent spending rule during 2013 for money from the Oil & Gas fund.

Combined, unmentioned subsidies and loans total $3,461,582. Ironically, most of which occurred during the years when Mr. Deisch told Quincy Street residents no money was available to address health and safety issues resulting from the street’s 70-year-old road.

Despite all the prior subsidies, the city projects the Ramsdell Theatre will require yearly subsidies through 2028!

To the city manager: Exactly where in these subsidies are the “big bangs for the buck” that you brag about?

To the city council: How many local streets could have been upgraded with $3,461,582?

City officials are now attempting to convince residents that regardless of reckless spending and decades of not budgeting any tax revenue for streets, they all “want to upgrade streets.”

City officials – who are you fooling?

In reference to Quincy Street, city officials state: “No fund leveraging options are available for the street.”

This is not true.

The city budget indicates an Oil & Gas Investment Projected End of Year Balance of $9,212,519. Instead of leveraging these investments for streets, city officials leverage them and spend annual earnings to fund and subsidize recreational and tourist enterprises.

Given the leverage which absolutely is available, Quincy Street residents expect answers and a timeline – not horse and pony shows, not comparisons to cities which do not have benefit of investments of $9,212,519 or reckless spending of $3,461,582.

Gary Patulski,
Manistee

EDITOR’S NOTE: The City budget indeed indicates an Oil & Gas Fund projected end of year balance of $9,212,519, however, nearly $7.4 million of that balance is city charter protected money in the form of principal and accumulated royalties. The remaining $1.8 million is accumulated realized and unrealized investment earnings in the account. However, per the Oil & Gas fund spending rule, only 4 percent of the three-year trailing market value of the fund can be transferred to the Capital Improvement Fund. In the 2013-2014 budget, that amount is $342,308.

 

2 comments on “GARY PATULSKI: City officials jeopardized funds for local streets

  1. avatar517

    Well done Gary and the MNA. Remember that city councilmembers should be working for you. The city of Manistee should be maintained for the citizens of Manistee first and then tourism. Since the city council members have acknowledged that they are here for the community and the streets have a priority on their agenda, hopefully everyone is on the same page with help on the way. ilona haydon

    • avatarGpatulski

      Thank you. It never fails to amaze me what the City manager says, or rather what he does not. The $30,000 for the Beach Shelter and $158,000 the Fish Cleaning Station he states came from the Capital Improvement fund actually came from the Oil & Gas fund investment earnings. The same fund the City officials made loans from in 2013 ($249,851 and $118,539) AND also took excess money from in 2013 ($125,000) by OVERF RIDING the City’s 4% spending rule. The City Manager is just paying Semantics. The City Officials once again just chose to spend the money on recreational facilities and not to address Streets and Health & Safety Issues.

      I know of 1 Letter to the Editor which was sent in last week after the election that has yet to be printed and more are on the way in. Keep watching for more Ads by “the Real Manistee: as well.

      Thanks Again for you comment.

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