Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A City on the Brink? The "Crisis" of Troy Michigan

I've decided to keep raising my voice, until I get some response!

Troy, Michigan is a Detroit suburb. It is relatively affluent and known for its schools and services. It has made its climb in part due to the fact that it is home to a number of corporate headquarters. This isn't a manufacturing community, it's a management community. It is relatively diverse in its population -- though its City Council is completely white. It is also fairly conservative. And that conservativeness has been expressed in an aversion to taxes. Thus, even though it has one of the highest tax bases in the state, it's actual tax rates are among the lowest. Nearby Clawson, a little community, isn't thinking about closing its library, it's going to expand it -- and the people supported it. Indeed, people of Troy, Clawson is shaming us with its sense of community spirit!

So, why is Troy in such a predicament? Or, as this morning's Detroit News headline puts it:
"Troy spirals into a financial 'crisis'."

My sense is that there is a lack of political will to do the right thing. There is no reason why the Council can't say to the community, we need you to pay $200 a year more in taxes so that we can keep our police force at proper strength (we are, after all one of the safest cities in the nation) and the services that make this a livable city. Think about it, $200 is less than a dollar a day, less than the price of a cup of coffee, per household.

There need be no crisis in Troy, if only there is sufficient leadership in this community! The answer to our problems as a state and as a city won't be solved by simply cutting taxes. If you cut taxes, you cut revenue. If you cut revenue, you have to cut services. You can talk all you want about fat and waste, but ultimately, if you cut too far, you cut into the meat. And I thank that's what we're doing!

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's easy...if you want something you have to pay for it. I agree, the city council should come up with some figures and let the residents know exactally how much more they would be paying. As you said...$200 broken down comes down to only 55 cents per day. After they have all the facts they can decide.

Troy has such a large business tax base..which is why the property taxes have been able to remain low.
Other cities, like Clawson, are bedroom communities (which have very little business to rely on for taxes) and we understand that if we want to improve on certain things we have to pay for it ourselves. Yes, we do have community spirit in Clawson partly because we are such a small community. We take pride in our city, and realize and accept the basic fact that if we want to improve on areas, it's up to us (the homeowners) to make sure it happens. I'm sure the residents of Troy are just as proud of their city, but this is the time they need to step up and do something for themselves to make sure they don't lose their Library, Museum, Nature Center, Community Center, Police Officers, etc. The economy isn't going to fix itself over night, there aren't going to be businesses rushing into Troy to fill the vacancies and pay the taxes so the residents can keep these services...now it's up to the citizens of Troy to make their voices heard and to step up to the plate.

The thought of any city without a Library is a very scarey thought to me. The services that Troy has for it's residence are spectacular, and the citizens need to remember...you get what you pay for. Don't look at it as paying more taxes...look at it as investing in your city, the place where you live,your home. Look at the entire picture.
Mrs. DavidMc

Richard said...

Sure. Then I'll just go tell my company that they need to increase my pay $200. I'll make sure to add the "cup of a coffee" comment. Sometimes, you have to make tough decisions. You can't always go back to the taxpayers. At some point the theft of earned money must end.

Pastor Bob Cornwall said...

Richard when the services disappear and the quality of life goes down, then the value of our homes goes down -- which it's already doing, and when we sell them, well you know.

If we value our city, then it should be worth supporting. If not, then I guess you can call it theft of money. But, just remember that if your house catches on fire or the burglar comes around, that the government services are based on a theft of money.