Resident committee report in

Paid parking a suggestion

Sunday Times Newspapers

WYANDOTTE – Recommendations to help the city overcome an anticipated $1.8 million shortfall next year are in from the city’s 11-member Citizen’s Advisory Committee on Financial Affairs.

The seven-page report, filed June 30, was presented to the council Monday.

Begun by the council after Mayor Joseph Peterson suggested it in April, the volunteer committee met weekly since May 9.

Many suggestions focused on Gov. Rick Snyder’s “best practice” recommendations, which come with monetary rewards for communities that enforce them. One “best practice,” consolidating services with other communities, was suggested in several areas, including recycling and Animal Control.

Councilors had wondered aloud at several meetings if some of the “best practices” instituted in the city years before Snyder was elected, including closing its retiree health care plan to new hires, and consolidating 911 dispatch with other communities, would be credited to them. At a recent Downriver Community Conference meeting with Snyder, Peterson said the governor assured him Wyandotte would receive “best practices” funds for programs already implemented.

One of the recommendations, a supplemental operating millage, was passed by the council at the meeting for the November election. City Administrator Todd Drysdale said he is in the process of evaluating others to implement those that are possible.

The suggestions fall under five major categories, covering reductions possible in personnel, operations and programs. It also lists areas where fees could be introduced to generate funds, such as instituting metered parking in downtown.

Recommendations for personnel include instituting four-day, 36-hour workweeks for non-union employees, eliminating paid birthdays off and three paid personal days, and initiating a mandatory hiring freeze and wage freezes.

Operations suggestions include continuing to move toward “paperless” operations, consolidating departments, and increasing marketing for rentals of city-owned property. Charging fees for use of the city’s recycling center by non-residents also was suggested.

Other general considerations included establishing a police-owned vehicle impound facility to directly collect impound fees, using a grant writer to seek available grants, and selling vacant lots without the requirement to immediately build on them to get them onto the tax rolls at a faster rate.

Budget information is expected to be disseminated to councilors by August. The budget is due Oct. 1.