Monday, March 5, 2012

Cleaning Up the Mess Denby and Rogers Left Behind

Like the pooper-scooper behind the elephants in the circus parade, the Livingston County Commission is going to try to clean up the mess that Reps. Cindy Denby and Bill Rogers left behind when they were local officials.

The two Republican officials were once Handy Township supervisor and Livingston County Commission chair, respectively. And in those capacities, the two "fiscally conservative" Republicans spearheaded an arrangement by which Handy Township borrowed millions of dollars for water and sewar improvements on behalf of private developers of new subdivisions. The county agreed to back the bonds with its full faith and credit, putting the county taxpayers on the hook if Handy Township failed to collect enough money to pay for the bonds.

The subdivisions never filled up with homes and the money that was supposed to be collected from homeowners never came in to pay off the bonds. Several other townships did the same thing, creating special assessment districts to pay back the bonds for these improvements without waiting to see if the lots in already improved subdivisions sold.

The mad rush for development outpaced demand and the lots never sold, making Livingston County, "ground zero" in the problem of Toxic Special Assessment Districts, according to Bloomberg News.

On Monday, (March 5, 2012), the county commission will try to clean up the mess by approving the issuance of up to $8.5 million in new bonds, replacing the previous bonds, with a longer repayment period in order to stretch out the payments to a level Handy Township can afford. The item and backup materials are item number 2012-03-080 at the bottom of page 2 of the agenda posted on the Livingston County website.

This fiasco has been a major headache for the county commission over the last two years or more. How can two people who created such a mess claim to have any credibility as fiscal conservatives?

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