Jefferson Davis is a longtime resident of Menomonee Falls. He is the proud parent of two wonderful boys. He enjoys singing, volunteering, reading, gardening, politics, antiques, history, guitar, violin, piano, officiating, helping neighbors and yard work. He served as Village President of Menomonee Falls from 2003-05. He is a member of Northbrook Church and serves on the Advisory Council for the Salvation Army Rehabilitation Center. He is an independent registered representative practicing in the areas of insurance, investments and retirement.
McDonald's Defenders Respond, While VP's Rechlicz/Newman Support Higher Taxes, Health Care and Water Bills
The Vanguard has been off for a few weeks enjoying the summer months and all of the activities that go with it.
The following issues will be touched on with this post:
- Follow up to Trustee McDonald's citations
- Nearly $1.5 million over taxation of taxpayers for 2008 Village Budget
- Taxpayers have to pay 15% increase in health care premiums for Village in 2009
- Water bills to increase 36% for taxpayers because of Milwaukee Agreement with Village Board
Trustee McDonald Defenders Respond to His Citations From Police and Questionable Behavior
The Vanguard has learned that a number of responses were made to the July 2nd posting regarding Trustee McDonald's hiding from police in a storage closet at a Menomonee Falls establishment after hours (past 2:00 A.M.) earlier this summer that ultimately lead to Trustee McDonald receiving 2 citations from the Menomonee Falls Police Department for obstructing an officer and being in a bar after hours (http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/communityblogs/49603077.html).
The Vanguard welcomes comments to its postings, but doesn't make it a practice to read them.
Readers have contacted The Vanguard to share their concerns about some of the comments that were made that seemed to focus more on people, personalities and politics for the defenders of the status quo rather than doing the right thing about the behavior and policy decisions of the local elected officials on the Village Board that adversely affect the community in very negative ways that repeatedly go uncovered and unreported on by the 4 local newspapers for some inexplainable reason(s).
The Vanguard doesn't concern itself with these types of comments because in the words of Ronald Reagan:
"There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he doesn't mind who gets the credit."
Simply insert the word "community" for "man" in Reagan's quote and Menomonee Falls would be much better served if individuals on the Village Board would focus on "doing the right thing" for Menomonee Falls instead of the repeated pattern of behavior that has existed for over 20 years that benefit select individuals on the Board and their handful of favored non-profit organizations at the expense of the rest of the 33,000 citizens of the community.
The Vanguard chooses to follow the principles of those like Ronald Reagan to make it about doing the right thing for the betterment and advancement of Menomonee Falls without concern for credit instead of those in Menomonee Falls who seem to use the principles of 60's radical community organizer, Saul Alinsky, who in his book, "Rules for Radicals", wrote in his Tactics Section some of the following rules to attack politicians or those who don't agree with them or won't give their organizations what they want:
- Fifth Rule...Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
- Thirteenth Rule...Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.
These tactics may make good headlines in the local papers, are good for a few laughs and take the attention and focus off of what is really going on with local leaders and their questionable policy decisions and behavior, but they don't help a community. Quite the contrary, these tactics deeply hurt a community. Menomonee Falls has experienced enough of this in the past while these tactics were being used while at the same time many questionable policy decisions were being made by the Village Board to benefit them and their circle of close friends.
The young person who reported Trustee McDonald's compromised state to the police to protect the rest of the community before the Trustee may have hurt someone with his vehicle that ill fated early morning hour of 3:00 A.M. on May 29, 2009, responded to The Vanguard's posting with the following email:
I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for all the information shared in your latest blog. It was very insightful as to what is going on in Menomonee Falls. I actually wanted to come over and thank you myself, but I've recently moved out of my parents' house and am no longer in the neighborhood. But I want you to know that the article is greatly appreciated in more ways than one. Happy 4th!
The Vanguard invites comments from the defenders of the political status quo regarding illegal/inappropriate behavior of elected officials in Menomonee Falls if the community is better off when the right thing is done for the betterment of all citizens with good policy decisions or when the following things occur that benefit only those on the Village Board and their pet non-profit organizations?
- Is it good public policy by the Village Board to ask the taxpayers to forfeit their hard earned $5 million for unused sick leave cash payouts to Village Retirees? (August 20, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=08-01-2008&endDate=08-31-2008)
- Is it good public policy by the Village Board to reward their friends at Falls Cable Access by looking the other way when so many IRS and State Law violations were committed by Falls Cable Access at the taxpayer's expense and then reward them with a nearly $1 million, 10-year, no bid contract? (August 1, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=08-01-2008&endDate=08-31-2008 and April 25, 2009 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=04-01-2009&endDate=04-30-2009 and December 1, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=12-01-2008&endDate=12-31-2008 and December 20, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=12-01-2008&endDate=12-31-2008)
- Is it good public policy by the Village Board to allow so many election related mistakes by the Clerk's Office that have possibly compromised the electoral process in the Falls for years? (July 2, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=07-01-2008&endDate=07-31-2008 and Sept. 5, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=09-01-2008&endDate=09-30-2008 and October 15, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=10-01-2008&endDate=10-31-2008)
- Is it good public policy by the Village Board to allow double dipping contracts to Village Employees that gave the former Village Manager the opportunity to become a millionaire in retirement at the taxpayer's expense? (Sept. 14, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=09-01-2008&endDate=09-30-2008)
- Is it good public policy by the Village Board to vote to have taxpayers subsidize Falls Fest each year while some of the Village Board Members are Directors of Falls Fest? (July 24, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=07-01-2008&endDate=07-31-2008)
- Is it good public policy to have the Village Board support $100 million payouts to MMSD and Milwaukee Water when other options and alternatives are available at a much lower cost to consumers in the Falls? (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/content/view/62/2/)
- Is it good public policy for Village Board Members to apparently extort, shake down, accept contributions from, finagle real estate deals with, barter for services, refer business to or require businesses to give cash in exchange for votes? (March 30, 2009 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=03-01-2009&endDate=03-31-2009 and January 9, 2009 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=01-01-2009&endDate=01-31-2009)
- Is it good public policy to have the Village Board be dishonest with the landfill negotiations, $42 million debt service for new facilities, no Village Revenues from methane gas sales and the "new garbage tax" on top of property taxes? (December 8, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=12-01-2008&endDate=12-31-2008 and December 20, 2008 http://www.menomoneefallsnow.com/blogs/archive/?blogID=43791447&archive=y&startDate=12-01-2008&endDate=12-31-2008)
As a community with varying opinions, let's have an open and honest discussion about the issues and what is right for Menomonee Falls.
Let's set aside the people, personalities and politics because that will help Menomonee Falls as a community win instead of losing like it has so many times in the past and will in the future if the citizens don't stand up for what is right, legal, ethical, honest and transparent.
The Vanguard welcomes comments from readers. Please share what your opinions are on the 8 questions proposed above.
Taxpayers Forfeit Nearly $1.5 Million in 2008 in Surpluses
In an uncovered story, The Vanguard finally received a memo from the Village that shows a nearly $1.5 million surplus for 2008 General Fund Operating Results on a budget of about $30 million or about a 5% surplus.
Surpluses are usually the result of unexpected revenues or lower than expected expenditures or a combination of both.
The Village Board Policy has always shown the appearance of returning annual surpluses to the General Fund Surplus Account in the past.
For some reason this year, the Village Board will be spending the entire 2008 Surplus on various Village Projects and Loan Funds rather than putting the surplus in the General Fund Surplus Account or reducing debt or using it for tax relief in 2010.
The Vanguard remembers the hue n cry from Trustees McDonald, Steliga and Jeskewitz in the early 2000's that all annual surplus account funds had to be returned to the General Fund Surplus Account instead of being used for tax relief because using the surplus account funds could possibly lower the Village's Bond Rating and those excess funds had to be set aside for emergencies which turned out to be completely false.
Moody's never lowered the bond ratings for the Village and Village Staff budgeted for emergencies as part of their annual budgeting process.
As a matter of fact, it was learned the Village had way too much in surplus monies according to the suggestions of the Moody's Bond Rating Agency (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/How-much-is-enough-paragrap.png) that were later mysteriously ignored when the Village Board changed the policy without any apparent vote (prior to 2006 http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc-Info-10-pgs09.png and after 2006 http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc-Info-10-pgs08.png).
The Village Board had a nearly $11.2 million Taxpayer Surplus Account in 2004 (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc-Info-10-pgs03.png) which has now been reduced to $7.5 million (http://www.menomonee-falls.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=849) for a reduction of $3.7 million or about 33%.
The Vanguard is in the process of finding out why the Fund has been reduced to level that it has and why the Village Board has changed their policy to spending down the Surplus Account when they used to protect every dollar in the Fund instead of using it for tax relief.
It is hoped that the Village Board will do a better job for 2010 and it will be interesting to see what the Operating Results are for 2009.
Health Care Premiums for Village Employees Increase 15% in 2009
In another uncovered story, The Vanguard has finally obtained the 2006-09 health care premium increases for the Village's Health Care Plan after first requesting the increases in a meeting with the new Village Manager over 2 years ago and the results are not good.
After a stellar performance by the first time ever Village Benefit Analyst from 2004-06 (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc-Info-10-pgs10.png) that resulted in annual average increases of about 2% for three years and saved taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars, the Benefit Analyst was unanimously fired by the Village Board in 2006 for what the former Village Manager said was for "pure political reasons".
The former Benefit Analyst provided invaluable information and developed many new initiatives that provided short and long term relief and changes to the Village's Health Care Plan which now seem to be all but gone with the new Benefit Analyst judging from the documents from the Village at a huge cost to the taxpayers.
The previous 5 year track record for the Village Board saw the premiums rise from about $1.1 million in 1999 to around $2.4 million in 2003 for average annual increases of about 18% (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc-Info-10-pgs10.png).
Taxpayers now pay over 92% of the Village Employee Health Care Premium for most employees and should have a vested interest in how the plan works and what the costs are because it directly comes out of the taxpayer's pocket.
About 10% ($2.5-$3 million) of the annual Village Budget are directly tied to health care costs at taxpayer's expense.
Most Village Employees only pay $90.00 per month for the $1,632.25 family plan and $45.00 per month for the $595.78 single plan.
The annual health care plan increases the last 3 years are as follows:
- 2007 9.4%
- 2008 9.3%
- 2009 15%
The taxpayers would have seen a larger tax increase over the last 3 years because of the health care premium increases had it not been for the Village Board firing about 30 employees.
The Vanguard will explore some options and ideas to be considered that will save taxpayers a ton of money and maintain an excellent health care plan at the same time for Village Employees in a future posting.
It will be interesting to see what the premiums are for 2010 and whether or not the Village Board will step up and look at some alternatives for cost savings that have been available to the Village for a long time but have simply been ignored to maintain the status quo at taxpayer's expense.
Water Bills to Increase 36% With Village Board Support
In another primarily uncovered story, taxpayer's will be looking at a minimum of 36% increases (http://www.discoverhometown.com/menomonee/NewsArticle3.asp) in their water bills this year thanks to the unanimous votes of the Menomonee Falls Village Board who have repeatedly stated publicly over the last several years what a wonderful job the City of Milwaukee is doing for our community with their water agreements.
Unfortunately, taxpayers were once again sold a bill of goods in the '90's and early 2000's on the false premise that Menomonee Falls water was highly contaminated with radium and the supply was dangerously low which explained the reason why Milwaukee Water had to absolutely be purchased or else.
Those statements by Village Board Members really couldn't have been any further from the truth.
The truth of the matter, according to the latest update of the Menomonee Falls Water Supply from 2004
(http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/file/MFWell.pdf), shows the water supply not being highly contaminated with radium and not dangerously low as the community had been lead to believe by the Village Board.
The truth of the matter is that Milwaukee Water is simply blended with Menomonee Falls Water every few days and homeowners still consume Menomonee Falls Water.
The truth of the matter is that taxpayers have paid nearly $10 million since 1999 (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc-Info-10-pgs06.png) to the City of Milwaukee for water that may not have been needed.
The Vanguard is in the process of getting updates on Menomonee Falls Water, if they exist, to make sure the public really knows what is going instead of accepting the peddling of the message that has been recited for the last 10-15 years by the Village Board which is proving to be mostly untrue.
The answer from the Village Board is to blame the City of Milwaukee for the 36% increase because of the City is facing a pension shortfall, hire yet another consultant at taxpayer's expense to complain about the increase at the PSC Rate Increase Hearing and Trustee McDonald ordering citizens to show up at the PSC Rate Increase Hearing to complain.
Where will you be Trustee McDonald when the PSC Rate Increase Hearing is held? In a closet hiding from police somewhere or at the PSC Rate Increase Hearing yourself representing the citizens of Menomonee Falls?
The Vanguard has another idea, how about using the Village Staff that is already paid for with taxpayer's money to find a solution to use our own water and give the community an update that shows where the water quality and supplies are at?
This is just the water bills and doesn't include the sewer bills to MMSD that have totaled over $91 million since 1996-2009 (http://www.jefferson-davis.info/images/Documents/Misc.-Info3-3-pgs..png) which taxes homeowners based on the value of their homes at a tax rate of $1.28/$1,000 assessed value that now total over $4.5 million in taxes to the City of Milwaukee each year.
There are other options for waste treatment that don't include MMSD if the Falls only had a Village Board that had the courage and leadership to do the right thing instead of maintaining the status quo in fear of what might happen from the City of Milwaukee if they stop using MMSD as a wholesaler for waste treatment.
Imagine if taxpayers didn't have to pay the $90 a year garbage fee, had lower water and sewer bills, paid less for Village Employee Health Care Premiums and had a 3 year, 5% property tax reduction?
All of those extra millions could be pumped into the local economy instead of being given to the City of Milwaukee, Waste Management, United Health Care and the Village Government.
The sad thing of it is that all of this is doable with the right leadership on the Village Board and a citizenery that was informed and engaged.
Let us know what you think...
Do you like 15% health care premium increases at taxpayer's expense?
Do you want other options for health care that will lower taxes and maintain great benefits?
Do you want over taxation at $1.5 million a year?
Do you want surpluses used for tax relief to the taxpayers or Village Board spending projects ?
Do you want to continue with 36% water bill increases from the City of Milwaukee or use our own water at a much lower cost to taxpayers with great quality?
Do you want Trustee McDonald to come clean and apologize for his illegal behavior of obstructing an officer and being in a bar after hours?
Let the Village Board know what you think by contacting them at their email addresses below.....
Have a great week!