I wrote the other day about Plymouth Township falsifying information on a grant application that would bring some state dollars into Plymouth Township. This program is called the Economic Vitality Incentive Program (EVIP) This program rewards communities for entering into consolidation, and cooperation agreements with other communities, among other things. This EVIP money adds up to roughly $10,000 for the township.
One of the criteria is that you have to show that you have initiated at least one consolidation/cooperation plan per year. You don't have to enter into an agreement, you just have to initiate a plan, and show the progress you are making towards the possibility of achieving that goal. The bar is not really set very high on this aspect of the program. It is an easy thing to achieve, if you are not lazy about it, and show some imagination.
On January 2nd, Plymouth Township sent in their application. It was not due until February 1st. Under the terms of the application, they used the Plymouth Arts and Recreation Complex (PARC) project as their example of initiating this consolidation plan. They worded it as if they had been on board with this plan from the beginning. They gave a beginning date of 2013, and a projected completion date of 2015. They indicated possible barriers as being unable to create a joint authority, and the cost of between 25-30 million dollars.
These are the pertinent facts as far as the PARC aspect of this application goes. They are indisputable.
I spoke with the State of Michigan Department of Treasury this morning, and what I found out was both good and bad, depending on how you look at it. As a taxpayer, there is a very good chance that the township will not lose the money, therefore your tax dollars will not have to make up for the shortfall. As a principled person, who desires integrity from elected officials, the news is not so good. It doesn't appear that Supervisor Reaume, or anyone else in the Township Hall will be called to the carpet for these egregious actions.
They will not be penalized, or face any actions because in the eyes of the Department of Treasury, they were not lying on their application. We all know that Mr. Reaume, and whoever prepared this application lied, but according to the treasury, they will get a pass. The reason? The application was submitted on January 2nd.
The Plymouth Township Board of Trustees did not vote to opt out of the PARC project until January 14th. They also did not vote to prohibit Plymouth Township from entering into any kind of authority agreement with the City of Plymouth until January 14th as well.
So in the eyes of the Treasury Department, Plymouth Township had a reasonable expectation of entering into the PARC project at the time that they submitted their application. If there is no paper trail, to show that they had no intention of participating, there is no case against them, therefore they did not falsify the information on their application. In the eyes of the Treasury Department.
I know differently, and through my eyes, Supervisor Reaume, and 4 others, never had any intention of participating in the PARC project. Every person in that Township Hall knew that there was never going to be any participation with PARC. Every person in Plymouth Township, the City of Plymouth, and Canton Township knows this as well. Everyone who pays attention anyway.
So here is my take on what I think transpired. I think Supervisor Richard Reaume, Treasurer Edwards, and Clerk Conzelman, did their best to stall the PARC process, knowing fully well that they needed time to complete the application process. The PARC folks were begging for a township representative going back at least as far as the November 12th board meeting. There were informal talks even before November as well.
At each event, they were stonewalled. They were not told no, but they were not told yes either. They simply were not given an answer. Reaume couldn't say yes, because he had no intent to participate, so why give people hope, and suffer the backlash when you pull the rug out from underneath them at a later date? He couldn't say no to the project because then he would put his EVIP application at risk. So he stalled.
He stalled through the November 12th meeting, when Mr. Soenen pleaded with him to appoint a representative. He stalled during the December 10th meeting as well. And here is the thing. There were all kinds of folks up there pleading for the township to appoint a representative. Finally, at the December 10th meeting, Reaume threw a crumb out to the PARC folks by offering to have a special meeting on January 7th in order to study the issue.
This gave many of the people some hope when he did this. He was giving the,m a chance to have a study session devoted to the PARC issue. This was their chance to plead their case. The night of January 6th, Supervisor Reaume canceled that special meeting. He canceled it, knowing fully well that he had already turned in his EVIP application on January 2nd.
That takes us up to the January 14th Board of Trustees meeting, where the board promptly took up the issue, and voted 5-2 not to participate in the PARC project. Then, while everybody was still seething about that, Treasurer Edwards doubled down by making a motion to prohibit Plymouth Township from entering into any authority, of any kind, with the City of Plymouth until his term is up at the end of 2016.
Besides being the most ignorant motion I have heard in the roughly 25 years that I have followed municipal governments, it was the most vengeful, tyrannical, and elitist motion I have ever heard. The fact that it passed by a 4-3 vote still astounds me. I simply do not understand how 3 other people could somehow see that as a motion that would somehow benefit our community.
So the bottom line is this. Five members of the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees used the people who have worked for, and supported the PARC project. They used these people for their own self serving needs, and then when they got what they wanted from the PARC project, they threw the project, and everyone who supports it right under the bus.
Five members of the Plymouth Township Board of Trustees strung all of you along. They let you waste your time sitting through endless Board of Trustees meetings. They let you spill your hearts out, hoping to reach them, hoping to get through to them, hoping to convince them of the worthiness of this project. They did all of these things, and then when the time was right, they threw all of you to the curb, like yesterday's trash. They did this, and they knew they were doing it all along.
Supervisor Richard Reaume
Treasurer Ron Edwards
Clerk Nancy Conzelman
Trustee Mike Kelly
Trustee Kay Arnold
These are the people that did these things...