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Rochester Sends Alternate Budget to OPC

They call for a compromise and also agree to review interlocal agreement that governs OPC.

The continued to voice their opposition Monday night to the 2012 budget and approved an alternate budget for the OPC board to review.

Councilmembers also said they weren't interested in pursuing a lawsuit against the OPC. They voted to form a subcommittee to review the interlocal agreement that governs the organization.

Alternate budget

Since the OPC budget was submitted to all three governing communities in the fall, the , while Rochester Hills and Oakland Township voted in favor of it. Much of the discussion Monday night revolved around whether the municipal parties should be reviewing line items like pay increases or just look look at the budget's bottom line.

“The agreement is silent ... there is no restriction as to the level of detail for the budget approval,” Rochester City Attorney Jeffrey Kragt said. “It doesn’t say that this body and Rochester Hills and Oakland Township can only look at the bottom line.”

Councilmember Kim Russell abstained from the vote Monday night (OPC executive director Marye Miller is Russell's mom) while all others voted in favor. Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Cuthbertson was absent. The revisions will now be sent on to the OPC board for consideration. The council requested the OPC put the topic on its next meeting’s agenda for a vote. The board meets at 4 p.m. Feb. 2. If the OPC board decides to make the changes to its budget, they would then need to re-submit the new budgets to Oakland Township and Rochester Hills for approval.

The alternate plan that was proposed by councilmember Steve Sage and approved includes:

  • Provision for a one-time, 1 percent bonus.
  • Deference of step increases in pay.
  • Reduction in a payment in lieu of health care benefits from $8,400 to $3,000.
  • Continuation of a previously agreed upon pension plan with a matching option.

“I think both sides need to compromise, I think this is a pretty good compromise,” Mayor Stuart Bikson said. “Again, nobody is happy. I’m not happy, I assume the OPC board won’t be happy, but I think people need to show leadership and vote and move on with this.”

The Rochester City Council has cited a 17.5 percent pay increase for Miller as one reason for objecting the budget. Miller attended the meeting and addressed the board, explaining that the raise is 1 percent and that people are being misled.

“I am getting 1 percent … 17 percent is a down and outright lie,” Miller said. “I got last year 6 percent for benefits, I was supposed to be getting them in 2012, the same I got in 2011 and we got the other benefits in 2011 that we’re getting in 2012.”

Bikson responded to Miller’s explanation, clarifying the 17 percent figure.

“I think the 17 percent comes from 6 percent 401K, the $8,400 payment in lieu, and the 1 percent pay increase — that comes out to what I understand is 17 percent," Bikson said.

"Those are the facts.”

Interlocal agreement

The council also voted in favor of forming a subcommittee to look into ways to improve the current interlocal system and Kragt addressed options the governing bodies have for reworking the interlocal agreement.

Many members agreed that the language of the agreement needed to be reviewed to avoid similar conflicts in the future when not all parties can agree. Kragt suggested requiring the OPC board to host a special meeting immediately following one of the municipalities' rejection of its budget.

“I think if this agreement were opened up it would be a good opportunity to put clarifying language in there,” Kragt said.

No lawsuit pending

At a , Kragt noted that if the OPC opened in January without the approved budget then they would be in violation of state law. After an OPC representative rose at the meeting, warning of the ramifications for taxpayers if the cities were to go to court for the matter, councilmembers assured the audience it is not in their interest to participate in a lawsuit.

“I don’t think the city of Rochester has any intention of filing a lawsuit,” Bikson said.

Councilmember David Zemens agreed.

“We’re all big boys and girls; we can work it out,” Zemens said.

Patricia March 17, 2012 at 12:12 PM
Give it up already Sam. Everything you have tried to slam me with has not worked because facts and truth come out. And your latest post, trying to rectify your post before that one is absurd. RHS is a fine school. Your posts have been about nothing more than name calling -no solutions no compromise. It appears you are trying to divert the attention from the OPC problem(s) at hand. Doesn't work. So throw in another post about me, name call some more and have a good day-you are not worth my time--and from what I have heard perhaps I need to be more cautious in my where about's where you are concerned.
Sam March 18, 2012 at 03:08 AM
Pat, you are the one writing obsurd posts here. Stop your nonsense posts, trying to pass crap as legitimate political concern is insult to me and everyone else, including the smart RHS graduates. I'm not tarnishing RHS, you are. I bet they all know better to think your political demands are wrong. As long as you write garbage here, I'll be here to correct you. You, Rochester Hills Wannabe Council member Laurie Puscas and rochester council's demands and foot stumping has no basis and we know it. It is obvious that you, rochester council and Laurie Puscas have personal and political gains for doing this.......
Kristin Bull March 20, 2012 at 12:56 PM
For anyone following this thread and the OPC issue: The OPC Board recently voted 8-0 to lower the payment in lieu of healthcare benefits from $8,400 a year to $5,500 a year, retroactive to Jan. 1. It will save about $8,700 a year.
c daldin March 20, 2012 at 01:37 PM
The change was mandated by a new state law. They only did it because they had to do it in order to be in compliance with the law. It was not in response to any request by the RCC. Thanks so much for updating this thread.
Patricia March 20, 2012 at 01:38 PM
The only reason this came about was information from the State--I and others had mentioned and blogged about this openly at meetings for quite some time. This is a step in the right direction-but it is still higher than what a premium can be purchased for-- but again It is a start towards a compromise. The wheels at OPC are slow to turn.

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