Ypsidixit - 2007-11-15 09:09:38
I know, I know. This sort of meeting wouldn't be a "charrette," a term which applies to architectural-type design competition/forums, as I understand it. But it sounds so much better than the deadly dull "forum," doesn't it? Much tonier. Plus it will foster conversation all over town:

Guy: (airily) "Hey, can I buy you a drink? I just got back from the City Finances Charrette."
Girl: "Uh, sure, thank you. The City Finances what?"
Guy: "The City Finances Charrette; it was cool." (Nonchalantly:) "Lots of movers and shakers there."
Girl: "The City Finances Charade? What?"
Guy: "Charrette!"
Girl: "Shar....what? Shar Pei? That's a dog. The City has"
Guy: "Charrette!"
Girl: "Those are the real wrinkly ones, right? Those are expensive! No wonder the City is in financial trouble. They should have, like, a public city finances forum."

Paul Schreiber - 2007-11-15 11:41:30
The 2007-2008 Ypsilanti city budget is online at Audit reports from 2004 through 2006 are at Paul Schreiber
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-15 11:44:52
Thank you very much, Mayor Schreiber. I took a look, but must have overlooked it at the City website. I was sort of hoping someone more knowledgeable might point to where it was--that is quite helpful; thank you!
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-15 11:47:46
p.s. But Mayor Schreiber!

What I really want to know is...(shyly) do you like my corduroy rug?
maryd - 2007-11-16 06:20:13
I had the same reaction to the A2 news editorial. Shocked were they? Oh my. We need more than the city budget link (especially if that is the solvency plan, the link didn't seem to work for me), we need community consensus and input. City council needs to widen their tent. I love your ideas for a charrette and was sad to miss the park gathering.
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-16 08:50:06
Maryd, I am glad I wasn't the only one to react thus to the editorial...later I wondered if I'd been a tad touchy. Which wouldn't exactly be a first for me. At any rate, I doubt "shocked" is the most honest word, anyways. Shock is when you get a phone call about a car accident, heaven forbid.

It's not what you feel when a political group doesn't submit a fifteen-bullet-point budget analysis with two bar graphs and a list of...zzzzzzz.

Right? "Shock"--give me a break; how schoolmarmish. I think "irritation" is what the writers of this editorial felt. Or, on some level, "fear," that a small guerrilla group could and did upset the establishmentarian apple cart. "Resentment" might also fit. But they're not snowin' anyone with their pretended "shock." It bugs me because it is dishonest, prissy, and manipulative writing. Which is why we use the unwanted, unrequested "Community News" copies that periodically litter our driveway (perhaps in some circulation-figures-inflation scheme?), as dog poop scoopers. At any rate.
YPsidixit - 2007-11-16 09:03:57
Maryd, at first I thought the link Mayor Schreiber left here didn't work for me either--but it just takes a long time to load; it's a pdf. Eventually it comes up--for me, anyway, and hopefully for you.
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-16 09:12:32
Maryd: Yes, community consensus and input, that's right on. People WANT to help. Mayor Schreiber could say, "Look--I want you all to read this budget, think about it, make notes on it, bring it to our charrette, discuss it with your small group for 35 minutes, and come up with a list of recommendations to present to the group as a whole." People are ready to respond to such a request from the Mayor. That is my impression. I sure would.
Mrs. Parsons - 2007-11-16 12:22:43
With all due respect to the mayor, a 374 page document in a pdf format which many people can't even view on their computers is (to me) a very far cry from making such information "publicly accessible". I would like to see a simplified text document, and possibly a few pie charts showing where the money goes. As long as it's so complicated and mysterious, people (myself included) are going to continue to mistrust ALL the expenditures, regardless of how justified they may be.
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-16 12:59:07
Mrs. Parsons: pdfs are definitely a bear on my old home computer; I can't see them at all. I would copy & paste the text here, but all the formatting would be gone & it'd be unreadable.

There is a good overview list of general fund expenditures starting on p. 7, and an even more detailed one on p. 22. There's a list of full time positions on p. 26. Interesting capital equipment expenses list begins on p. 29 ($2,600 stove! yow!)
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-16 13:02:25
The truly persistent & nosy can find out how much Murph's computer costs. Heh. (Hope he doesn't mind I said that).
Mrs. Parsons - 2007-11-16 16:17:46
Does it say whether he has adobe acrobat on it? I hope at least the city staff can look at this thing.
Ypsidixit - 2007-11-16 16:47:46
Mrs. P: It does not. But it's very interesting to peruse all the expenses. I think I'll print out those pages and take a closer look at them.

You are right: before they make it into a PDF, it would be easy to just copy and paste the text into a regular web page linked to the City page, so that people could easily read just a plain copy. Make jpegs of the tables. It wouldn't be too hard or time-consuming.

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