Friends –

Recently a negative piece was sent out about me indicating that I voted NO for Police and Fire. The council votes on the entire budget and not specifically on Police and Fire. How would anyone not support their Police and Fire departments? Both departments are essential part of ensuring the quality and safety of our community. I was concerned about the entire budget planning and expenditures and opposed when it was not a responsible budget. For instance:

1. It took five years to merge city 911 service with county 911. As part of the contract with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for contracted police services, the city was already paying $300,000 to cover mobile 911 services. In addition, the city was spending $1 million to operate its 911-landline service through the fire department and additional funds for equipment. We were duplicating the services with exorbitant costs. When an emergency call came through for police through the landline the city’s 911 responded first and then it transferred the call to Oakland County 911 for police response. This contributed to a lag time with duplicate costs. The resistance to merge was huge, and an outside consultant from New Jersey was hired to tell us how ineffective our system was. Although we already knew this, we still wasted city funds.

After the consultant’s report, the city issued a Request for Proposal, even when the answer was clear that Oakland County Sheriff’s Dispatch was the best option since we already had an agreement with them. When it was all said and done, Oakland County Sheriff’s Department agreed to take on the service for less than $200,000 a year and offered to hire the city’s dispatch personnel. The city wasted at minimum $750,000 per year for five years (not including prior to my time on council).

After the city’s 911 service was merged with the county, the city’s fire fund balance from 2010 started to go up and was showing strong projections into the future. It took over 5 years when the solution was right in front of us. This, my friends, cost residents time, money, and efficient response times.

2. Payment to the Walmart developer of over $800,000 inserted in a budget amendment without any discussion or no prior information. I voted NO on it.

3. Payments to consultants on the water reservoirs project which had no business case. I voted NO on it.

4. In 2007 I objected to a tax increase plan just as we were entering a recession.

5. When funding for local road was zeroed out in 2009 and 2010, even when we had a strong General Fund balance, at that time, over $26 million. I objected to it. I was the one that made a motion (and it passed) in 2013 to increase road funding to $5 million per year for 2014 thru 2016.

6. Hiring of Lobbyists, Strategic Communication (a firm that is made up of previously elected officials), under the pretext of grant development. City spent over $200,000. I voted NO on it.

7. I was surprised to learn of a NO bid contract with the trash company. We had an opportunity to go out for bids and seek the best option. Instead a NO bid contract was chosen.

8. IN 2015 the taxes went up by 7.66% while the claim is always how the administration does not raise taxes

Friends, we need to move forward with a change in leadership that restores trust and integrity in the Mayor’s office. With me there will be no quid pro quo with contractors, developers, businesses, or oil companies. My focus while on council was always doing the right thing for the residents and doing it based on data and facts. My focus as Mayor will be the same.

Public Service is a noble service and not an entitlement. The office of the Mayor should be restored to its original intent of serving the community. It is a responsibility that needs to be fulfilled with dignity and respect. No one person should become a permanent fixture in an elected office and use that position for personal gain. It is the families of Rochester Hills that make us great.

Ravi Yalamanchi