Saturday, April 20, 2024

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Local Voices: Tiffany Henyard’s advertising budget, and is there a budget deficit?

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Submitted by Paul Robertz

There was a technical issue which kept this Local Voices pieces from being included in yesterday’s email. The original post follows:

The following was a public comment made during the March 12 Thornton Township Board meeting. It was also submitted to The Lansing Journal for publication as a Local Voices.

I was going to start out my comment with a joke about trickle down economics, but 98% of you wouldn’t get it. Actually, I just told that joke: did you get it?. My comment, however, is no laughing matter.

I try to pay my bills by selling antique computer parts from my basement in Lansing. I appreciate the opportunity to attend a public meeting and to make this comment. I regret that this opportunity does not come as often as I wish it did.

When I first moved to Lansing, I didn’t know what Thornton Township actually did until I learned that the Township had a budget surplus that year. The previous Supervisor and current assessor gave the budget surplus back to homeowners in the form of a property tax rebate. That practice is the opposite of trickle-down economics. Our property taxes are notoriously high already, so relief, distributed equitably, is welcomed by the people. However, it has been a few years since Thornton Township has distributed property tax rebates.

Four months ago, I received a glossy Township Talks magazine in the mail, with the current supervisor’s name and picture on almost every page. The following week I saw her name and face dominating a billboard on the Bishop Ford. That made me wonder, with all these advertising expenses, is the Township going from surplus to deficit? I started to ask two questions: 1) What is Thornton Township’s advertising budget, and 2) What is Thornton Township’s current deficit or surplus?

Since then I have learned that township spending has increased for the wealthiest members of the current administration, and budgets have been slashed for departments who dare question the Supervisor. With so much money being spent on travel, parties, a public relations consulting firm, and who knows what else, I doubt if the people will get much more than perhaps another TV the Supervisor gives them at Big Bingo. Has the funding coming down from Springfield already been spent by top administrators, leaving next to nothing to trickle down to needy residents? Isn’t the purpose of the township to help the residents? Recent spending gives the appearance that the top priority is the Supervisor’s appearance instead of the people.

Now that I have said this, I suppose the Supervisor could hear me and try to look good by declaring a surplus and putting her name all over a property tax rebate just before the 2025 elections, in another attempt to buy votes. Still, I hope she can first allow someone to answer my two questions accurately: 1) What is the advertising budget? and 2) What is the township’s deficit, including bonds and other borrowing?

I would like to schedule a 15 minute meeting with Finance Director Robert Hunt, and believe me, I have tried. One of Supervisor Henyard’s assistants kept me from getting near Mr. Hunt at a Township Talks. After two canceled board meetings, I was among those kept in the basement while a short one took place upstairs. A receptionist told me that all questions to the finance director could be answered through email, but the email address was [email protected]. My FOIA request has been unanswered repeatedly by an anonymous person who gave me only the township’s annual report from Frank Zuccarelli’s last year.

What are you hiding? Why is this administration so afraid of constructive criticism? I would love a good dialogue with any person who can defend this administration’s spending instead of routinely blocking FOIA requests.

Local Voices
Local Voiceshttps://thelansingjournal.com/category/lansing-voices/
Local Voices is The Lansing Journal's version of “Letters to the Editor.” The opinions posted here are those of the writers, and posting them does not indicate endorsement by The Lansing Journal. We welcome input from fellow residents who have thoughtful things to say about topics that are important to our community. Submissions may be sent to [email protected] with “Voices” in the subject line.

1 COMMENT

  1. Paul Robertz good luck with that.
    I was thinking the same thing this past week when myself and all my neighbors received 5 hand delivered flyers for different events all promoting Supervisor Henyard and her “accomplishments” with upcoming or ongoing events.
    Then my computer was blasted by emails from Friends of Tiffany Henyard “The Super Mayor” one of her sitting on a white and gold throne wearing her Louboutin shoes as she promoted herself and who you should vote for and how you should vote on township referendums.
    Since the media has started investigating her, she seems to have doubled down with her inappropriate spending.

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