Genesee County, Michigan

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Transparency grading process

Genesee County is one of 83 counties in Michigan. The county seat is Flint. In 2010, the county's population was 425,790.[1]

Website evaluation

Main article: Evaluation of Michigan county websites

This website was reviewed on April 18, 2012.


The website has the following disclaimer: "All information on this page is intended to be accurate, complete and timely; however, Genesee County does not warrant the accuracy of the information contained herein nor is it responsible for any errors or omissions and assumes no liability for its use."

The good

  • Current and previous years' budgets and audits are posted.[2]
  • Commissioners are listed, but contact information in not provided for all Board members.[3]
  • Meeting agendas and schedules are posted, but not meeting minutes.[4]
  • Current and previous bids are posted.[5]
  • Contact information for department staff are listed within each department page.[6]
  • Court records are posted and searchable.[7]
  • Tax information is searchable by parcel or owner.[8]

The bad

  • No information on public records requests is posted.
  • No meeting minutes are posted.
  • There is no information on zoning or building permits.
  • There is no information on government sector lobbying.

Budget

2011-12

The 2011-12 budget expects $160,224,889 in revenue and budgets for $160,224,889 in expenditures, maintaining its general fund balance at $$11,174,478.[9]

Genesee County Adopted Expenditures, 2011-2012
Area Total Adopted Budget
Management and Planning $18,099,766
Administration of Justice $39,030,253
Law Enforcement/Comm. Prot. $21,795,961
Human Services $58,307,879
Community Development $7,510,027
General Support $15,481,003
TOTAL $160,224,889

Taxes

The 2011-12 budget calls for an 8.1766-mill tax.[9]

Public employees

Elected officials

2011-12 County Commissioners[3]
Name District
Omar Sims 1st
Brenda Clack 2nd
Jamie W. Curtis 3rd
John Northrup 4th
Miles Gadola 5th
Joseph Graves 6th
Archie H. Bailey 7th
Ted Henry 8th
Patrick Gleason 9th

School districts in Genesee County

The 21 public school districts and 10 charter schools in Genesee County are under the Genesee Intermediate School District.[10]

School officials' travel expenditures

According to a study conducted by the Flint Journal, the Genesee County school districts spent at least $365,000 on travel for school board members and superintendents during the 2 1/2 years beginning July 1, 2006. The survey was performed using spending records received via the Michigan Freedom of Information Act.[11]

Lobbying

Main article: Michigan government sector lobbying

An article in The Flint Journal reported on seven Genessee County agencies that spent more than $1.3 million of taxpayer money on lobbyists in the last three years, up 76 percent from 2008.[12]. The article noted that spending on individual lobbying firms does not include dues paid by agencies organizations that advocate for funding for cities, townships, school districts and counties. Taxpayer-funded lobbying runs at an estimated $1 trillion spent each year nationwide by governments to lobby one another, according to Americans for Prosperity.[12]

Genesee County

Genesee County spent nearly $200,000 on firms monitoring legislation in Lansing and advising commissioners on the status of revenue sharing and other issues.[12] Most of the drain commission’s half-million dollar lobbying bill went to DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary, a Washington firm that includes former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard as a partner.

The Genesee County Drain Commission, a subsidiary, led spending on lobbyists. The commission spent $194,000 in 2008 and nearly $539,000 since 2006, mostly to secure federal funds for infrastructure projects and in part to help efforts aimed at building a new water pipeline to Lake Huron.[12]

The University of Michigan-Flint and Mott Community College spent nearly a half-million dollars combined since 2006. A Mott Community College spokesman stated the college has spent a "reasonable" amount on two lobbying firms since 2006 and netted "tens of millions" in return.[12] The spokesman said rate of return amounts to more than $67 for each dollar spent on lobbyists. The rate of return for federal grants, excluding pell grants and other grants routinely awarded to colleges and universities, is higher at $164 for each dollar spent.[12]

The Road Commission spends $3,500 per month for its lobbyist to help on big projects like the reconstruction of Miller Road.[12]

The Genesee County Land Bank spent $35,000 in taxpayer funds in 2006. Lobbying firm Corbin Consulting received the money, a portion of which was allotted to conducting community outreach meetings, said the Land Bank Chairman.[12]

The Mass Transportation Authority spent a projected $168,000 on lobbyists since 2006, but the agency says not all those funds went for direct lobbying. Additionally, General Manager Robert Foy spent 25 percent of his time trying to influence local, state and federal officials to send more money to the public transpiration agency.[12] The agency points to nearly $30 million in capital grants since 2006 as evidence of the effectiveness of its lobbying. The agency also hires a separate lobbyist but much of the work that firm does is not lobbying, according to the general manager.[12]

External links

References