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October 09, 1974 - Image 8

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1974-10-09

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Page Eight

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Wednesday, October 9_-1974

Page Eight THE MICHIGAN DAILY Wednesday, October 9, 1974

County

govt.

MICHIGAN'S MOST
COMPLETE HI-Fl &
ELECTRONICS CENTERS
BER 15!

TEXAS

SALE PRICES GOOD THRU TUESDAY, OCTO0

(Continued from Page 1)
sioner Elizabeth Taylor (D-Ann
Arbor.)r
When the Democrats won(
control of the board in 1972,
they made several major altera-
tions in the hierarchical struc-
ture to improve operations at1
the county building.f
First, the Democratic major-s
ity - when the eight members r
worked together - disbannedG
the administrator's office andt
replaced it with an "executive
assistant" to the board who has
little direct input on policy mat-t

pays taxes and doesn't com-
plain is the person who is still
not getting a fair shake from
county government," s a y s
Commissioner Richard Walter-
house (R-Ann Arbor).
Without a single "watchdog"
person to oversee the daily af-
fairs, many commissioners
sense that some department
heads have become too indepen-
dent and are not accountable
to anyone.
MOREOVER the board tends'
to resent the lack of control it
holds over the elected county
officers - the clerk, treasurer,
and about a half dozen others.
"It's impossible to deal with
elected department heads,"

94
antiqu
ists because the elected offic-
ials are not responsible to the
board - yet it must foot their
bills." A full-time county ex-
ecutive would help alleviate
many of the factors causing this,
difficulty, this official con-
tends.
Another major shortcoming of
county government, at least ac-
cording to those involved at the
local level, is the powerful
role the state plays in forming
policy.
State government agencies,
through the legislature, force
the counties to provide numer-
ous services such as police pro-
tection, courts, and broad social
programs without extensive fi-
nancial support.

ated F
Inflation - which is now run-
ning close to 12 per cent a year
- has taken a major toll on the
county budget. In addition,
county employes unionizes
early this year and won sub-
stantial salary and fringe bene-
fit hikes.
The county commission is now
considering a tax hike to gen'-
erate part of the $2.6 million
needed to balance next year's
budget. But Hurd comments;
"Taxpayers can't afford muc
more and I think some services
must be cut."
COMMISSION-ER
Shoultz underscores that point.
"In the past the board has tried
to lend financial support to

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i

ters.
THEN THEY created the of-<
fices of controller, corporate
counsel, and personnel director+
to assume the duties once per-
formed by several departments
as secondary functions.<
However, these changes failedl
to solve the county's adminis-
trative problems.4
"Even with the new positions+
-which devastated the oldI
structure - we have an 18th1
century system to deal with
20th century problems," says
Commissioner James Walterj
(D-Ypsilanti).
THE REPUBLICAN commis-
sioners condemn the restructur-
ing as a Democrat power play
to muffle the GOP voice in;
board activities. They alsobe-
lieve the changes have done
little to improve delivery ofI
services to county residents.
"The average citizen who
I THE WAY
TO GO
UM Stylists
at The Union

says Taylor, who has openly worthwhile groups," he says.
accused Harrison of illegal LIKEWISE the state can de- "In 1975, however, we just won't
and negligent performance of mand that counties increase the have the money and some peo-
his duties. level of these services - re- I ple are going to be let down."
While Harrison brands such gardless of cost or the particu-
allegations "crazy," the Demo- lar locality's fiscal picture. Longterm budget prospects
cratic commissioners bemoan also look grim as' inflation will
ti inabiitondiss e- This fall, for instance, Wash- likely continue, while the count
their inability to dismiss cer- tenaw County must start a new
taro elected department chiefs, district court. The county must ty voter' seem unlikely to ap-
who they claim are nothing pay the new judge, additional prove an extensive tax increase.
more than political hacks. court clerical staff, and ex- And similarly nobody in coun-
"YOU'RE DAMN right we pand the public defender's of- ty government anticipates that
fice to effectively handle the
can't control them now," says increased case load the state will assume a larger
Commissioner Roymond Shoultz burden in funding local pro-
(D-Ann Arbor). Another board Similarly, to meet the rising grams.
member describes the officials crime rate and the worst unem-
as "barons running their own ployment situation here in 14
fiefdoms." years, the county will have to:
Harrison counters that he is budget more money for the
better off because he is not sheriff's department and relief
directly accountable, expect for programs next year.
budgetaryneeds, toa board ALTHOUGH the county ex-
that "reacts withlttepoe t oblne h 94bd
sight and wastes money by con- net aancsth1974ilbud-
tinuing overlapping services."[getnt ye
Another department head nancial plan will. necessitate
either a tax increase or a serv-
views the accountability gap ice reduction to avoid running
from both sides. "With 15 part-' a deficit.
time commissioners managing
the county, there will be prob- "The cront ovnmtenthis
lems and things will get over-he at
looked," he says. people in Lansing tell us what

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BOOK SALE
CENTICORE Always Has 100's of Books on
Sale. Titles Change Constantly. See. Our Large
Outdoor Sole Plaza. Books Formerly Priced at
$6.95 to $175.00, Now Selling for 99c to
$75.00
CENTICORE BOOKSHOPS
336 MAYNARD 1229 SO. UNIVERSITY

we can uu, WIL ,.11 A, I
and what we must do," says
Walterhouse. "And they do it
without regard for what it will
cost us."
Locally, the dollar crunch
may be more severe than else-
where because the county helps
fund a number of supposedly
non-essential programs - such
as a juvenile assistance opera-
tion, drug treatmentacenter,
and a range of health facilities.

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Make it
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RELIGION IN AUERICAN LIFE
~ . AAtl od1tFrA& 0C



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for the county is a 5.5 mill pro-
perty tax, but this income is a
relatively fixed amount while
expenditures are currently ris-
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