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Original article URL: http://bridgemi.com/2013/11/searchable-database-legacy-costs-in-your-community/

Economy & competitive position

Searchable database: Legacy costs in your community

Legacy costs are commitments made in the past that will be paid by future generations. The two biggest forms of legacy costs for local governments in Michigan are pensions and health care insurance for retired public workers.

Michigan has nearly 1,800 units of local government. Nearly 300 have some level of legacy costs. Two-thirds of Michigan’s total residents reside in communities with legacy costs.

This searchable database details the legacy costs in those communities. If your community is not listed, your community does not have or has not reported significant legacy costs.

Local community 2010 population Local government general fund revenue (2011) Total unfunded legacy costs Unfunded legacy costs for each resident Additional annual property taxes owner of a $100,000 home would pay to fully cover share of legacy costs.
Albion  8,616  3,707,414  $(7,797,230)  $(905)  $31
Algonac  4,110  $2,556,371  $1,315,031  $320  $76
Allen Park  28,210  20,084,222  $144,225,807  $5,113  $564
Alma  9,383  4,048,475  $1,232,544  $131  $68
Alpena  10,483  9,392,140  $4,367,318  $417  $201
Ann Arbor  113,934  76,744,367  $227,233,000  $1,994  $246
Au Gres  889  $527,568  $774,591  $871  $179
Auburn Hills  21,412  24,924,132  $12,728,951  $594  $47
Bangor  1,885  835,202  $1,088,581  $577  $383
Battle Creek  52,347  43,264,011  $110,945,505  $2,119  $339
Bay City  34,932  20,965,355  $144,172,802  $4,127  $1,033
Bedford Township  31,085  5,261,615  $303,275  $10  $1
Belding  5,757  2,392,965  $849,573  $148  $28
Belleville  3,991  2,404,128  $6,122,439  $1,534  $239
Benton Charter Township  14,749  8,483,856  $8,336,258  $565  $109
Berkley  14,970  9,189,384  $25,959,598  $1,734  $349
Beverly Hills Village  10,267  6,652,522  $15,619,138  $1,521  $179
Birmingham  20,103  26,057,791  $46,959,502  $2,336  $102
Blackman Charter Township  24,051  2,354,884  $7,875,671  $327  $127
Bloomfield Charter Township  41,070  37,242,298  $116,525,989  $2,837  $197
Bloomfield Hills  3,869  8,838,292  $23,301,774  $6,023  $116
Boyne City  3,735  3,703,206  $1,991,356  $533  $55
Brandon Charter Township  13,733  3,239,895  $4,745,796  $346  $59
Bridgeport Charter Township  10,514  2,301,325  $2,726,947  $259  $73
Brighton  7,444  7,933,648  $18,630,363  $2,503  $201
Brooklyn Village  1,206  488,232  $493,020  $409  $87
Brownstown Charter Township  30,627  16,985,674  $30,797,656  $1,006  $222
Bruce Township  6,947  1,798,297  $6,901,466  $993  $100
Buena Vista Charter Township  8,676  5,209,326  $4,511,833  $520  $83
Burton  29,999  7,739,779  $37,905,620  $1,264  $177
Cadillac  10,355  7,340,547  $5,243,175  $506  $195
Canton Charter Township  90,173  55,086,954  $96,711,391  $1,073  $110
Capac Village  1,890  700,075  $2,773,052  $1,467  $189
Center Line  8,257  7,867,568  $54,045,925  $6,545  $904
Charlotte  9,074  4,900,457  $11,257,728  $1,241  $154
Cheboygan  4,867  2,303,102  $4,034,559  $829  $121
Chelsea  4,944  4,024,716  $10,357,459  $2,095  $238
Chesterfield Township  43,381  19,243,998  $18,194,939  $419  $68
Clawson  11,825  6,759,628  $21,788,770  $1,843  $291
Clay Township  9,066  3,936,720  $7,001,633  $772  $125
Clinton Charter Township  96,796  46,931,265  $79,491,659  $821  $153
Clio  2,646  1,185,819  $1,717,603  $649  $329
Coleman  1,243  551,645  $835,150  $672  $249
Cooper Charter Township  10,111  1,223,547  $502,399  $50  $15
Corunna  3,497  1,625,580  $3,204,830  $916  $301
Croswell  2,447  1,205,297  $4,802,948  $1,963  $435
Crystal Falls  1,469  966,698  $6,222,212  $4,236  $865
Davison  5,173  2,194,268  $12,061,222  $2,332  $572
Davison Township  19,575  5,597,261  $5,717,508  $292  $63
Dearborn  98,153  94,816,168  $203,779,109  $2,076  $345
Dearborn Heights  57,774  31,854,617  $137,183,442  $2,374  $497
Delhi Charter Township  25,877  10,453,055  $3,114,930  $120  $27
Delta Charter Township  32,408  11,504,986  $10,615,989  $328  $36
Detroit  713,777  1,220,258,093  $5,586,937,313  $7,827  $2,512
DeWitt  4,507  2,781,518  $7,592,480  $1,685  $364
Dexter Village  4,067  2,958,938  $2,329,640  $573  $73
Dowagiac  5,879  3,243,048  $8,367,406  $1,423  $341
Durand  3,446  1,861,156  $4,357,485  $1,265  $242
East China Township  3,788  1,687,178  $4,234,388  $1,118  $30
East Grand Rapids  10,694  10,055,332  $8,409,915  $786  $81
East Lansing  48,579  34,032,643  $89,217,993  $1,837  $478
Eastpointe  32,442  19,730,526  $58,201,645  $1,794  $467
Eaton Rapids  5,214  1,716,244  $16,066,244  $3,081  $655
Ecorse  9,512  14,605,614  $60,794,028  $6,391  $617
Egelston Township  9,909  1,910,436  $1,392,000  $140  $48
Essexville  3,478  1,225,204  $6,331,308  $1,820  $356
Farmington  10,372  7,903,041  $11,106,535  $1,071  $198
Farmington Hills  79,740  44,736,993  $57,752,770  $724  $99
Fenton  11,756  5,425,548  $14,422,421  $1,227  $145
Fenton Charter Township  15,552  3,205,657  $930,626  $60  $8
Ferndale  19,900  16,992,544  $30,956,872  $1,556  $320
Flat Rock  9,878  7,590,243  $22,238,482  $2,251  $220
Flint  102,434  67,173,919  $1,112,098,934  $10,857  $2,840
Flint Charter Township  31,929  11,201,677  $22,751,532  $713  $86
Flushing  8,389  3,869,085  $20,994,933  $2,503  $405
Flushing Charter Township  10,640  2,185,597  $3,241,119  $305  $40
Fort Gratiot Charter Township  11,108  2,952,928  $550,836  $50  $8
Frankenmuth  4,944  3,983,081  $2,828,903  $572  $57
Frankfort  1,286  1,437,734  $1,924,681  $1,497  $112
Franklin Village  3,150  1,933,163  $2,776,418  $881  $41
Fraser  14,480  13,363,743  $78,449,068  $5,418  $631
Fremont  4,081  3,047,212  $3,223,545  $790  $108
Frenchtown Township  20,428  8,558,927  $5,148,070  $252  $34
Fruitport Charter Township  12,505  2,987,639  $1,783,000  $143  $26
Garden City  27,692  18,409,603  $119,810,248  $4,327  $598
Garfield Charter Township  16,256  5,094,807  $187,767  $12  $1
Gaylord  3,645  2,596,868  $3,235,637  $888  $106
Genesee Charter Township  21,581  6,053,237  $6,932,093  $321  $232
Gibraltar  4,656  3,146,715  $9,782,937  $2,101  $259
Gladstone  4,973  2,308,191  $9,457,601  $1,902  $413
Grand Blanc  8,276  3,735,934  $5,100,103  $616  $93
Grand Blanc Charter Township  37,508  12,982,396  $16,098,638  $429  $74
Grand Haven  10,412  11,300,814  $6,361,420  $611  $141
Grand Haven Charter Township  15,178  3,751,938  $191,727  $13  $1
Grand Ledge  7,786  2,662,023  $1,876,927  $241  $39
Grand Rapids  188,040  102,210,726  $325,040,512  $1,729  $270
Grandville  15,378  8,757,809  $6,712,893  $437  $71
Green Oak Township  17,476  4,915,482  $2,958,076  $169  not available
Grosse Ile Township  10,371  7,156,243  $27,616,536  $2,663  $160
Grosse Pointe  5,421  5,568,968  $4,623,284  $853  $83
Grosse Pointe Farms  9,479  12,491,919  $28,145,284  $2,969  $213
Grosse Pointe Park  11,555  10,152,770  $21,261,895  $1,840  $130
Grosse Pointe Woods  16,135  12,445,371  $64,533,150  $4,000  $440
Groveland Township  5,476  2,561,100  $613,347  $112  $21
Hampton Charter Township  9,652  4,221,866  $7,153,181  $741  $55
Hamtramck  22,423  17,308,211  $86,259,760  $3,847  $1,105
Harbor Beach  1,703  2,044,156  $1,146,832  $673  $74
Harbor Springs  1,194  2,069,832  $2,832,300  $2,372  $71
Harper Woods  14,236  9,459,911  $69,233,594  $4,863  $675
Harrison Charter Township  24,587  9,133,080  $49,809,176  $2,026  $163
Hart  2,126  1,270,636  $3,374,984  $1,587  $347
Hastings  7,350  4,984,282  $19,217,332  $2,615  $424
Hazel Park  16,422  14,387,222  $81,160,555  $4,942  $1,225
Highland Charter Township  19,202  5,657,574  $1,700,747  $89  $11
Highland Park  11,776  12,087,629  $39,562,184  $3,360  $1,109
Holland  33,051  16,200,357  $35,541,895  $1,075  $161
Holland Charter Township  35,636  10,983,627  $374,568  $11  $87
Holly Village  6,086  2,819,814  $4,200,251  $690  $119
Houghton  7,708  3,266,857  $824,068  $107  $44
Howell  9,489  6,838,779  $15,510,767  $1,635  $184
Huntington Woods  6,238  6,404,088  $18,251,925  $2,926  $232
Huron Charter Township  15,879  7,727,116  $18,876,861  $1,189  $173
Imlay City  3,597  2,365,255  $1,706,995  $475  $96
Independence Charter Township  34,681  17,145,813  $7,090,420  $204  $28
Inkster  25,369  16,513,401  $34,127,943  $1,345  $566
Iron Mountain  7,624  5,883,435  $34,453,497  $4,519  $506
Jackson  33,534  21,286,101  $77,684,772  $2,317  $482
Kalamazoo  74,262  54,823,297  $134,052,705  $1,805  $695
Kalamazoo Charter Township  21,918  7,018,007  $6,432,195  $293  $84
Kalkaska Village  2,020  823,417  $7,795,847  $3,859  $532
Keego Harbor  2,970  2,369,894  $1,843,182  $621  $84
Kentwood  48,707  17,567,321  $3,128,906  $64  $35
Lake Orion Village  2,973  2,204,247  $3,431,206  $1,154  $124
Laketon Township  7,563  1,411,198  $633,000  $84  $19
Lansing  114,297  107,585,783  $502,405,000  $4,396  $866
Lansing Charter Township  8,126  3,917,893  $7,352,882  $905  $150
Lapeer  8,841  7,298,803  $24,599,041  $2,782  $514
Lathrup Village  4,075  3,760,061  $7,941,698  $1,949  $249
Leoni Township  13,807  1,793,197  $1,358,117  $98  $21
Lexington Village  1,178  801,062  $1,991,328  $1,690  $200
Lincoln Park  38,144  23,696,056  $167,268,790  $4,385  $808
Linden  3,991  2,057,331  $1,128,873  $283  $62
Livonia  96,942  46,845,189  $84,033,000  $867  $76
Long Lake Township  8,662  1,663,886  $179,764  $21  $2
Lowell  3,783  2,369,131  $4,577,217  $1,210  $183
Ludington  8,076  5,436,619  $6,476,753  $802  $150
Luna Pier  1,436  1,336,741  $4,562,755  $3,177  $117
Lyon Charter Township  14,545  4,118,102  $936,957  $64  $10
Mackinaw City Village  806  1,649,030  $285,869  $355  $23
Macomb Township  79,580  14,069,695  $6,412,735  $81  $24
Madison Heights  29,694  25,286,081  $64,653,736  $2,177  $258
Manchester Village  2,091  1,215,791  $92,709  $44  $11
Manistique  3,097  2,169,794  $8,217,144  $2,653  $518
Marine City  4,248  3,092,248  $6,930,000  $1,631  $203
Marquette  21,355  17,137,992  $32,712,852  $1,532  $254
Marshall  7,088  4,975,433  $18,217,282  $2,570  $248
Marysville  9,959  7,832,727  $20,896,803  $2,098  $281
Mason  8,252  5,022,168  $5,252,675  $637  $87
Melvindale  10,715  9,490,666  $79,462,584  $7,416  $1,149
Meridian Charter Township  39,688  17,346,633  $23,265,682  $586  $73
Middleville Village  3,319  1,005,159  $452,597  $136  $40
Midland  41,863  36,423,282  $114,392,159  $2,733  $272
Milan  5,836  4,170,601  $9,079,861  $1,556  $321
Milford Charter Township  9,561  6,567,787  $1,071,192  $112  $9
Milford Village  6,175  5,438,606  $4,685,655  $759  $99
Monroe  20,733  15,761,467  $36,133,137  $1,743  $337
Montague  2,361  1,555,587  $2,463,000  $1,043  $148
Montrose  1,657  795,040  $1,884,877  $1,138  $354
Morton Township  3,854  891,868  $263,140  $68  $9
Mount Clemens  16,314  8,877,989  $47,276,893  $2,898  $4,608
Mount Morris  3,086  1,556,460  $5,089,084  $1,649  $52
Mount Morris Township  21,501  6,093,730  $29,462,448  $1,370  $365
Mount Pleasant  26,016  11,566,955  $8,217,815  $316  $186
Mundy Township  15,082  5,363,857  $3,386,854  $225  $40
Muskegon  38,401  24,027,329  $10,345,000  $269  $159
Muskegon Charter Township  17,840  4,798,967  $8,535,000  $478  $133
Muskegon Heights  10,856  6,056,719  $18,566,120  $1,710  $581
New Baltimore  12,084  5,649,936  $9,883,508  $818  $179
Newberry Village  1,519  1,075,207  $3,131,807  $2,062  $761
Niles  11,600  5,682,970  $5,939,986  $512  $169
North Muskegon  3,786  2,152,995  $3,855,000  $1,018  $144
Northville  5,970  6,025,013  $23,376,023  $3,916  $362
Northville Township  28,497  16,128,750  $7,098,236  $249  $41
Norton Shores  23,994  8,493,671  $51,381,043  $2,141  $214
Norway  2,845  2,249,578  $8,507,667  $2,990  $585
Novi  55,224  24,475,135  $32,031,753  $580  $62
Oak Park  29,319  18,877,484  $125,209,460  $4,271  $690
Orchard Lake Village  2,375  2,166,584  $1,737,144  $731  $34
Oshtemo Charter Township  21,705  5,426,883  $738,887  $34  $5
Otsego  3,956  2,030,884  $157,689  $40  $-
Owosso  15,194  6,281,281  $890,279  $59  $77
Oxford Charter Township  17,090  3,930,193  $1,516,806  $89  $16
Parchment  1,804  2,405,930  $807,991  $448  $68
Park Township  17,802  3,143,866  $163,644  $9  $2
Pentwater Village  857  1,106,689  $1,056,744  $1,233  $72
Perry  2,188  1,114,225  $1,493,101  $682  $219
Petoskey  5,670  5,850,653  $3,161,613  $558  $64
Pittsfield Charter Township  34,663  14,550,209  $10,499,548  $303  $40
Plainfield Charter Township  30,952  7,882,013  $3,275,688  $106  $15
Plainwell  3,804  2,080,503  $1,100,312  $289  $49
Pleasant Ridge  2,526  2,367,114  $5,559,291  $2,201  $181
Plymouth  9,132  7,025,784  $21,570,784  $2,362  $203
Plymouth Charter Township  27,524  12,599,102  $23,739,797  $863  $60
Pontiac  59,515  35,632,707  $181,514,825  $3,050  $807
Port Huron  30,184  21,274,398  $85,479,000  $2,832  $461
Port Huron Charter Township  10,654  2,588,490  $928,664  $87  $24
Portage  46,292  22,725,014  $(1,050,900)  $(23)  $2
Portland  3,883  2,133,904  $8,696,032  $2,240  $440
Raisinville Township  5,816  756,068  $200,334  $34  $6
Redford Charter Township  48,362  26,905,615  $150,273,416  $3,107  $515
Richfield Township  8,730  2,026,993  $1,960,517  $225  $27
Richland Township  4,144  1,077,194  $2,284,406  $551  $78
River Rouge  7,903  10,360,484  $88,923,694  $11,252  $1,183
Riverview  12,486  7,928,388  $42,534,763  $3,407  $594
Rochester  12,711  9,857,756  $5,185,413  $408  $53
Rochester Hills  70,995  24,947,927  $1,436,359  $20  $2
Rockwood  3,289  2,397,584  $4,440,899  $1,350  $297
Rogers City  2,827  1,794,456  $4,297,132  $1,520  $233
Romeo Village  3,596  2,901,989  $7,140,380  $1,986  $184
Romulus  23,989  17,429,793  $67,582,532  $2,817  $218
Roosevelt Park  3,831  2,232,066  $1,901,000  $496  $95
Rose Township  6,250  1,261,950  $35,888  $6  not available
Roseville  47,299  36,016,156  $110,169,799  $2,329  $393
Royal Oak  57,236  31,815,268  $158,465,000  $2,769  $419
Saginaw  51,508  33,318,277  $311,646,267  $6,050  $2,346
Saginaw Charter Township  40,840  12,344,364  $10,893,313  $267  $39
Saline  8,810  7,478,253  $12,834,450  $1,457  $160
Sandusky  2,679  1,841,253  $2,109,795  $788  $136
Scio Township  16,470  4,004,616  $1,220,224  $74  $8
Shelby Charter Township  73,804  45,093,402  $96,325,039  $1,305  $184
South Haven  4,403  5,590,959  $218,166  $50  $28
South Lyon  11,327  4,903,081  $3,452,502  $305  $69
Southfield  71,739  56,989,174  $206,168,452  $2,874  $263
Southfield Township  19  640,368  $37,316  $1,964  $1
Southgate  30,047  19,348,588  $80,418,790  $2,676  $436
Sparta Village  4,140  1,568,389  $1,833,924  $443  $68
Spring Lake Township  11,977  2,053,376  $803,663  $67  $4
Spring Lake Village  2,323  1,831,225  $1,082,064  $466  $56
Springfield  5,260  2,136,487  $3,185,886  $606  $200
Springfield Charter Township  13,940  4,084,561  $-  $-  $-
St. Charles Village  2,054  859,176  $1,948,246  $949  $236
St. Clair  5,485  4,038,941  $9,839,972  $1,794  $197
St. Clair Shores  59,715  38,755,777  $144,047,857  $2,412  $380
St. Ignace  2,452  1,784,677  $4,831,272  $1,970  $276
Sterling Heights  129,699  85,942,718  $192,542,086  $1,485  $207
Sturgis  10,994  7,126,652  $17,088,388  $1,554  $533
Summit Township  22,508  3,257,520  $6,018,927  $267  $52
Swartz Creek  5,758  1,769,508  $1,963,846  $341  $2
Sylvan Lake  1,720  1,388,758  $1,787,317  $1,039  $78
Taylor  63,131  51,147,197  $276,925,086  $4,387  $680
Tecumseh  8,521  5,022,791  $3,483,039  $409  $101
Thetford Township  7,049  1,211,564  $1,908,409  $271  $96
Three Rivers  7,811  4,014,151  $3,131,493  $401  $93
Tittabawassee Township  9,726  1,868,728  $(7,045)  $(1)  $8
Traverse City  14,674  12,843,413  $33,167,749  $2,260  $219
Trenton  18,853  18,528,399  $62,761,534  $3,329  $353
Troy  80,980  50,830,129  $42,639,000  $527  $68
Union City Village  1,599  435,923  $1,291,327  $808  $284
Utica  4,757  5,940,701  $5,993,608  $1,260  $164
Van Buren Charter Township  28,821  12,646,838  $18,430,381  $639  $116
Vassar  2,697  1,568,949  $1,777,929  $659  $168
Vienna Charter Township  13,255  2,961,875  $1,640,729  $124  $32
Village of Grosse Pointe Shores  3,008  5,487,046  $9,521,689  $3,165  $192
Wakefield  1,851  1,078,934  $1,688,831  $912  $260
Walker  23,537  12,687,287  $12,628,108  $537  $64
Walled Lake  6,999  5,192,533  $9,943,840  $1,421  $170
Warren  134,056  87,767,342  $414,548,667  $3,092  $362
Washington Township  23,296  6,373,209  $(135,023)  $(6)  $0
Waterford Charter Township  71,707  34,231,583  $186,695,861  $2,604  $323
Wayne  17,593  17,410,951  $57,574,033  $3,273  $538
West Bloomfield Charter Township  64,690  34,017,858  $62,045,747  $959  $129
West Branch  2,139  1,440,444  $917,376  $429  $100
Westland  84,094  50,840,181  $228,793,659  $2,721  $425
White Lake Charter Township  30,019  11,118,361  $13,178,540  $439  $74
Whitehall  2,706  1,991,070  $1,226,375  $453  $88
Williamston  3,854  2,681,096  $2,758,212  $716  $68
Wixom  13,498  8,303,744  $11,393,235  $844  $102
Wolverine Lake Village  4,312  2,278,617  $1,439,796  $334  $27
Woodhaven  12,875  12,368,184  $31,021,119  $2,409  $262
Wyandotte  25,883  22,733,669  $90,126,856  $3,482  $740
Wyoming  72,125  24,770,277  $58,535,137  $812  $211
Ypsilanti  19,435  13,161,672  $13,580,372  $699  $304
Ypsilanti Charter Township  53,362  12,513,893  $20,171,705  $378  $87
Zeeland  5,504  5,826,488  $3,178,735  $578  $99

Source: “Funding the Legacy: The Cost of Municipal Workers’ Retirement Benefits to Michigan Communities,” (March 2013), by the Michigan State University Extension. Principal author Eric Scorsone provided spreadsheets and data used to create this searchable database.

17 comments from Bridge readers.Add mine!

  1. Susan

    Very enlightening. Thank you!

  2. Tom

    Is the entire database available in MS Excel format? Thank you!

  3. Margaret Leary

    This is very informative, thank you. Could you please clarify what “public employees” are included? I assume it includes employees of the city–for me, that would be Ann Arbor. Does it also include Ann Arbor District Public Schools? Ann Arbor District Library? And what about the larger units–Washtenaw County?

  4. John S.

    Very interesting! It’s a fair guess that most of these legacy costs are for public safety workers. Public safety is the third rail of local politics. Touch it and you are dead. Few if any elected public officials are willing to ask the question, “How much public safety is enough?” Thus, at the local level, there’s not a close relationship, for example, between number of police officers per capita and the crime rate. Although a public safety career can be difficult and dangerous, does it make sense any longer for a fire fighter or police officer to retire at age 45 with 50% final average salary. Most will transition to another career. A new model would give fire fighters and police officers a few years of transitional assistance (say full pay for two or three years) to prepare for another career. They can pick up their retirement benefits at age 62 or 65.

  5. Roger Rayle

    @Tom — you can get the whole dataset by searching for null (nothing in the search box), then highlighting the whole table / copying (ctrl-C on a PC) / pasting Values Only (text or unicode) into Excel.

    Bridge should provide a direct link to the source, e.g. I think this is it: http://msue.anr.msu.edu/uploads/236/33228/MI_Municipal_Worker_OPEB_Costs_2013-03-14-13_update.pdf
    That PDF doesn’t have the raw data, but its page 10 shows a link to where the study got its data, however clicking on the PDF’s link doesn’t work… use this instead: http://www.michigan.gov/treasury/0,1607,7-121-1751_31038—,00.html
    (By the way, page 10 is an interesting read by itself.)

    But don’t expect to see easy-to-use data tables on that treasury link … the raw data seems to be embedded in PDFs, one of each local government. It would be nice if the MSU study provided open access to the raw data it aggregated… or better yet… if the State chose to store the data in a more usable, open data format as it was submitted.

    @Bridge — I’m a member of the A2CivicTech meetup (http://www.meetup.com/a2civictech/) and would like to learn about the code running the searchable database… maybe even have a presentation about it.

  6. Nick F

    This retirement system has been abused far to long! Public servant should not be allowed to retire before a definite period of employment.
    If they retire before this time limit, they only receive a prorated portion of their retirement package. The tax payers have carried this burden
    far to long!

  7. Robert T

    Retired police and fire employees earn out a million dollars or more in retirement benefits. I say everyone gets a 401k with controlled funding. The taxpayer will soon see the tsunami hit and it won’t be pretty. Detroit is only a lapping of waves up on the shore.

  8. Charles Richards

    This is a very good database of valuable information, and I have added it to my database folder. The Center for Michigan is performing a valuable public service by providing this kind of information. Prudent citizens can do a much better job of discharging their civic responsibilities when they possess adequate information.

    Perhaps I am just not seeing things clearly after an inadequate nights’ sleep, but I am puzzled by the last column that lists the additional annual taxes the owner of a $100,000 home would have to pay to “fully cover his share of legacy costs.” Detroit’s per capita legacy costs are $7,827, and the extra taxes for a $100,000 home (with, I suppose, a taxable value of $50,000) are listed as $2,512, which means his share would be paid off in 3.12 years. The figures for Wayne are $3,273, $538, and 6.08 years. The figures for Canton are $1,073, $110, and 9.75 years. The figures for Westland are $2,721, $425 and 6.40 years. The figures for Garden City are $4,327, $598, and 8.20 years. The figures for Inkster are $1,345, $566, and 2.38 years. And last, the figures for Livonia are $867, $76, and 11.41 years. Just how were those figures for annual increased property taxes derived? What is it I’m not seeing? And why base the required payments on property taxes for a house? That doesn’t account for commercial and industrial property taxes. And there are a lot fewer households than residents. Why not just list the required annual payments over ten years per taxpayer?

  9. Charles Richards

    As I noted above, this database provides some valuable information. But I would like to see another database with information that would better illuminate the health and vitality of a community. It should provide the per capita taxable property value, the disposable personal income per capita and revenues and expenses per capita. The column in today’s database that lists “Local Government General Fund Revenue” is helpful, but not particularly significant as a stand alone figure. We need to know the ratio of that number to disposable personal income and the value of taxable property. It would also be helpful to know the ratios of funded and unfunded legacy costs to the amount of wealth in the form of taxable property, and to income in the form of disposable personal income. It would be particularly helpful if the citizens of a community could compare their ratios to those of comparable communities.

  10. Michael M

    If a local unit of government doesn’t appear on the list does that mean it has no legacy costs or they didn’t submit data?

    1. Nancy Derringer

      Note the accompanying copy: If your community is not listed, your community does not have or has not reported significant legacy costs.

  11. Andy

    Great article, but how does borrowing to pay unfufunded obligations help the situation as by doing so the obligation doesn’t change just who the debt is owed to and by doing so you are now adding an interest burden onto the obligation. The reality is that government should not be incurring retirement or benefit costs that can be paid or funded on a current basis. Whether it is at the Federal, State or local level we need to move to an affordable cost structure not one that is a burden and pushed onto future generations.

  12. Dawn

    This is exactly what the auto industry was going through when the gov took over in 2009 during the bankruptcy. No one person’s future is secured by political involvement. This is a tough lesson that should be learned for future people looking to get city, state and/or federal employment. It seems as though people can work their way through life, but not into retirement when the funds are in the hands of the feds. Pushing debt back on future generations is never the answer. These burdens need to be settled with lump sum buyouts, and benefits (after retirement) need to be cut. Even the government should have learn a lesson from the atrocities that happened in the auto industry during the 2009 bankruptcies. Instead, they have chosen to ignore the inevitable and continue to place the burden of debt on those who have already lost most of their retirement and benefits in this horrible economy. Seems these gov entities learn nothing while pulling the wool over the eyes of their constituents. We the people cannot afford to comfort the retirement income of local, state and fed retirees. The system was set up to do so, but has failed miserably to the point where there are more people in retirement then there are people working to support them.

  13. Todd

    In the first town, Albion, the total unfunded legacy costs are in parenthesis, unlike the next fourteen cmmunities. Does this mean that the legacy costs in Albion are in fact funded, and to that amount?

  14. Don

    Did anyone check to see if the communities had set aside funds for the legacy costs?

  15. Buddy

    Inkster , most think will be next in line but L@@K at Garden City their legacy is worse then Inkster

    doesn’t L@@K like no one has been efficient about converting Legacy cost to something like a 401 K and let

    the Owees invest their own monies. The Owees probably would be better off ,as we see how the Detroit legacy is going to be determined

  16. Marie Twite

    I am a fire administrator for our township fire department and a supervisor. Our community is not a legacy community. Our workers when they retire, including myself, do not receive any health insurance coverage or receive 50% of their working wages. They only get the pension money that they earned during their years of work. While I have seen some communities that do have this as a problem, not all communities operate like that. I have worked to earn a living since I was 16 and I am still working and sweating out the cuts to the pension and health care for retirees or seniors. I believe the flaws in the school funding issue is not only because of the unionized issue, it is because we continue to divert taxes from the system to charter schools, divert taxes from the businesses to help fund their own growth, while continuing to cut wages to hard working folks. I do not understand why our tax dollars continually benefit the growing and larger communities and the smaller communities either receive nothing or a small amount of funding. It seems to me like the communities with the most receive more.

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