Livingston County Commissioners put on a clinic this week on how NOT to respond to their constituents suffering through a pandemic.
They gave themselves a raise.
And then they bragged about how much money they have in the bank.
That they won’t spend.
Because they like having a AAA bond rating.
Meanwhile, too many of their constituents face a bleak Christmas, wondering how to put food on the table, keep the heat on, or pay their rent.
Their bank account balances have disappeared.
Their credit ratings are falling.
But they are so relieved that the county will maintain its AAA bond rating.
The facts are these:
• Commissioners voted 5-4 to give themselves about a 5 percent raise, scaled down from an original 8.4 percent pay hike.
• During the heated discussion, Commissioner Jay Drick said the county could afford the raise because it has $27 million in fund balances. That is approximately 50 percent of their budget, a level the county wants to maintain so it can keep its AAA bond rating.
Commissioners love having that AAA bond rating because it gives them a bragging point over other counties.
Somebody has their priorities messed up.
Earlier this year, Commissioner Wes Nakagiri bragged that Livingston County was the best place in southeast Michigan to live during the pandemic.
But when it comes to responding to the pandemic, it’s Oakland County that has bragging rights.
Here’s what Oakland County did during the pandemic:
• Gave up to $2,500 to any veteran impacted by COVID-19.
• Set up a $10 million grant fund for restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19, using $3 million from their general fund and $7 million in federal CARES Act funding.
• Provided senior citizens a free one-year subscription to Shipt, which provides unlimited, same-day delivery from a variety of local stores.
• Offered a free kit to businesses on how to reopen safely.
You can find out more at the Oakland County website, https://www.oakgov.com/covid/grants/Pages/default.aspx
Somehow, Oakland County figured out a way to do all that without worrying about losing its own AAA bond rating.
Meanwhile, Livingston County commissioners gave themselves a raise.