Dear City Managers of Michigan: I Offer a Solution

March 17, 2011

Industry News

As I mentioned in my recent post, Michigan’s Governor (aka Tricky Rick Snyder) recently signed a bill that could potentially devastate the foundation of 50 municipal entities in the state of Michigan. My heart broke as I stood outside Michigan’s State Capitol with thousands of protesters as Tricky Rick signed the bill into law. This bill (referred by some as the  provides the Governor with the sole power to deem a city as “in a financial emergency” and then appoint an emergency financial manager (EFM) to run the city’s government. This EFM, needing approval by only the Gov himself, then has the ability to end existing contracts and fire any elected official in that municipal unit that s/he sees fit.

This has city managers in a panic. I know this because I work with several of them. There is widespread panic for them to cut costs quickly and effectively. But I have a solution.

Dearest Elected City Managers,

I know you’ve all been suffering through years of budget cuts, funding hacks, and service cut backs. I know you’re all racing to figure out what departments you can afford to cut and slice without harming your community. I know the pickings are slim. And I want to help.

Energy efficiency upgrades could serve as a significant piece of your financial puzzle. I know, I know… you’re thinking upgrade = upfront investment of money you can’t afford to spend. And you’re right… kind of.

From Microsoft Images

First, there is a lot of grant money available these days that can help you reduce or even eliminate the need for budget allocations to equipment upgrades. Many cities took advantage of ARRA grants last year to upgrade office lighting, street lighting, waste water process motors, pumps, and drives, heating and cooling equipment and more. What’s more is that your local utility company is GIVING AWAY MONEY to help offset your investment as well. That’s right. They will give you money to help you … save money. You cannot beat that.

Secondly, you cannot afford NOT to upgrade. As utility costs keep rising, you know your city/town/village is not immuned. Your financial pie is only so big so you have GOT to find ways to reduce your energy consumption or you

From Microsoft Images

usable pie slice for services to your citizens will only get smaller. Furthermore, if you invest a little bit of money now, you can save HUGE very quickly. Most energy efficiency upgrades pay themselves off in 1-3 years. Add those utility incentives I mentioned into the works and you’ll be sitting really pretty with simple pay back periods in the “no brainer” range.

So, do yourself a favor. Have an intern do some research on available grants. Contact your local utility company and find out what kind of cash you can get. Call a couple electrical and mechanical contractors out to give you quotes and estimates. Get the ball rolling. You can’t afford not to. Rick Snyder made sure of that.


Madam Energy

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