Livingston County Democrats are alleging local veterans are being cheated out of millage services.
Voters approved a county-wide millage for veterans’ services in August of 2016. Democratic Party Chair Judy Daubenmier says that the county has failed to live up to the promises made to veterans when they asked voters to approve the millage. She alleges commissioners have failed to oversee implementation of the millage, and have allowed the Veterans Services Committee, whose members they appoint, to stymie attempts to implement more programs and services, including more benefit counselors, mental health services and outreach.
She tells WHMI that she surprised at a county commission meeting last week when Veteran Services Committee Chairman Hansel Keene said they only had a balance of $80,000 at the end of the fiscal year. But Daubenmier says a look at their records shows they more like $1 million yet to be spent. Keene was also one of three committee members who recently went before the county commission asking that they reject a request to hire a full-time coordinator for the veterans treatment court, despite the fact the committee had previously approved the hire.
Democrats maintain the millage brought in $1,035,190 during 2017 for Livingston County Veterans’ Services, but the agency spent only $430,792 that year, just 41.5% of what taxpayers shelled out. This year, she says the millage brought in $1,018,000, but the agency plans to spend less than $501,000 this year, based on budget reports dated September 10th.
It was also recently learned that the Veterans Services Committee had fired its newest Director, Adam Smiddy, who served in the role since July 2017. No explanation has been given for that decision and neither Keene nor County Commission Chairman Don Parker have responded to requests for comment. (JK)