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Auburn Hills City Council votes to waive administrative fee on taxes owed by city taxpayers for Pontiac School District's $7.8m default of health insurance premiums

Auburn Hills City Council votes to waive administrative fee on taxes owed by city taxpayers for Pontiac School District’s $7.8m default of health insurance premiums

Media contacts: Barbara Fornasiero, EAFocus Communications; 248.651.7536 cell: 586.817.8414; barbara@eafocus.com; Stephanie Carroll, City of Auburn Hills; 248.364.6802; scarroll@auburnhills.org

Auburn Hills, MI—June 4, 2013—The City of Auburn Hills, a dynamic community committed to innovation and growth, continued its vocal opposition to a court decision that puts taxpayers in eight cities, including Auburn Hills, on the hook for $7.8 million in unpaid health insurance premiums from 2011 owed by the Pontiac School District to the Michigan Education Special Services Association (MESSA). On Monday evening, June 3, the Auburn Hills City Council voted unanimously to waive the administrative fee the City typically collects in addition to taxes owed. 

“The Pontiac School District’s financial mess represents an unprecedented situation of mismanaged funds, with Auburn Hills taxpayers and those in seven other cities and townships - and not the District - held responsible.  The City Council could not in good conscience accept $40,000 in administrative fees that would otherwise accompany the approximately $4 million payment of this burdensome tax that must be borne by Auburn Hills’ commercial and residential property owners,” said Jim McDonald, Auburn Hills Mayor and a member of the City Council.

Auburn Hills is the largest taxpayer to Pontiac Schools because of the City’s housing SEVs; Pontiac is number two with $2 million. Pontiac’s financial crisis has long overlapped into the schools, but the current situation is untenable and a realistic long-term look needs to be taken now before further taxpayer burdens are levied for unpaid premiums from 2012 and 2013, according to Auburn Hills City Manager, Pete Auger.

“Our goal is to see action at the state level that provides a permanent, viable option for the management of Pontiac Schools moving forward, whether that means the District remains viable or the students are assigned to other functioning districts close to their homes,” said Auger.

About Auburn Hills

Celebrating 30 years as a city in 2013, Auburn Hills is home to 21,000 residents and also serves as Michigan’s global business address, with 40 international corporations from 32 countries housed here, including Chrysler Group LLC and Borg Warner headquarters. Auburn Hills’ residents enjoy the amenities of city and suburban living with parks, a revitalized downtown district and a welcoming city complex with a library and community center. Additionally, the city has five colleges and universities, the award winning Palace of Auburn Hills entertainment complex and Great Lakes Crossing Outlets, one of the state’s largest destination shopping centers, providing a variety of cultural, social and educational opportunities to residents, workers and visitors. Learn more at www.auburnhills.org.