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Township Consolidation Update
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Angel Welke



Joined: 28 Mar 2008
Posts: 169

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:07 pm 
Post subject: Township Consolidation Update
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CHARLEVOIX COUNTY SCHEDULES TOWNSHIP CONSOLIDATION FOR BEAVER ISLAND

John Fiegen & Angel Welke

On January 10, 2018 the Charlevoix County Board of Commissioners set May 8, 2018 as the date for a vote in Peaine and St. James Townships to decide if the townships should be consolidated into one township. The county acted after receiving in November petitions signed by registered voters in both townships that met requirements of Michigan’s township consolidation law. We were the circulators of those petitions.

The proposal that the county authorized for the ballot on May 8, the date scheduled for statewide elections, will be as follows:

Shall the townships of Peaine and St. James be consolidated as the township of Beaver Island, with the following extra voted millages and expiration dates:
• Fire, 1.0 mill, 12/31/2018
• Health Center, 2.0 mills, 12/31/2018
• Transfer Station, 1.8 mills, 12/31/2019
• Roads, 1.4 mills, 12/31/2019
• Townships’ Airport, .85 mill, 12/31/2019
• Emergency Medical Services, 3 mills, 12/31/2019
• Historical Society, .1 mill, 12/31/2019
• Township Operation, 3.6 mills, 12/31/2018

The consolidation proposal must be approved by a majority of voters in each township, or it will not take effect.

If consolidation is approved, Beaver Island Township will take effect November 20, 2018, under state law. It will be a general law township, like Peaine and St. James Townships, and will have five trustees, including a supervisor, clerk, and treasurer. Election of the new township’s board will occur at the August 2018 primary and the November 2018 general elections, just as election of Peaine and St. James township boards would have occurred.

In addition, a temporary coordinating committee will be established to prepare for consolidation. It will draft resolutions for consideration by the new township board and an interim budget. The committee will contain the supervisors, clerks, and treasurers of Peaine and St. James Townships. It may also contain several township residents who are registered voters, but this remains to be determined.

Under the county’s decision, each township may decide to also use the May 8 election to allow voters to elect at least one registered voter to the coordinating committee. (An
elected or appointed township officer or employee is not eligible to be a resident member of the coordinating committee.) Under state law, St. James may allow the election of up to two residents, because it had the larger population in the 2010 U.S. Census. Under the county’s decision, each township must pass a resolution by February 13, 2018 if it wants to allow election of residents. Any resident who wants to be on the May 8 ballot must by February 7 submit to the relevant township’s clerk a qualifying petition signed by at least 15 registered voters in the same township.

Background

The Michigan township consolidation law requires that the proposal state the name of the new township and specify the “extra voted millages” for the consolidated township. This is the authorized rate, which sets the cap on the rate that a township board may levy against a property’s taxable value.

Between Peaine and St. James Townships, there are eight extra voted millages for different purposes with different authorized rates and expiration dates. In some cases, the townships levy less than the authorized amount.

The consolidation proposal contains all of the townships’ different extra voted millages, but would set authorized rates that blend together the existing Peaine and St. James authorized rates. The expiration dates for millages in the proposal would not extend beyond an existing expiration date already approved by voters.
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BMcCaw



Joined: 20 Sep 2013
Posts: 69
Location: Southeast of Disorder

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:02 pm 
Post subject: Pros an Cons
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I would like to know the pros and cons of this proposal from forum members' perspectives. If you reply please state which township you are located and your PRE (Homestead or Non-Homestead) as well.

If I understand the wording of the ballot properly, Peaine TWP residents would pay approximately 2 more mills and St. James 2 less. What are the advantages and disadvantages of consolidation?
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:06 pm 
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What a horrible idea for the good of Beaver Island. To combine the townships would not do anything to improve the Island other than put township control in the hands of fewer people. I believe townships are set up on square miles of land and not population. Obviously Beaver Island is big enough for 2 townships and it has worked for many years. What will the advantages be. Saving money? I don't think so. Full time jobs will be created because the increased workload on the Supervisor, Clerk, and Treasurer. These people will expect benefits? If the reason is population why aren't other townships combining? So if we vote for 1 township are we voting these extra mileage as listed in the post. So you are proposing unelecting officials who were already voted in for a four year term and taking that away? Can any board member rerun for there already elected positions or are they out? Elections I think are expensive who pays for that? Taxpayers? Won't there be endless hours of work involved in dissolving the 2 townships and re-creating the new one. Who does all that work? Who pays for it? Taxpayers? Let the taxpayers see a pro and con list to this proposal. Show the taxpayers the true cost of the consolidation process. Show the taxpayers where this will save them tax money or in my opinion cost them more. Show the taxpayers the true reasons of how the consolidation will benefit us all. What is it? Tax savings? Will it better the Island? How? I think people that post things like I think it is silly to have two Townships on such a small island are clueless. So let us know as taxpayers and voters the real reason that a township consolidation will better Beaver Island. I think as a lifetime resident and taxpayer the proposal makes absolutely no sense unless I can be informed as to why it does. I would hope other island residents would want a lot of answers as well before going to the poles and voting for something as unclear as this consolidation. Change is always good, before the election please inform the voters why this change is good. As I said at the beginning of me post I think it is a horrible idea. And again a pro and con list I'm sure would clear up a lot of confusion.

John mcCafferty
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:28 pm 
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Hi Brenden, I was obviously typing my post while you were typing yours. I am a taxpayer in Peaine Township. I understand as well that Peaine townships tax will go up with the consolidation.

John mcCafferty
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treehugger



Joined: 06 Nov 2010
Posts: 39
Location: BI

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:13 am 
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I am a taxpayer in St. James Township. John: This is your chance to get Peaine a seat on the Beaver Island Transportation Board and a say in how the boat is run. In ten years a new proposal will need to be made to the Transportation Board on who runs the ferry. Also Peaine Township gains a now profitable marina. I am amazed that you didn't see this. Everyone needs to look at more than just the millages. St. James seems to have a less than 2 mill increase. Not sure what Peaine has that St. James might want. Let everyone think of the future and not just themselves.
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Birch Barker
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BradG



Joined: 11 Oct 2015
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 10:46 am 
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Currently we have two township rec plans not coordinated with each other. We have a history of poor decision making because of our isolation and unwillingness to seek expert advice. We have shared tax supported entities not responsive to the tax payers and a boat company board whose rates discourage tourism and island living. I think combining the townships would allow us to hire a professional manager with the money saved from eliminating duplication of the boards ( 10 board members, + deputies, + 2 attorneys) and resolve these problems. A full time manager could apply for grants, actively market the island, work more closely with state agencies, give the island the full time attention that it deserves and be more responsive to the residents and tax payers. Hey, it's only our future at stake. We can continue with what isn't working and become a ghost town or try to do something better. It's frustrating to see our beautiful island not utilize the huge potential we have here. A public meeting to debate the pros and cons would be a great place to start. Our future is already in the hands of a few elected by friends and family. We all need to have a say.

Brad G
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skasbaum



Joined: 11 Jul 2017
Posts: 10

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:00 am 
Post subject: Would things really change?
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Brad I agree with some of what you are saying, especially duplication, however, what prevents this consolidation into one not being run by the same nepotistic forces that control the two now? How would this give voice to the tax paying, non homestead property owners? I can see the advantages perhaps but also the potential for even stronger abuse.
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BradG



Joined: 11 Oct 2015
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:23 pm 
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Yes, I agree about the possibilties. I think the benefits outweigh the detriments especially with professional management though. It will require all of us participating as voters to keep it from devolving into what we have now. Our future is at stake and we need a change from the status quo.

Brad G
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 412
Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:24 pm 
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I am generally shy in expressing my beliefs and opinion but I'm going out on a limb here. One single township is a no brainer for those knowing Island history or wanting to move forward with positive change for the future of BI. A list of pros and cons for a single township will make this point exceeding obvious. Has there been abuse in the past by both townships, hell yes. Could there be abuse in the future with one township, hell yes. It is up to the voters to elect or appoint township officials and then hold those public servants accountable for their actions. If there is abuse, it is because apathetic voters have allowed it to happen. A voter's responsibility does not end at the ballot box. Voters need to volunteer for committees, pay attention to what is happening and attend meeting to give continuous feedback and input. If one is not willing to do that, don't vote but with that you lose your right to complain. With one township there can be laser focus on those 5 individuals elected and thereby the appointed committees serving the public.
Pay attention, pay taxes, get involved and VOTE.
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Kirk
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 12:40 pm 
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So is the consolidation about trying to get people out of office you don't like and are not doing jobs the way you think they should. That what elections are for. Maybe instead of supporting a consolidation you should try to strengthen your own likings and campaign hard and get on the board like any other elected official does and make the changes you are wishing for. To consolidate township boards in hopes you will get out the few elected by friends and family is a chicken s__t move in my opinion. Just do it the right way. Campaign, get elected, and make the Island what you want it to be. If you can't get elected then maybe the majority of voters doesn't agree with you. To go through a consolidation of two townships and the expense involved, create a new township and the expense involved, take jobs away from elected people, in the hopes you will replace a few elected by friends and family is the wrong way to try to fix your problems. I hope the voters will see the facts and I hope we can see some of the expenses of this proposal, pros and cons, how much a professional manager from off the Island that will take some of our township officials jobs will cost us! The thousands of hours paid to someone to do all the paperwork to dissolve two townships and create one will cost us. Most of all I hope we see as voters ans taxpayers some really good reasons why this consolidation might be a good move for the Islands future.

John McCafferty
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 412
Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 5:36 pm 
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John -
All very valid points. I would just add that the purpose of elections is not to get everyone elected for the purpose of administering their individual self interest but elect individuals who will serve everyone's best interest. I don't need to be an elected official to express my vision of how we should govern for positive change and out comes. I need to trust and hold responsible those we elect to carry out with integrity their duties in fairness for all.
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Kirk
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medic5740



Joined: 01 Dec 2005
Posts: 555
Location: Beaver Island

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:39 pm 
Post subject: Were you aware?
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Were any of you aware that at one time Beaver Island had three townships, St. James, Peaine, and Galilee (Located at the South End)?

Galilee was incorporated into Peaine Township and everyone survived incorporating two townships into one.

Phyllis Moore (forgot her password)
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islandliving



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 157
Location: Beaver Island, Michigan

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:56 pm 
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Kirk, I am very much in agreement in what you said but I am still do not understand how combining the townships will help anything you describe. It is the wrong approach to fixing the problem as seen by whomever is in agreement with combining the townships. Probably not everyone is happy with the outcome of the Presidential Election. Like it our not you wait til the next election and vote again for who you think is best not try to change the government in hopes of weeding out who you don’t like and costing your taxpayers more to do so. I see no advantage to consolidating the Beaver Island townships other than it must be personal problems, different views ect. So wait to the next election, vote in the best and move on. The township consolidation needs good reasons put to the voters and I’m wondering who will be the ones to show us why we should vote for this?

John McCafferty
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sbsp



Joined: 04 Apr 2009
Posts: 412
Location: Beaver Island, Kalamazoo, Fripp Island, SC

PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 8:37 pm 
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John -
My post above was not intended to justify a one township concept. It was my personal opinion and guide for good governance for both voters and elected officials whether we have one township or go back to three.

Again the points you made in your post are very valid. I took them to be for people to keep an open mind while gathering all the facts, pros and cons weighed against each person views and values. People should not go into this process with assumptions that combining the townships is to eliminate nepotism, abuse, remove family and friends from office or that there is going to be an inordinate expense to research and implement one township. Some of these might be true and some might not be true but get the damn facts and make an educated vote of one's personal preference.

I agree that hopefully those sponsoring this critical issue will publish the pros and cons based on facts. That they will hold information sessions for the public and gather input. It is hoped that the public will educate themselves and attend any and all meetings. I am confident that those driving this process will do all of the above and more.

For me, the one deciding factor for one township is that there are too many factions and feuds on Beaver Island that separate families, friends and townships. I have learned several lessons over 45 years but the most destructive one is the general view that if you disagree with me, you must be my enemy. We need to value and respect the differences of others and that will make each of us better for it. It doesn't mean we all have to agree but it does mean we have to agree to disagree and find common ground. We need to unite as one with one voice supporting the best interest of Beaver Island and knock the petty crap off. One township won't be the end all fix but it would be a damn good start.
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wmarkey



Joined: 01 Mar 2012
Posts: 35
Location: Eagle Hill

PostPosted: Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:54 am 
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Just like many others I rarely comment here on the Forum but this subject has been banging around for many year so, sure, why not. I personally feel about 60/40 in favor of unifying the Peaine Twp and St. James Township governments into one government and the reason is what I have called for many years, the Shorthanded Disease. I am currently a member of the Peaine Township Planning Commission and for now all seats are filled, but soon there will be a vacancy and potentially by the end of the year we could be down to three. Over the years it has been difficult to keep a full membership and in the present times I don't see it getting any easier. The Township appointed body called the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) has only one member at this time and potentially soon all three seats will be vacant. The St. James Township Planning Commission, as I understand, is stuck at four of five members and since Dave Adams has passed away I think the ZBA of that township is short at least one of its three members. When it comes to the Peaine Township Board most of the General elections over the years have been uncontested. The fiercest competition has been in the Primaries. The last full slate contested General Election I can remember was 2012, but election after election many seats have been uncontested. Don't get me wrong. I believe deeply that from what I have seen of the people in office they have had the interests of the people of Peaine Township and Beaver Island at heart and have done the best they could. For those who complain of nepotism I say, where in the hell have you been. For all these years the people who have been there and served deserve our praise and thanks. The downside of unification could potentially be a favoring of town over the rural, but that can be off set by citizen participation.
The statement above in a previous that says Peaine township taxes will increase if unification goes thru I don't accept at face value. I would like to see the tax tables for each twp, separate and combined, laid out next to each other before I could accept that. When it comes to saving money by unification I think it should be a requirement to make it do exactly that no matter what. By combining lawyers in itself could potentially save lots of money. A unified voice of the Island could also enhanced our positions dealing with various State Agencies.
Is it definitely locked-in that this has to occur in the 2018 Election cycle? The normal election cycle is 2020 and I suggest keeping it the same. This would give us plenty of time to complete transition planning and spread potential costs over more budget cycles.
As I have already stated I am 60/40 in favor of unifying the township goevernments, but I won't make my final decision until I am in the voting booth. Thank you for your patience.
William A. Markey

p.s. nobody campaigns for office when the race is uncontested
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therefore they can be solved by man."
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Last edited by wmarkey on Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:03 am; edited 3 times in total
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