Observer 7/19/2013 : Page 1

Douglas Officials Say County Health Department Needs To “Clamp Down” On Local Restaurants Page 3 Could McDonald’s Be Making Another Run At Opening Restaurant In The Saugatuck Area? Page 3 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING July 19, 2013 Vol. 11 No. 29 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Independent Report Finds Consolidation Of Saugatuck & Douglas Would Save More Than $500,000; Property Owners’ Taxes Could Drop More Than $550 Per Year Efrain Sandoval Correspondent By eliminating a duplicate municipal workforce (city manager, treasurer, and clerk -and public works), more than $500,000 in sav-ings can result if consolidation of the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas does occur, resulting in a savings of about $270 per person in the two commu-nities, states the Wednesday release of the long anticipated study by the independent, non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC). “The savings results from elimination of one of two city man-agers, city treasurers, city clerks, and other officers. It results from the achievement of economies of scale in the operations of these offices. And it results from consolidating the public works departments to streamline their operations,” says the report. "The eyes of Michigan are on Douglas and Saugatuck as the res-idents of these two neighboring com-munities weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the proposed merger," said Eric Lupher, CRC's Director of Local Affairs. "CRC strongly feels that better information leads to better decision making. It is our hope that the residents of these communities will use the information in this report to consider the vote before them." The complete report is available on the Citizens Research Council of Michigan website at www.crcmich.org. The two cities already share a lot, including library, water and sewerage, the harbor authority as well as the most costly services of fire pro-tection, police protection and transit services, the researchers found. This “artificially” creates the conditions of what one community would look like, states the report. There is a drawback, how-ever, to that (current) collaboration as it currently exists, according to the these services, but it could strengthen the lines of accountability,” indicates the report. The group opposed to the merger, Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities, and Douglas City representatives were unavailable for comment on Wednesday afternoon. Meanwhile, Saugatuck city the study before making any com-ment. However, they offered the following statement: “Perhaps the most impor-tant objective for this study was to determine a reliable consolidation cost-savings projection. “The CRC identified well over $500,000 in annual savings— even higher than our projections—or more than 17% of the two cities’ cur-rent spending. And they went on to estimate property-tax savings at over $500 per owner in both current cities. “While we are still review-ing the full 40-page report, these topline key findings are very gratify-ing, and represent a real service to the voters.” Excerpts From CRC Consolidation Report Report 384 ( July 2013 ) 54 pages After performing an analysis commissioned by the City of Saugatuck and the City of the Village of Douglas, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released its findings in a new report. The analysis describes to the elected officials and citizens of these communities how the merger, which is to be voted on at the November 2013 election, would affect the operations and financing of local government. CRC estimates that more than $500,000 in savings can result if consolidation does occur. This is equal to 17.1 per-CRC. “The result of this collabo-ration resembles what residents, visi-tors and businesses could expect to get from a single governmental entity, but the tradeoff is diminished accountability. A merger of Saugatuck and Douglas would not change delivery of cent of the $3.3 million total expenditures for the two cities (not including the grant-funded $10 million capital expenditure Saugatuck made in 2012). The operating millage required to fund the reduced spending would decline from 13 mills in Saugatuck and 13.0818 mills in Douglas to 10.7 mills across the merged city. For a property valued at $500,000 ($250,000 in taxable value) in Douglas, the lower tax rate would result in about $576 a year in savings on city taxes. For an equally valued property in Saugatuck, the lower tax rate would result in about $556 a year in savings. officials said they had yet to review the report. Members of the Consolidated Government Committee (CGC), who in 2012 ini-tiated the proposal to merge by sub-mitting petitions to the Michigan State Boundary Commission, said they were in the process of reviewing Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area In Running As 8th World Wonder The Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced Wednesday that Virtual Tourist, a division of Trip Advisor Media Group contacted the visitors bureau with the surprising news that the CVB's nom-ination of the "Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area" for consideration in the global contest to determine the 8th Wonder of The World, is currently in the top 50 contenders out of 350 world wide nominations! According to Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Visitors Bureau, "I couldn't believe my eyes when I received the e-mail notice from Virtual Tourist. “We submitted the nomina-tion to make sure that Michigan and Saugatuck were at least represented in this global PR event. We never antici-pated being in the top 50 contenders half way through the competition." The contest will remain open until September 30th and the competition is stiff among the final 350 entries which include icons such as: Mt. Rushmore; Niagra Falls; Stonehenge; Cappadocia, Turkey; Yellowstone Park; Bora Bora; Ephesus, Turkey; The Matterhorn; Galapagos; Golden Gate Bridge; Big Sur and many other high profile nominees scattered throughout the four corners of the globe. Fairchild remembers the fierce voting campaign waged to push Saugatuck-Douglas into the top final-ists in Budget Travel's "Coolest Small Town In America" vote-off. "It looks to me like It's time to get busy voting again.... wouldn't it be cool to place in the top ten!" she said. Winners will be announced on National Television. According to contest rules, people can continue to vote for the "Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area" once a day until September 30th at this link: http://www.virtualtourist.com/8thwo nder

Independent Report Finds Consolidation Of Saugatuck & Douglas Would Save More Than $500,000; Property Owners’ Taxes Could Drop More Than $550 Per Year

Efrain Sandoval <br /> Correspondent <br /> <br /> By eliminating a duplicate municipal workforce (city manager, treasurer, and clerk - and public works), more than $500,000 in savings can result if consolidation of the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas does occur, resulting in a savings of about $270 per person in the two communities, states the Wednesday release of the long anticipated study by the independent, non-partisan Citizens Research Council of Michigan (CRC). <br /> <br /> “The savings results from elimination of one of two city managers, city treasurers, city clerks, and other officers. It results from the achievement of economies of scale in the operations of these offices. And it results from consolidating the public works departments to streamline their operations,” says the report. <br /> <br /> "The eyes of Michigan are on Douglas and Saugatuck as the residents of these two neighboring communities weigh the benefits and drawbacks of the proposed merger," said Eric Lupher, CRC's Director of Local Affairs.<br /> <br /> "CRC strongly feels that better information leads to better decision making. It is our hope that the residents of these communities will use the information in this report to consider the vote before them." <br /> <br /> The complete report is available on the Citizens Research Council of Michigan website at www.crcmich.org. <br /> <br /> The two cities already share a lot, including library, water and Sewerage, the harbor authority as well as the most costly services of fire protection, police protection and transit services, the researchers found. <br /> <br /> This “artificially” creates the conditions of what one community would look like, states the report. <br /> <br /> There is a drawback, however, to that (current) collaboration as it currently exists, according to the CRC. <br /> <br /> “The result of this collaboration resembles what residents, visitors and businesses could expect to get from a single governmental entity, but the tradeoff is diminished accountability. <br /> <br /> A merger of Saugatuck and Douglas would not change delivery of These services, but it could strengthen the lines of accountability,” indicates the report. <br /> <br /> The group opposed to the merger, Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities, and Douglas City representatives were unavailable for comment on Wednesday afternoon. <br /> <br /> Meanwhile, Saugatuck city Officials said they had yet to review the report. <br /> <br /> Members of the Consolidated Government Committee (CGC), who in 2012 initiated the proposal to merge by submitting petitions to the Michigan State Boundary Commission, said they were in the process of reviewing The study before making any comment. <br /> <br /> However, they offered the following statement: <br /> <br /> “Perhaps the most important objective for this study was to determine a reliable consolidation cost-savings projection. <br /> <br /> “The CRC identified well over $500,000 in annual savings Even higher than our projections—or more than 17% of the two cities’ current spending. And they went on to estimate property-tax savings at over $500 per owner in both current cities. <br /> <br /> “While we are still reviewing the full 40-page report, these topline key findings are very gratifying, and represent a real service to the voters.”<br /> <br />

Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area In Running As 8th World Wonder

The Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) announced Wednesday that Virtual Tourist, a division of Trip Advisor Media Group contacted the visitors bureau with the surprising news that the CVB's nomination of the "Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area" for consideration in the global contest to determine the 8th Wonder of The World, is currently in the top 50 contenders out of 350 world wide nominations! <br /> <br /> According to Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Visitors Bureau, "I couldn't believe my eyes when I received the e-mail notice from Virtual Tourist. <br /> <br /> “We submitted the nomination to make sure that Michigan and Saugatuck were at least represented in this global PR event. We never anticipated being in the top 50 contenders half way through the competition." <br /> <br /> The contest will remain open until September 30th and the competition is stiff among the final 350 entries which include icons such as: <br /> <br /> Mt. Rushmore; Niagra Falls; Stonehenge; Cappadocia, Turkey; Yellowstone Park; Bora Bora; Ephesus, Turkey; The Matterhorn; Galapagos; Golden Gate Bridge; Big Sur and many other high profile nominees scattered throughout the four corners of the globe. <br /> <br /> Fairchild remembers the fierce voting campaign waged to push Saugatuck-Douglas into the top finalists in Budget Travel's "Coolest Small Town In America" vote-off. <br /> <br /> "It looks to me like It's time to get busy voting again.... wouldn't it be cool to place in the top ten!" She said. <br /> <br /> Winners will be announced on National Television. <br /> <br /> According to contest rules, people can continue to vote for the "Saugatuck Natural Harbor Area" once a day until September 30th at this link: <br /> <br /> http://www.virtualtourist.com/8thwo nder

Excerpts From CRC Consolidation Report

Report 384 ( July 2013 ) 54 pages <br /> <br /> After performing an analysis commissioned by the City of Saugatuck and the City of the Village of Douglas, the Citizens Research Council of Michigan has released its findings in a new report. <br /> <br /> The analysis describes to the elected officials and citizens of these communities how the merger, which is to be voted on at the November 2013 election, would affect the operations and financing of local government. <br /> <br /> CRC estimates that more than $500,000 in savings can result if consolidation does occur. This is equal to 17.1 Percent of the $3.3 million total expenditures for the two cities (not including the grant-funded $10 million capital expenditure Saugatuck made in 2012). <br /> <br /> The operating millage required to fund the reduced spending would decline from 13 mills in Saugatuck and 13.0818 mills in Douglas to 10.7 mills across the merged city. <br /> <br /> For a property valued at $500,000 ($250,000 in taxable value) in Douglas, the lower tax rate would result in about $576 a year in savings on city taxes. <br /> <br /> For an equally valued property in Saugatuck, the lower tax rate would result in about $556 a year in savings.

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