Observer 10/4/2013 : Page 1

Fennville’s Su Casa Restaurant Has Closed It’s Doors And Is Moving To Holland Page 3 Public Hearing On New, Smaller Presbyterian Camp Development Proposal To Be Held Oct. 17 Page 3 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING October 4, 2013 Vol. 11 No. 40 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN The Strong, Fact-Based Case To Vote “Yes” On November 5th The referendum question on the November 5th ballot really comes down to how we see the future of our community. Will we continue with a two-government system that the CRC has documented is 13% inefficient? Do we need two-of-every-thing on both sides of the bridge, or can we come together to govern our-selves more efficiently? However good the people in government positions are now, are we willing to continue with a system that costs us all $500,000 needlessly every single year? And if we don’t consolidate, where will we find $5 million every ten years without raising taxes? These are the issues your referendum vote will decide. As you consider how you will mark your ballot, we ask you to think about five key, fact-based points. • The $500,000 annual savings is real money. Five different studies have projected almost the identical number for annual savings if we consolidate. That means every year, $500,000 of taxpayer money that used to go to duplicated government expenses, can now be allocated to more important priorities. We all get to decide on those priorities, too, because they’ll be agreed on by women and men elected from our community to serve on the new government. • Much of the expense that will be incurred to create the new government will be funded by a state grant. To Our Observer Readers One of the most important decisions that Saugatuck and Douglas residents will make comes on November 5th at the voting booth: whether or not to consolidate the two local cities. The past several months have seen an onslaught of reports, letters to the editor, purported truths and, yes, outright lies by many community members lined up on either side of this issue. In an effort to bring our discerning readers the facts about consolidation directly from the two official groups battling for your votes, the Observer has offered both sides an opportunity to present their positions, facts and information directly to you at no cost. We are doing this so the two opposing camps may address the cities’ residents through direct, open communication. Then you be the judge in determining what is fact and fiction. The Observer offer is simple: only officials of the pro-con-solidation Consolidated Government Committee (CGC) and the anti-con-solidation Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities (CICC) may submit two responses each limited to 650 words. The sub-missions should provide facts, figures and each group’s positions. No per-sonal attacks are permitted. The Observer planned to run each group’s first two responses alternately on the front page. To date, however, only the CGC has responded to our offer. CICC officials have apparently decided not to share their positions with the public through this forum. If CICC does submit a response in the future, we will galdly share it with our readers. The Local Observer this week is running the second public response from the CGC. The final response from each group -if received -will appear inside the newspaper on November 1. • If we choose to direct the savings from consolidation to infrastructure improvements in our community, this investment can amount to $5 million every ten years. We definitely have impor-tant projects that cannot be funded out of current taxes. Paramount among these critical infrastructure needs is our harbor, the very econom-ic lifeblood of our community. Without consolidation, all such infra-structure needs will have to be funded by indebtedness or increased taxation, or both. Or they will simply not hap-pen because there is no other money. • After consolidation, our community character will remain as it is today. Nonsense that you may have heard about changing the name of the chain ferry or changing the Saugatuck artist palette sign is just that: nonsense. And we won’t lose our post offices or our wonderful clerks. The library won’t change, either. All of this has been intro-duced to cause fear and distract us from the real and important issues. We all know we get our community character comes from our geography, our traditions, our busi-nesses, our churches, and most of all, from our people. Not from the gov-ernment we create to serve us. And risk? Our greatest risk isn’t change, it’s the status quo. Without consolidation we will saddle our chil-dren with a system of inefficient gov-ernment that means, for years to come, they’ll either have to pay more, or settle for less. Your “Yes” vote means you see a clear path to a brighter future. This isn’t just our opinion. Here’s what the Michigan Treasurer, Andy Dillon, had to say on this exact point: “When considering applica-tions (for grants under the state’s Competitive Grant Application Program), special consideration and preference is given to proposals calling for complete mergers of two or more local units of government. Such an application, assuming it met all other requirements for CGAP funding, would likely receive approval for a grant award.” • We have every reason to expect the efficiency of service from our public works department to improve after consolidation. We now support two full arrays of expensive public-works equipment to maintain roads in just a 3.5 square-mile area. The CRC noted that both cities current public works departments were over-staffed and over-equipped. “Better use of equip-ment” and “more consistency across the whole road system” is what the CRC report said would result from having “more streets under a single jurisdiction.”

The Strong, Fact-Based Case To Vote “Yes” On November 5th

The referendum question on the November 5th ballot really comes down to how we see the future of our community.<br /> <br /> Will we continue with a two-government system that the CRC has documented is 13% inefficient?<br /> <br /> Do we need two-of-everything on both sides of the bridge, or can we come together to govern ourselves more efficiently?<br /> <br /> However good the people in government positions are now, are we willing to continue with a system that costs us all $500,000 needlessly every single year?<br /> <br /> And if we don’t consolidate, where will we find $5 million every ten years without raising taxes?<br /> <br /> These are the issues your referendum vote will decide.<br /> <br /> As you consider how you will mark your ballot, we ask you to think about five key, fact-based points.<br /> <br /> • The $500,000 annual savings is real money.<br /> <br /> Five different studies have projected almost the identical number for annual savings if we consolidate.<br /> <br /> That means every year, $500,000 of taxpayer money that used to go to duplicated government expenses, can now be allocated to more important priorities.<br /> <br /> We all get to decide on those priorities, too, because they’ll be agreed on by women and men elected from our community to serve on the new government.<br /> <br /> • Much of the expense that will be incurred to create the new government will be funded by a state grant.<br /> <br /> This isn’t just our opinion. Here’s what the Michigan Treasurer, Andy Dillon, had to say on this exact point: <br /> <br /> “When considering applications (for grants under the state’s Competitive Grant Application Program), special consideration and preference is given to proposals calling for complete mergers of two or more local units of government. Such an application, assuming it met all other requirements for CGAP funding, would likely receive approval for a grant award.”<br /> <br /> • We have every reason to expect the efficiency of service from our public works department to improve after consolidation. We now support two full arrays of expensive public-works equipment to maintain roads in just a 3. 5 square-mile area. The CRC noted that both cities current public works departments were over-staffed and over-equipped. “Better use of equipment” and “more consistency across the whole road system” is what the CRC report said would result from having “more streets under a single jurisdiction.”<br /> <br /> • If we choose to direct the savings from consolidation to infrastructure improvements in our community, this investment can amount to $5 million every ten years.<br /> <br /> We definitely have important projects that cannot be funded out of current taxes. Paramount among these critical infrastructure needs is our harbor, the very economic lifeblood of our community. Without consolidation, all such infrastructure needs will have to be funded by indebtedness or increased taxation, or both. Or they will simply not happen because there is no other money.<br /> <br /> • After consolidation, our community character will remain as it is today.<br /> <br /> Nonsense that you may have heard about changing the name of the chain ferry or changing the Saugatuck artist palette sign is just that: nonsense.<br /> <br /> And we won’t lose our post offices or our wonderful clerks. The library won’t change, either.<br /> <br /> All of this has been introduced to cause fear and distract us from the real and important issues.<br /> <br /> We all know we get our community character comes from our geography, our traditions, our businesses, our churches, and most of all, from our people. Not from the government we create to serve us.<br /> <br /> And risk?<br /> <br /> Our greatest risk isn’t change, it’s the status quo. Without consolidation we will saddle our children with a system of inefficient government that means, for years to come, they’ll either have to pay more, or settle for less.<br /> <br /> Your “Yes” vote means you see a clear path to a brighter future.

To Our Observer Readers

One of the most important decisions that Saugatuck and Douglas residents will make comes on November 5th at the voting booth: whether or not to consolidate the two local cities.<br /> <br /> The past several months have seen an onslaught of reports, letters to the editor, purported truths and, yes, outright lies by many community members lined up on either side of this issue.<br /> <br /> In an effort to bring our discerning readers the facts about consolidation directly from the two official groups battling for your votes, the Observer has offered both sides an opportunity to present their positions, facts and information directly to you at no cost.<br /> <br /> We are doing this so the two opposing camps may address the cities’ residents through direct, open communication. Then you be the judge in determining what is fact and fiction.<br /> <br /> The Observer offer is simple: only officials of the pro-consolidation Consolidated Government Committee (CGC) and the anti-consolidation Citizens for Independent and Cooperative Communities (CICC) may submit two responses each limited to 650 words. The submissions should provide facts, figures and each group’s positions. No personal attacks are permitted.<br /> <br /> The Observer planned to run each group’s first two responses alternately on the front page.<br /> <br /> To date, however, only the CGC has responded to our offer. CICC officials have apparently decided not to share their positions with the public through this forum. If CICC does submit a response in the future, we will galdly share it with our readers.<br /> <br /> The Local Observer this week is running the second public response from the CGC. The final response from each group - if received - will appear inside the newspaper on November 1.

Mill Pond Realty, Inc.

 

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