Observer 10/11/2013 : Page 1

Consolidation Opponents Present Their Cases At Recent League Of Women Voters’ Forum Page 3 Douglas Officials Preparing Legal Action Against RJ Peterson Over Local Dredge Spoils Site 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 11, 2013 Vol. 11 No. 41 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Local Citizens Make Fact-Based Case To Save The Towns From Consolidation On November 5, our resi-dents will be asked to vote on the future of Douglas and Saugatuck -two unique and independent towns. Each community has it’s own history, character, and unique identity. Each communities residents enjoy a sense of place in their home town. The following facts support our cooperative independent commu-nities. NOT Consolidation. • Fact: Consolidation will not save the harbor! There is not one shred of evidence that supports the claim that the problems facing our harbor will be any better off if the two cities consolidate. • Fact: Consolidation will not guarantee a penny of tax savings to residents. Consolidation costs will be unknown until after consolidation. City Council will not lower the tax rate without knowing the consolida-tion expenses. Projected savings to the average taxpayer are only $16.00 per month or less and as stated are not guaranteed. • Fact: There is no guaran-tee that government grants will pay for all of the consolidation costs. The cities of Douglas and Saugatuck have not budgeted for these costs and must pay for them upfront. These costs could approach one million dollars. • Fact: The estimated cost savings of $467 thousand dollars is not guaranteed. The projected savings continues to decrease with each new study. The latest study’s savings would decrease again to $448,000.00 if Saugatuck city Hall is not sold. And yet again if the new city cannot follow the recommendations of the CRC report and needs to hire more staff or realizes it needs to keep current equipment such as snow plows. 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 has offered to run each group’s first two responses on the front page. To date, The Local Observer has published two CGC front-page columns. This week -and next -the CICC is providing its positions opposing consolidation. The Local Observer also will be allowing both groups to publish follow-up columns inside the newspaper in the two editions prior to election: October 25th and November 1. All city residents are encour-aged to get out and vote Nov. 5. • Fact: Projected cost sav-ings are driven by reducing services and eliminating staff. A new city will not be able to provide the same level of service with half the staff. The study used rural cities that aren’t com-parable or have our large summer population influx. The CRC consult-ant didn’t get input from city staff. We did, and they do not not believe a new city could provide the same level of service with the CRC’s suggested staffing levels. • Fact: The CRC study did not interview our DPW Superintendents or visit either of our DPW facilities. The assumptions made in the study to reduce 30% of the DPW staff were made by paper comparisons to “other” like-sized communities. Neither of our DPW Superintendents believe a smaller DPW could do the same quality job with less people and equipment. • Fact: People’s taxes increased after the Iron River Consolidation. 13 years, post-consol-idation, two of the cities taxes are still higher. The other remains the same. Consolidation is still not completed or paid for. They are still seeking grants to finalize and pay for consoli-dation. • Fact: The Iron River con-solidation did not unite the three communities as one. Thirteen years later the people of Iron River, Mineral Hills and Stambaugh still act and feel as if they are three separate commu-nities. This presents a big challenge to their consolidated city, as city coun-cil members, commissioners and board members continue to lookout for their respective origins needs. • Fact: A consolidated city will not have more clout with the state when seeking grants. The coop-erative/regional component of having two separate cities applying for a grant as opposed to ! !a single city is better for the scoring criteria for many types of State grants these days. • Fact: Our IDENTITIES will change! The Citizens Research Council Study says that “one of the most noticed changes” will be a new look that will be “the city’s new iden-tity;” a new name, logo, and market-ing theme and welcome signs on the road. Consolidation has not brought us closer together. It’s created a divisiveness within our community that appears may only worsen if this process continues. This is not a scare tactic, it’s a reality check. Saugatuck and Douglas have been cooperating for over 100 years. There’s no reason to think we won’t continue to do so. SAVE OUR TOWNS -Vote NO November 5th

Local Citizens Make Fact-Based Case To Save The Towns From Consolidation

On November 5, our residents will be asked to vote on the future of Douglas and Saugatuck - two unique and independent towns. Each community has it’s own history, character, and unique identity. Each communities residents enjoy a sense of place in their home town. The following facts support our cooperative independent communities. NOT Consolidation.<br /> <br /> • Fact: Consolidation will not save the harbor! There is not one shred of evidence that supports the claim that the problems facing our harbor will be any better off if the two cities consolidate.<br /> <br /> • Fact: Consolidation will not guarantee a penny of tax savings to residents. Consolidation costs will be unknown until after consolidation. City Council will not lower the tax rate without knowing the consolidation expenses. Projected savings to the average taxpayer are only $16.00 per month or less and as stated are not guaranteed.<br /> <br /> • Fact: There is no guarantee that government grants will pay for all of the consolidation costs. The cities of Douglas and Saugatuck have not budgeted for these costs and must pay for them upfront. These costs could approach one million dollars.<br /> <br /> • Fact: The estimated cost savings of $467 thousand dollars is not guaranteed. The projected savings continues to decrease with each new study. The latest study’s savings would decrease again to $448,000.00 if Saugatuck city Hall is not sold. And yet again if the new city cannot follow the recommendations of the CRC report and needs to hire more staff or realizes it needs to keep current equipment such as snow plows.<br /> <br /> • Fact: Projected cost savings are driven by reducing services and eliminating staff. A new city will not be able to provide the same level of service with half the staff. The study used rural cities that aren’t comparable or have our large summer population influx. The CRC consultant didn’t get input from city staff. We did, and they do not not believe a new city could provide the same level of service with the CRC’s suggested staffing levels.<br /> <br /> • Fact: The CRC study did not interview our DPW Superintendents or visit either of our DPW facilities. The assumptions made in the study to reduce 30% of the DPW staff were made by paper comparisons to “other” like-sized communities. Neither of our DPW Superintendents believe a smaller DPW could do the same quality job with less people and equipment.<br /> <br /> • Fact: People’s taxes increased after the Iron River Consolidation. 13 years, post-consolidation, two of the cities taxes are still higher. The other remains the same. Consolidation is still not completed or paid for. They are still seeking grants to finalize and pay for consolidation.<br /> <br /> • Fact: The Iron River consolidation did not unite the three communities as one. Thirteen years later the people of Iron River, Mineral Hills and Stambaugh still act and feel as if they are three separate communities. This presents a big challenge to their consolidated city, as city council members, commissioners and board members continue to lookout for their respective origins needs.<br /> <br /> • Fact: A consolidated city will not have more clout with the state when seeking grants. The cooperative/ regional component of having two separate cities applying for a grant as opposed to ! !a single city is better for the scoring criteria for many types of State grants these days.<br /> <br /> • Fact: Our IDENTITIES will change! The Citizens Research Council Study says that “one of the most noticed changes” will be a new look that will be “the city’s new identity;” a new name, logo, and marketing theme and welcome signs on the road.<br /> <br /> Consolidation has not brought us closer together. It’s created a divisiveness within our community that appears may only worsen if this process continues. This is not a scare tactic, it’s a reality check. Saugatuck and Douglas have been cooperating for over 100 years. There’s no reason to think we won’t continue to do so. SAVE OUR TOWNS - Vote NO November 5th

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 has offered to run each group’s first two responses on the front page.<br /> <br /> To date, The Local Observer has published two CGC front-page columns. This week - and next - the CICC is providing its positions opposing consolidation.<br /> <br /> The Local Observer also will be allowing both groups to publish follow-up columns inside the newspaper in the two editions prior to election: October 25th and November 1.<br /> <br /> All city residents are encouraged to get out and vote Nov. 5.

Mill Pond Realty, Inc.

 

Loading