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You’ll be glad you did! * MILL POND REALTY * SHORELINE REALTORS * COLDWELL BANKER WOODLAND SCHMIDT * GREENRIDGE REALTY * SHORE SOTHEBY’S INTERNATIONAL REALTY * FIVE STAR REALTY-LAKESHORE Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING November 4, 2016 Vol. 14 No. 44 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Saugatuck Township Recycling Ballot Tax Request Is County Boondoggle At Its Worst Observer Newspapers Editorial Normally, Observer Newspapers does not take editorial stances on candidates or local ballot initiatives. But the upcoming Nov. 8 ballot request by Allegan County offi-cials that will impact all Saugatuck Township residents is such a taxpayer rip-off and boondoggle it merits a strong stance against it. Allegan County officials are asking you through your vote to approve a mandatory $36 per year recycling surcharge/tax that, if passed, you would have to pay for the next five years. And after that five years? The Allegan County Board of Commissioners can vote to extend it and increase the rates without your okay or vote, if you vote to pass the upcoming recycling tax/surcharge request next week. Right now, Saugatuck Township has a “voluntary” $25 per year surcharge/tax put on your annual township tax bill that most of you don’t even know you’re paying and that you can opt-out of simply by calling Saugatuck Township officials and demand to have that charge taken off your tax bill. (To have it removed from your town-ship tax bill call: (269) 857-7721). Township and county officials have been taking your money for years with this “voluntary tax” and have sel-dom, if ever, taken steps to warn you they’ve been dipping into your pock-ets to fund this county recycling pro-gram, even if you already pay a pri-vate carter to handle your recyclables. As questionable as the township officials’ actions have been in that matter, it pales in comparison to what Allegan County officials -and some township officials -are ask-ing you to do now to increase and make mandatory that recycling tax out of your own pockets. Oh, and by the way, Saugatuck Township voters already voted down this county/township’s request for a mandatory recycling sur-chage/tax back in August, but the sneaky little greedy devils quickly and quietly voted to put it back on this November’s ballot to try to get anoth-er bite of this poisoned apple! Simply put, recycling is a good thing. What’s not so good is a county/township money grab that county records obtained by The Local Observer show will cost local taxpay-ers a hell of a lot more than $36 per year and serve only a fraction of township residents! After more county informa-tion has surfaced about this boondog-gle tax request, even several current, former and future Saugatuck Township officials and candidates are rejecting it and advising you to VOTE NO on the mandatory recy-cling tax request come Nov. 8. (See some of their letters and opinions below and inside this issue.) (Cont. Page 5) Letters To The Editor Saugatuck Township Supervisor Says Recycling Proposal “Not Equitable To All Township Residents”; Says “Vote NO” Dear Editor, On November 8th the Saugatuck Township voters will be asked again to make a decision regarding a proposal to impose a $36 annual surcharge on all households in Saugatuck Township. The ballot language states the surcharge will be used by Allegan County to continue and expand solid waste reduction programs under the Allegan County Solid Waste Management Plan. The voters already spoke clearly at the voting booth during the August election and turned this pro-posal down. The voter’s decision in August should have been respected and this proposal not placed back on the ballot. This ballot proposal is clearly not equitable to all taxpayers in Saugatuck Township. Many Township residents have curb side recycling service through their private trash hauler. If this mandatory surcharge is approved, all households will be forced to pay and none will have a choice to opt-out. In the past this program was not mandatory. The Allegan County Department that administers this program, Resource Recovery, submit-ted proposed budget numbers to the Township officials totaling over $100,000. Keep in mind none of these costs are for actual recycling services. This budget is only for the direct and indirect administration fees to operate the County program. It’s arguable that administration fees paid to Allegan County by the Township taxpayers could be better utilized directly at the Township level to provide services to its residents. The Allegan County Resource Recovery program was implemented many years ago when private sector recycling options were non-existent in Saugatuck Township. This is no longer the case. The County program has become outdat-ed, inefficient and a strain on limited taxpayers’ resources. I am strongly for recycling, yet not programs that will continue to raise taxes on resi-dents, where the real answer, is to streamline and manage funds in newer more modern methods. Finally –this ballot proposal was voted on, and turned down ALREADY in August 2016. Voters need to send a strong message -VOTE NO on the town-ship/county mandatory recycling sur-charge request on Nov. 8th! William W Wester Sr. Saugatuck Township Resident, and soon to be former Supervisor There Is More To The Proposed Mandatory Recycle Surcharge Than Meets The Eye, Warns Former Township Treasurer Dear Editor, The Saugatuck Township mandatory recycling surcharge pro-posal on the November 8th ballot is not fair to all taxpayers. If this proposal is approved, all households will be legally required to pay $36 per year regardless if they use the Allegan County curb side pro-gram or not. If you already have recy-cling included with your current pri-vate trash hauler, you would end up paying twice. The enabling legislation, Public Act 69 of 2005, allows a fee to be collected per “household” to fund this program. Taxpayers and voters need to know there can be more than one household on a single tax bill, (i.e. apartment complex, duplex, trailer park or additional rental unit in a home.) This is relevant to the tax-payer because if you own a property that receives one tax bill, but has been identified as having multiple house-holds/living units, you can be charged $36 for each of these "households" on one tax bill. For example, a single prop-erty that has 5 rental units on it would be charged $36 x 5 for a total of $180 per year. To add insult to injury, none of the households may even use the Allegan County curb side pro-gram for which they are being charged. A portion of the mandatory $36 fee also gets skimmed off the top by Allegan County in order to fund their administrative budget for the program before any dollars are expended on actual recycle services. Pat Knikelbine Former Saugatuck Township Treasurer, Saugatuck Township
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