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New year, new effort to dissolve Clarkston



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Cory Johnston continues a drive to dissolve Clarkston's cityhood. Photo by Trevor Keiser (click for larger version)
January 11, 2012 - Cory Johnston has a New Year's resolution to dissolve his hometown of Clarkston.

The former city councilman wants to know who's with him.

"I want to find out if the people of the City of the Village of Clarkston really want to pay 64 percent more in local taxes than our friends and neighbors in Independence Township when most of our government funded services come from the township," Johnston said. "We have no vote on the cost or level of any service and cannot vote for those in the township who do. We don't really have much choice for our elected city representatives either as they often run unopposed or seldom bother to tell us why they are running for office."

Johnston, who called for dissolving the city back in August 2010, and others will be going door to door circulating petitions.

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"Whether it's the lack of enforcement of city ordinances, the inability to do zoning or development, well, after 20 years of experimenting with cityhood, I don't see it working as originally promoted or anyone capable of fixing it," he said. "I don't think we have the expertise or the funds to pay for the expertise to even finance a basic government."

Transitioning back to a village would start with a signed petition of at least a quarter of all qualified city voters to get a petition on the ballot. Then, a two-thirds majority vote in the city as well as majority of township voters would make the change.

Johnston did the math.

"The 2010 population is listed at 882 with 820 registered voters," Johnston said. "So the short form is 205 to get the petition on the ballot, and 547 in favor in the city, plus 13,232 from the township to get it approved."

Johnston said he would move if he could, but he "can't afford to move, and can't afford to stay."

His retirement is in his house he said.

"Yes, I love this community, but I could live two houses away and have all the enjoyment and pleasure of the City of the Village of Clarkston at township taxes," he said. "I don't see my life being better by having city in front of our name."

Email Johnston at OneClarkston@yahoo.com, or go to bigideassmalltowns.blogspot.com. Let us know what you think, too, at 248-625-3370 or Clarkstonnews@gmail.com.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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