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Village detachment will be up to voters this November

August 01, 2012 - The voters will decide.

That's the word from the Genesee County Board of Commissioners, who voted unanimously on Wednesday to put the partial detachment of the Village of Goodrich to Atlas Township on the Nov. 8 ballot. The deadline was Aug. 20.

The decision comes after village resident Patricia Wartella filed on April 12 signed petitions to the Genesee County Clerk for the detachment of 87 parcels of property within the village to Atlas Township.

The minimum number of signatures for a petition filed with regard for the village is 100—based on the population of the village and Atlas Township.

The 12 petition sheets included a total of 64 signatures from registered voters within the village limits. In Atlas Township, 69 valid registered voters signed the petition. Residents of the village, Atlas Township and the proposed detached areas will vote—a simple majority is needed.

Wartella is ready to educate residents prior to the election.

"I hope people realize we are already Atlas Township," said Wartella. "Our goal is to eliminate the extra layer of government and the duplication of services that exists. We feel the township can offer everything we need as far as the government is concerned and that we are already paying for in the village. The township provides services including a tax assessor, fire department, police, elections and road care with the Genesee County Road Commission—why pay twice? There are laws in Michigan statutes to provide the detachment for any resident. We investigated the detachment with the assistance of an attorney from East Lansing over the past year."

"If we are part of the township there will be additional revenues for roads. The other part that's encouraging is the Best Practices offered by Governor Rick Snyder that offers money for consolidation of services. The detachment is not going to bring debt to the township. It is a positive for the township. In addition, by us detaching we add more to the Census. The township population increases. It's a win-win situation for the township."

Wartella said there will be a committee established prior to the November vote that will include individuals from the county drain commissioner's office for the sewers, the Genesee County Road Commission, the village, and township representatives to answer question pertaining to the detachment.

"Questions can be asked with real answers rather than the scare tactics and propaganda out there," she said.

"I'm hopeful that people understand that there are benefits for the village. I say this without hesitation—they can have the village, they can keep it. A lot of friction, a lot of animosity will be gone. The independent study paid for by the village earlier this year indicated many areas that could be consolidated and clearly demonstrated the value of consolidation of services. The opportunity is there. For example, the village recently laid off a full-time DPW employee who had been on the job for eight years. That one worker had cost taxpayers almost a half million dollars over that time. Now he's gone and they get along just fine. The village has and continues to waste taxpayers' money. It's a train wreck."

Goodrich Village Councilman Richard Saroli also attended the Wednesday morning meeting .

"We will aggressively be telling residents why it's not in their best interest to vote for this detachment," said Saroli, following the decision. "There's nothing to be gained by Atlas Township residents with the proposed detachment. All that's going to occur is the services of the township will be spread over a much larger population and area. For the remainder of Goodrich outside the areas, they are going to operate the village on less revenue."

"The township is not gong to have additional revenues," he said. "Village residents already pay township taxes—they have the money now. Other than maybe gaining a sewer tap-in fee for new homes or businesses, the reality is there's going to be legacy costs, snow removal fees and no savings with less services. There are no winners here. The fallout—most likely it's going to get dragged out in court."

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