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November election costs challenged by village official

March 20, 2013 - Atlas Twp.-Fees to the Village of Goodrich for the 2012 election, which included a detachment issue, have recently come under fire.

A bill of $1,187 sent to the village from the township came under scrutiny during the March 11 Village of Goodrich meeting.

Village Councilmember Richard Saroli questioned the bill from the township.

"Do we (village residents) make additional payments over and above what we pay in our taxes to the township?" he said.

"If we become a city, we would be responsible for running our own elections. However, we pay taxes now and it's the responsibility of the township to run these elections. I understand there was more work during the last election— if there is less work do we get a refund?"

Saroli requested documentation that allows the township to charge the village.

"It's like any bill that comes into the village office," he said. "Documentation should be required for everything we pay."

Saroli also questioned the billing of the detachment issue that was on the ballot.

"That issue was an independent petition—from a group of village residents," he said. "Not sponsored by the village. Why should we pay? For that matter, we were never charged in the primary election."

Township Clerk Tere Onica explained that according to the Bureau of Elections, villages, like Goodrich, are required to reimburse any expenses incurred by a township when conducting a regular election on behalf of the village. In a precinct where 100 percent of the registered voters reside in the village, the village is responsible for 50 percent of the precinct management costs.

"In the case of this past 2012 November election we (Atlas Township) purchased pink envelopes to keep the ballots in the village separate for the detachment vote, added special training for election workers, and extra voting stations in the village precincts just to name a few. The general election was very expensive this year—about $11,000. That amount was taken down to $8,831, of which I charged the village 13 percent."

The charges are not the first for the village. In 2006 the Village of Goodrich was billed $564 in a gubernatorial race; in 2008 the village was billed $567 in a 2008 election, reported Onica.

"They get a great value for their dollar," she said.

The bill was tabled until the April 8 village council meeting.

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