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No new millage vote for Clarkston Police

Council members Peggy Roth and Chuck Inabnit and Mayor Stephen Arkwright listen intently as the crowd shares their concerns. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
August 18, 2010 - Clarkston's close millage vote will be recounted, but results will stand.

City Council voted 5-2, Aug. 16, to deny a request for a new ballot proposal. Councilmen Mike Gawronski and Thomas Hunter were the two "yes" votes.

"The will of the people – whichever way that goes, that's great," Gawronski said.

However, some voters casting ballots against the Aug. 3 charter amendment may have been confused, he said.

Resident Fred Stark said that doesn't matter.

"I think if the vote had gone the other way we wouldn't be here discussing it – I think the reason we're here is because the people who voted the other way are sore losers," he said. "I think the vote we took earlier in August should have some meaning to it."

Councilman Charles Inabnit said voters had no reason to be confused.

"This has been going on since March 22. I find it hard to believe that people didn't know what they were voting on," he said. "There was a flyer from the police department – the city sent out one."

Resident Mike McGraw said it wasn't an issue of whether people wanted police or not, but how the votes went.

"We're doing a recount and that's great," McGraw said. "If it turns out it flip flops and the police are back, then I think the people who voted no are going to accept that."

Councilwoman Peggy Roth said she talked to more than 30 citizens after last week's meeting, all of whom voted "no."

"Actually they were more concerned that somebody would suggest they did not understand what they voted on," Roth said. "It just seems to me the citizens of this city have voted and they've made up their mind."

Councilman Jim Brueck said the only reason he would support a new vote is if the Aug. 3 proposal wasambiguous or "askew, something really grievous about the way the process was followed."

It wasn't, Brueck said.

"To me, it was clear they did understand," he said. "The fact is we had almost 400 people turn out at a primary election. People wanted to be there, they wanted to voice their opinion."

The city voted 6-1 to delay signing an intergovernmental agreement with Independence Township for sheriff's services until next meeting, while they discuss alternatives such as switching to a constable. Hargis voted "no."

"I think it's a good idea to look at a constable," Hargis said. "I think that's something we can afford in the city, but we must have base services. All the people around the township are enjoying base services."

According to City Manage Dennis Ritter, Clarkston Police will remain on duty for at least a couple more weeks.

"They will be until the documents are completed and a date has been set for the transition. (Chief) Dale LaCroix seems to think it's about a two-week process," Ritter said. "What that means is a two-week process to dismantle the department, but at the beginning of that two-week period, the (Oakland County) Sheriff will be in place."

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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