Identity isn't tied to having a govt.
September 15, 2010 - In last week's column, I focused on what it would take to dissolve the Village of Oxford and why I'm in favor of it.
This week I wish to focus on the concept of "identity."
Over in Clarkston, people are talking a lot about "identity" these days because the city recently got rid of its tiny police force and now, the municipality itself is the target of a dissolution campaign.
People in favor of keeping the city government argue that without it, Clarkston would lose its "identity" and be swallowed up by the evil Independence Township.
I've heard some people in Oxford Village employ the same logic as a reason for keeping the village government.
I believe that argument is poppycock.
If the village government disappeared tomorrow, the village would still be the village.
The downtown wouldn't suddenly become a ghost town or get bulldozed to make way for a Wal-Mart.
The historic homes wouldn't vanish into thin air or be turned into strip clubs.
The old tree-lined neighborhoods wouldn't lose their warmth and charm.
People would still affectionately refer to the area as "the village."
Amazingly enough, the little town of Lakeville (over in Addison Township) doesn't have a separate government nor does it levy any taxes, yet everyone knows right where it is. It's even shown on maps.
The unincorporated villages of Thomas (in northwestern Oxford) and Oakwood (on the Oxford/Brandon border) are the same way.
To me, the village is defined by the people who live and work here, the historic buildings and homes that give our community its true character, and the delightful mix of downtown shops and restaurants that draw folks to Oxford.
We can still have all that without a village government. We can still have all that and lower our tax bills by 7.7048 mills.
(That figure was derived by taking the village tax rate of 10.62 mills and subtracting the 2.9152 mills the township currently levies for police protection. That's the only township tax that village residents currently do not pay, but would have to start if the village dissolved.)
I refuse to believe the price of having an "identity" is 10.62 mills to support an extra layer of government to oversee 1.4 square miles.
"Identity" shouldn't be defined by higher taxes, redundancy and inefficiency.
CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.