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Panel to discuss city's future on Clarkston411

September 22, 2010 - Tune in to next Thursday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. for a live panel discussion on the future of the City of the Village of Clarkston.

Clarkston residents Cory Johnson and Michael Sabol will participate in the discussion, hosted by Phil Custodio, editor of the Clarkston News.

They will discuss the city's options in the face of budget deficits and increasingly consolidated services with Independence Township.

Johnston served on the Clarkston City Council member from 2005-2009. Sabol has been a resident of Clarkston for five years and Independence Township for five years before that.

The Village of Clarkston became the City of the Village of Clarkston in 1992, after a two-year process including a vote of the people.

The city shares services with Independence Township for library, fire and emergency medical protection, sewer and water maintenance, parks and recreation, Deer Lake Beach, fleet gas cost, equipment, recycling/clean up day, and Mill Pond Lake Improvement.

The city also dissolved its police department earlier this month, citing budget difficulties in the wake of a millage defeat in August. It now shares police service, provided by Oakland County Sheriff's Office, with the township.

In letters to the editor and opinion columns in the Clarkston News and other media, Johnston called for a petition to dissolve the city and combine with the township, while Sabol has come out in favor of preserving the city's self determination.

Clarkston Rotary Club planned a debate about the issue for early October, but cancelled. The opportunity for public discussion is too important to be lost, said Assistant Publisher Don Rush.

"It can't hurt to explore ideas," Rush said. "This is a perfect opportunity for our local leaders to make government more responsive. With all the talent and brains in this town, this is a chance to use common sense, to be a leader in the state. To not act out of fear. Clarkston will be Clarkston whether or not the city is there. It won't lose its identity."

Phil is editor for The Clarkston News. He is a veteran of the first Iraq war, having served in the U.S. Army.
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