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Charter status unanimously rejected by Addison board

August 24, 2011 - For the foreseeable future, Addison plans to keep the general law township as its form of government.

"General law is the way to go," said township Clerk Pauline Bennett.

Addison officials last week voted 6-0 to adopt a resolution stating their opposition to incorporating the municipality as a charter township.

"We have no need for more government," Bennett said. "Less government is better."

Supervisor Bruce Pearson agreed.

"I don't think we need to put more laws in effect and I don't think we need to have more power," he said. "I think this board does a very fine job of running this township at the lowest cost with the best benefit to the people."

Given Addison has a population of 6,351 (including Leonard) based on the 2010 U.S. Census, the township was informed by the state that it's eligible to incorporate as a charter township, which basically has a broader scope of powers than a general law unit.

Any general law township with a minimum population of 2,000 is eligible for this change in government. The state is legally required to notify each township of its eligibility after each federal, state or special census.

The biggest benefit of being a charter township is the extra legal protection it offers against land annexation by cities and villages.

"We don't have any threat of annexation," said Pearson, who noted that Addison is surrounded by four townships in three counties. Townships cannot annex from townships.

As for the Village of Leonard, Pearson said it's "not interested in taking on more property."

Leonard President Mike McDonald seconded that.

He explained that back when the charter issue arose in Addison around 1986, the village indicated it had no annexation plans and the same is true 25 years later.

"Frankly, we don't have any infrastructure that would be an improvement for a township resident to even consider it and that case still holds," McDonald told the township board.

"Leonard and Addison Township get along very well and I don't see any need whatsoever for us to move in that direction," Pearson added.

Currently, of Michigan's 1,240 townships, 138 are charter and 1,102 are general law, according to the Michigan Townships Association.

Pearson noted most of the state's charter townships incorporated to protect their borders from neighboring cities.

"We aren't in that position," he said.

Trustee John Boehmer pointed out that incorporating as a charter township offers "no benefit" with regard to applying for or receiving grants.

"We aren't considered any different one way or the other," he said. "I don't see a need (to be chartered)."

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.
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