Source: Sherman Publications

Opinions
Three council persons associated with village dissolve

December 01, 2010

Dear Editor,

Iím not sure the village residents really understand the makeup of the new village council after the recent election of Phil Jackson and Doug McAbee. They ran on a campaign to reduce taxes and operational costs in the village. But, reduce costs at what price? Iíd like to give a little history about Phil Jackson, Doug McAbee and Patricia Wartella and what I believe is their real motives for getting elected.

I first met Phil Jackson when I was president of the village council and he and several residents from the Hawthorn Ridge Condominium subdivision approached the council sayinag they did not believe that they should have to pay village taxes because they did not feel that they received the same services as other village residents. When asked to explain, Phil Jackson said that they had to plow their own roads and pay for their own street lighting at a substantial cost to them.

Hawthorne Ridge was the only condominium complex in the village with private roads. That meant that they were responsible for any road maintenance and the cost associated with their street lights. Other than their roads and street lights, they received the same benefits as any other village resident.

The council made a proposal to Hawthorne Ridge residents to have them dedicate their roads to the village, so that we could take over the maintenance and repair of those roads. We had our engineers survey the roads to determine if they were up to state standards and that they were not in disrepair before we would agree to take them over. At the time of our engineering survey, their roads were determined to be in good condition and we offered to take over their roads.

To our surprise, the residents declined our offer and said that they had changed their minds and would continue to maintain their own roads. One month later at the next council meeting Jackson again approached the village to see if we would allow an election to dissolve the village. All I can guess is that Jackson just did not want to pay any taxes period! If we took over his roads his taxes remained the same, but my guess is that he felt if we dissolved the village, his taxes would be eliminated. I know this not to be true, but that is a whole other discussion.

The village council said we would take a look at holding a vote to dissolve the village. What we found was our village charter only had only two paragraphs in regards to disincorporation. Our charter did not comply with state law in regards to disincorporation. We asked for an opinion from Michigan Attorney General Mike Cox. His opinion basically said that state law overrides local law and that in order to hold a legal election we must adopt state statute into our charter. We informed Jackson and his followers that we would aggressively work on adopting state statute in regards to disincorporation into our charter, so that a legal election could be held and at that time we would allow the village residents to decide the issue.

Apparently, he was not satisfied with our answer, because he started a recall against the entire board. Long story short, we were all recalled. Thankfully, in the election to replace our council seats, Pete Morey, Rick Horton, Dave Lucik and Ed York were elected on the basis that they would maintain village services at their current levels and reduce village taxes by 30 percent, which they fulfilled as soon as they entered office. Why people after getting a 30 percent reduction in taxes, would vote these councilmen out of office is beyond me!

Just an FYI, after my council recall and after a vote to dissolve the Village of Goodrich failed (it has failed three times in the history of Goodrich), Hawthorne Ridgeís roads were taken over by the village. Now, Phil Jackson, Patricia Wartella and Doug McAbee are seated on the council and have full control over the fate of the Village of Goodrich services. These three council persons were all associated with the last dissolve the village campaign. So, do you really think they have your best interest at heart?

Patricia Wartella and Phil Jackson headed up the last campaign to disincorporate the village. When that failed they decided to get elected and destroy the village from the inside out. Please donít leave the fate of the village and the services that you receive in the hands of people that have tried in the past to destroy it. Unfortunately, Phil Jackson and Doug McAbee have not been in office long enough to qualify to be recalled. But, there is an effort being made to recall Patricia Wartella. When petitions become available, please sign them and give control back to council members that actually have your best interests at heart.

Keith Walworth

Village of Goodrich, Resident