Source: Sherman Publications

My Way
Village did the right thing; NOTA should, too

by CJ Carnacchio

December 25, 2013

Normally, Iím ticked off at the Oxford Village Council.

It usually has something to do with it wasting my tax dollars, denying voters their right to choose or rambling on and on for hours.

But this week, I must sincerely applaud the council and its willingness to let the township out of the dispatch services contract without a legal brouhaha (see the story on Page 1).

Thatís probably one of the wisest decisions Iíve ever seen the village council make in the 14 years Iíve been covering it.

Like previous councils, the current one could have easily dug in its heels, unleashed its attorney and tried to force the township to remain a dispatch customer.

But this council, unlike previous councils, decided to offer the township the most logical and reasonable of choices Ė give the village and township six months to work together to resolve any outstanding dispatch issues or engage in an amicable separation.

My guess is the township board will most likely choose the second option given its publicly-stated desire to have a minimum of two dispatchers on duty 24-7.

Having an amicable separation between the village and township on this issue means the two governments wonít waste a ton of tax dollars fighting each other in court like they did during the messy and controversial dissolution of the Oxford Public Fire & EMS Commission.

Whenever the township and village fight, itís ultimately the taxpayers who lose, particularly village taxpayers because we pay for attorneys on both sides.

Council did the right thing here and I applaud that.

I must also praise village attorney Bob Davis because he doesnít seem eager to pick a fight or stoke the fires of discord between the two governments in order to line his pockets. Thatís truly refreshing.

Now on to the North Oakland Transportation Authority (NOTA) and the possibility of it requesting a millage to make up for the federal funding itís going to lose in 2015 (see story on Page 1).

I can certainly see the wisdom of supporting a millage request that offsets the loss of nearly $387,000 in federal grants and possibly restores the two bus routes that NOTA cut earlier this year.

That would be quite reasonable given what a valuable, efficient and crucial service NOTA provides to local senior citizens, disabled individuals and low-income people who lack the means or ability to drive themselves.

But make no mistake, if NOTA tries to request a millage that would also replace the governmental contributions made by the three townships and three villages it serves, I could not, in good conscience, support that. In fact, I would use my column space to fight it tooth and nail.

Why should the taxpayers be forced to pay more just so, for example, Oxford and Orion townships can save their $84,153 and $104,871 annual contributions to NOTA and use that money elsewhere?

That wouldnít be right at all. That would be robbery and I wonít stand for it. I urge the NOTA board to do the right thing and only request the taxpayers make up for whatís been lost, not a penny more.