2013-03-21 / Viewpoint

The loss of your right to vote

As government continues to assault the rights of the individual, we now find ourselves with another test of wills. Michigan House Bill 4147 would allow our local elected township officials to levy per-parcel or any other basis determined by the township board special assessments to pay for police services. No longer would residents of a community have the exclusive right to vote how much cost (millage) would be taxed.

Currently if residents of Atlas Township want to continue to fund the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department to provide police services, a one-half mill increase over what residents are currently paying would be required. That proposed millage, which would equal a total of 2.1 mills, will appear on the May 2013 ballot.

Your constitutional right of “Self Determination” (your vote) will be offered for you to accept or reject this proposal. If it is rejected and Bill 4147 is enacted, all township residents could be assessed $200 or more per household for police services. In addition, the township board can annually adjust the amount of Special Assessments that the board can collect from the township residents. So if the Sheriff’s Department raises the cost of police services the township board — not the voters — will have the authority to increase your Special Assessment to any level required to meet the demands of the sheriff’s department.

Among the supporters of Bill 4147 are Paul Amman and Tere Onica. They both have testified before the House Committee agreeing that this authority should be given to the township board. These are the same individuals who signed a petition for detachment in the last election and stated the reason for signing such a politically charged issue was that citizens should have the right to vote on matters that affect them. It appears that over the last six months they have revised their position on our constitutional rights.

Let us not forget State Rep. Joseph Graves, the co-sponsor of Bill 4147. He was sent to Lansing by us to represent us and work for our best interest. Removing our right to vote on issues of this importance and giving this right to fellow politicians is not working for our best interest. Let us put his actions in our memory banks when his re-election comes around again.

There are no good choices in financing an increase for police services. A one half mill increase or a $200 Special Assessment and the loss of the right to vote in the future. Forced to pick the lesser of two evils, I will vote for the increased millage. I urge you to do the same and vote yes for the millage proposal that will appear on the May Ballot. — Richard Saroli, Goodrich

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