On August 7, 2018 Village registered voters will see two Proposals on the Ballot called as the result of voters asking for a say on two items passed by the Village of Bear Lake Council. [The threshold is 10%. It is believed @25% of current registered voters signed]
In both Proposals the result will impact the financial position of both Village government and Village tax payers.
- For a full list of Manistee Proposals select the following link august_2018_official_list_of_proposals (1)
- VILLAGE OF BEAR LAKE PROPOSAL TO APPROVE ORDINANCE NO. 10 OF 2017
Shall Ordinance No. 10 of 2017, which provides for the appointment of the village clerk and village treasurer, and which was enacted by the Bear Lake Village Council October 18, 2017, be approved and take effect?
- VILLAGE OF BEAR LAKE PROPOSAL TO AUTHORIZE ISSUANCE OF MUNICIPAL SECURITIES
Shall the Village of Bear Lake, Manistee County, Michigan, be authorized to issue municipal securities pursuant to Act 34, Public Acts of Michigan, 2001, as amended, in one or more series, in an amount of not to exceed Three Hundred Fifty Thousand Dollars ($350,000) for the purpose of acquiring and constructing a new department of public works building, together with site work, parking facilities, fixtures, furnishings, equipment, and all related appurtenances and related work? The maximum number of years the municipal securities may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is thirty (30) years. The Village intends to use water system revenues, park fund revenues, major and local street fund revenues and general fund moneys as the primary source of revenue to be used to retire the municipal securities. The municipal securities will be limited tax general obligations of the Village and no new taxes will be levied for their payment. The Village estimates that of its current Village millage levy, 0.193 mills (19.3 cents for each $1,000 of taxable value) will be allocated in the first year to pay the municipal securities and the estimated simple average annual amount of millage allocated to retire the municipal securities is estimated to be 0.5019 mills (50.19 cents for each $1,000 of taxable value). The Village’s power to levy taxes to make the payments of principal and interest on the municipal securities is limited by applicable constitutional and statutory limitations on the taxing power of the Village and no new taxes are authorized to pay the principal of and interest on the municipal securities.
At this stage, being so close to the August 7 Election, the Village is constrained by MICHIGAN CAMPAIGN FINANCE ACT Act 388 of 1976
In this Part One of Two we will look at Proposal One.
For a previous discussion of this item see this posting:
Village tax payers have asked for a chance to vote on a decision that permanently takes away their right to vote to Elect or Recall these two positions.
As the notice of the Ordinance, passed October 18, 2017 was only published once in the News Advocate and is nowhere on the Village web site, Village tax payers have now had adequate time to consider this change.
- These 2 positions currently account for almost 1/3 of all collected property taxes. The Village has already contracted with a CPA to ostensibly ‘assist’ with financial reporting.
BY FOIA the following 2017 W3 return was received:
In viewing the current remuneration for these two positions it is difficult to see where changing the nature from elected to appointed would save any money.
- Under this Ordinance neither appointees would be required to be village residents.
- If there is concern that an elected Clerk or Treasurer, (neither are voting positions), may not possess sufficient skills to perform the duties – the same standard should be applied to elected Village Council positions that do have voting/financial decision making privileges.
- An appointed Clerk and Treasurer would serve at the pleasure of the Council, opening the appearance of political/personal favor or leaving the appointee open to political/personal interference.
- Yet to be resolved are multiple employment and human resources questions. Would they be employees or contractors?
- Will these be ‘at will’ positions? Meaning that they could be dismissed without cause. Equally an employee could resign at any time.
- As the Ordinance states, these will be two year appointed positions, a new person could be, in theory, be appointed every two years – invalidating the rationale of the desire for continuity.
- Changing the position affects withholding and benefits and becomes subject to all labor and fair employment laws.
- A comprehensive Job Description, hours of performance, manner of posting and interviewing candidates, insurance and Bonding costs has not been presented.