Wildlife park annexation revisited due to ineligible village councilor.

October 20, 2017

Wildlife park annexation revisited due to ineligible village councilor.

#CusterNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

CUSTER — On Monday, Oct. 16, the Custer village council re-voted on its decision to annex a portion of Custer Township into the village. The property is part of Marlins Wildlife Safari and the decision was finalized earlier this year by the village and the Mason County Commission. However, it was recently discovered that one of the village councilors, Shaun Reed, was not an eligible voter due to his property being split between the village and township.

Village President Lyle Reene said Reed was appointed to the village council in November 2016 to fill a vacancy. Reed’s property is on the southeast side of the village on First Street with the northern portion of the property in the village limits and the southern portion of the property in the township, Reene said. Reed’s house happens to be in the township, which is where the issue occurred.

“Shaun was under the impression that his property was completely in the village limits,” Reene said. “But, after he got his tax bills in the summer, we realized that his house is actually in the township. State law says that a person’s voting eligibility is based on where he lays his head, where his house sits. It doesn’t matter that part of his property is in the village, the house is in the township.”

The issue meant that any action made by the village since Reed’s appointment 11 months ago needed to be reviewed and possibly re-voted on, including the issue annexing Marlin Troyer’s wildlife park.

“As the village president, I only vote to break a tie or to fill a quorum,” Reene said. “During that particular meeting, in July, I had to vote in order to fill the quorum because we were missing some people that night. Shaun voted as well. So, basically without Shaun we didn’t have a quorum that night, which disqualified the vote.”

The village recently received a letter from the Mason County Prosecuting Attorney’s office explaining that it would need to re-vote.

“This was basically a simple oversight and nothing was done intentionally to mislead anyone,” Reene said.

The council revoted on the topic during its regular meeting last Monday. That resolution asked for the county board to approve annexation of Troyer’s property. During its November 14 meeting, the county commission will hold another public hearing on the request. That meeting is at 9 a.m. at the courthouse. Following the hearing the board will then take action.

Marlins Wildlife Safari is located at 2041 E. US 10. The name intentionally does not include an apostrophe.

This story is copyrighted © 2017, all rights reserved by Media Group 31, LLC, PO Box 21, Scottville, MI 49454. No portion of this story or images may be reproduced in any way, including print or broadcast, without expressed written consent.

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