Hamlin board denies transportation ballot request

February 13, 2014

hamlin_township_meetingBy Rob Alway. Editor-in-Chief. 

HAMLIN TWP. — The Hamlin Township Board of Trustees chose to not put public transportation on the ballot. The request came from the Committee for Hamlin Transportation which had asked the board to place a request for up to 1 mill on the August ballot.

See related story here. 

Several residents spoke on both sides of the issue during public comment. When it came time to take action, trustees spoke.

“I think it’s premature,” trustee Johnaine Gurzynski said about the request.

“I don’t think we have enough information,” said Trustee Larry Rees. “I don’t see any real figures. I’m not interested in putting this on the ballot.”

“In my opinion this was put together rather quickly,” Clerk Catherine Lewis said. “I would like to see more information. If you want the democracy, it seems more people here who are not for it than those who are for it.”

Barry Mathhews, co-chair of the committee, also known as Hamlin Rides, admitted that the committee may not have been as prepared as it should be in requesting a millage request.

Sonja Collier, co-chair, said the next step will be to meet with Ludington Mass Transit Authority and get more information on costs.

She said once that information is accumulated the committee plans to approach the township board again. If they are denied, the committee will take out a petition to request a referendum.

During the public comment portion of Thursday’s meeting, citizens spoke on both sides of the issue.

Jim Peterson of North Lincoln Road, asked how long the millage would last. He said he was concerned that people already can’t pay their taxes. “If you look at our tax rolls, look at how many people are delinquent on their property taxes? Every little bit becomes a whole lot.” Peterson said he was concerned that people who were south for the winter would not be able to voice their views on the issue.

Randy Bowden of Jagger Road said the LMTA buses are inefficient and often only have one person on them.

Bill Smith of Travis Road said he was not necessarily opposed to public transportation but was concerned about the costs.

Dr. Glenn Walquist of M-116 said he was in favor of public transportation. “I think mass transit in Hamlin Township would make our community a better community,” he said.

Bill Collier of Mavis Road, who is in favor of public transportation, said that the purpose of the public comment segment was so residents could voice their concerns, not vote on the actual issue. He said the actual amount of the cost of transportation is not currently known but the request would be for no more than 1 mill. “One mill is one mill no matter where you live,” he said.

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