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Village recommendation doesn’t add up

Tribune Staff • Feb 24, 2017 at 1:00 PM

Did we hear that right?

Did a “disincorporation work group” recommend this week to Spring Lake Village Council that the idea of dissolving the village government should be tossed out? But just to be sure, they recommend spending some village money to craft a charter amendment to create a mechanism for a disincorporation to be put before village voters.

And just for good measure, let’s spend some more village staff time and money to educate village residents on something the group says is not a good idea. The group is recommending people vote it down should it make it to a ballot.

Wait a minute. Isn’t the whole idea behind Village President Joyce Verplank Hatton’s drive to dissolve the village, and make it just a portion of Spring Lake Township, to save village taxpayers’ money?

And while Hatton complained that the group is “one-sided” in opposition to disincorporation, it was headed up by her nephew, Tony Verplank. And a “pro-disincorporation” attorney was a member of the group, at Hatton’s request.

We’re not sure it all adds up.

Meanwhile, Village Council is spending time revising City Manager Christine Burns’ contract to offer her some protection should her job be eliminated by disincorporation. We don’t blame her for wanting that financial protection; it’s just that it shouldn’t be necessary.

To be clear, owners of property within the village pay the highest property tax bills in this area, but it is their choice to live in Spring Lake Village. And it should be their choice to dissolve the village, if that’s what they decide.

But a “grassroots, independent work group” of village citizens has issued a recommendation to drop the idea.

Hatton, and anyone else supporting the idea of disincorporation, need to move on. Wasting village funds to beat what is becoming a dead horse is bad government.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Mark Brooky. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

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