GH Township says yes to Harbor Transit, transportation millage

Harbor Transit buses will be rolling down Grand Haven Township roads as early as January 2012 - perhaps even sooner, officials said Tuesday after the approval of a special millage proposal. Township voters approved a 0.95-mill transportation tax, 1,060 to 739, or 59-41 percent. The results remain unofficial until the Ottawa County Board of Canvassers reviews them, Township Clerk Sue Buitenhuis said.
Kyle Moroney
May 4, 2011

 

Just under 1,800 of the township’s 11,609 registered voters (15.5 percent) turned in ballots for Tuesday’s millage election. Of the total votes, 877 were absentee ballots.

The five-year transportation tax will include about 0.45 mill for the Harbor Transit expansion into the township; as well as provide funds — about 0.5 mill — to repair, construct or reconstruct roads, bridges or drainage structures. This equates to about $95 per year for a home with a taxable value of $100,000, according to Township Manager Bill Cargo.

Although the millage rate will change from year to year, depending on ridership levels and state and federal funding, it will remain flat for each of the participating municipalities: the cities of Grand Haven and Ferrysburg, and Spring Lake and Grand Haven townships, officials have said.

“I think this is a plus for all the residents in the township,” Grand Haven Township Supervisor Karl French said Tuesday night. “The majority of voters recognize that we need to maintain our streets and supplement that fund to maintain good streets, as well as provide transportation for all walks of life — which takes us a step in that direction.”

French and Harbor Transit Director Tom Manderscheid were awaiting the millage results at the Township Hall after the polls closed Tuesday night.

“Harbor Transit is very excited with the vote,” Manderscheid said. “We are looking forward to moving forward, and hoping to do a nice job of representing the

Grand Haven Charter Township residents. So we’re pleased.”

A majority of the election results were calculated fairly quickly after the polls closed at 8 p.m. However, voting machines at the two precincts located at Lakeshore Baptist Academy had issues with entering absentee ballots, giving a different result from the poll book, Buitenhuis said.

“Because they were off, they had to have someone from the county clerk’s office come reset the machines and then run the ballots all back through a second time,” she said. “It wasn’t really an issue — sometimes that just happens.”

Now that all the Harbor Transit member communities have approved the bylaws to form a transportation authority, and that Grand Haven Township voters approved a millage to expand into the township, plans are in the works to get buses rolling through as early as January or February, Manderscheid said.

“The next step for us will be to begin to form the authority, and then meet with that authority and get some guidance as to how we want to proceed as a group informing what I call the ‘new’ Harbor Transit,” he said.

The transportation authority will include two members from each of the participating communities, as well as a member-at-large — likely from the public — to form a nine-member committee.

“It’s very nice to see the units of government for the past two years sit down and work out all the details of bringing it to this point today,” Manderscheid said Tuesday night. “Each person had a vital role in what we’re attempting to do — and it was very, very rewarding to see that we’re all on the same page.”

French agreed, stating it is time to work cohesively with other municipalities, especially as gas prices continue to spike past $4 per gallon. “The collaboration with other communities to provide services is an important thing in today’s society,” he said.

Comments

dyankee

The results of this vote are already corupt. Out of 1,500 ballots 58.5%(877 votes) were absentee ballots and this is exactly where the so called problem was at the Lakeshore Baptist precincts. How convenient for the proponents of this tax increase for area residents.

Resetting voting machines and run the votes through again!! According to Sue Buitenhuis, "It wasn't really an issue-sometimes that just happens." Are you kidding me? Provide the name of the individual that ran the votes back through, were they authorized by the board of elections or a supporter of this tax?

In addition, Manage Bill Cargo is also mis-leading residence. It is not $95 per $100,000 T.V. it is $195. If you your home is worth $220,000 it will be approx. $225 per year. In 3-5 years it will be over $300.

Wake up Grand Haven, this is about the global warming environmentalist believers forcing you to give up your SUVs and trucks(eventually) to take public transportation to work AND to grow Goverment. Mr. Karl French, it is NOT the tax payers responsibility to ensure transportation for all walks of life, it is each individual's responsibility. The residence of Grand Haven, you're a sleep at the switch. Unbelievable.

dickdevoss

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BBB

Typical government agenda, give to the people who wont do for themselves
City services have no place in township
This service looses money in the city how can it work from 8 miles out ?
If elected officials worked as hard at cutting costs and free handouts
as they do creating new taxes, hard working people that pay for all of it would
help boost our econemy rather than supporting a select failing service

RECOUNT RECOUNT RECOUNT

BBB

Typical government agenda, give to the people who wont do for themselves
City services have no place in township
This service looses money in the city how can it work from 8 miles out ?
If elected officials worked as hard at cutting costs and free handouts
as they do creating new taxes, hard working people that pay for all of it would
help boost our econemy rather than supporting a select failing service

RECOUNT RECOUNT RECOUNT

common cents

I'd like to see some info. on the usage rates of the Harbor Transit.
Whenever I see the busses in town, they look to be empty.
Anyone have any stats?

moose

For stats on the Harbor Transit ridership, look here:
http://www.michigan.gov/mdot/0,1...
According to MDOT, they had 125,700 riders in 2009, the most current fiscal year on record.

As a city resident who doesn't use Harbor Transit, I still see the need and value of a service like this. There are many elderly people who either choose not to drive or are not able to, who use this service to get around. Young people who attend the high school may be better able to be involved in extracurricular activities, or stay after school to get extra help now, when previously, they were unable to due to a lack of transportation. I think that people who are complaining about "absentee votes" are not thinking about the fact that many people over 60 vote absentee, due to these same transportation issues. Maybe if Harbor Transit were there, they'd be better able to get to the polls.

ghxpat

I see Harbor Transit service to the Township as a welcome and needed service, and am glad to see it put in place. You've just opened up transportation alternatives for a good many people, and their lives will be improved by it.

I. Trollu

Make em all walk, come hell or high water! Why would a city want to provide services like transportation for it's citizens? Look at them, all smug on their public buses, getting the last laugh...not this time gentlemen! Recount and Revolution!

AtomicRooster

The question lies here; is this going to create jobs?

 

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