Attorney says petition to dissolve village won't work

The Spring Lake Village charter and a grassroots petition drive may get tangled up in court.
Marie Havenga
May 15, 2012

Village resident Joyce Hatton and about 30 volunteers collected 383 signatures over the past two months to get the question of dissolving the village on the Aug. 7 ballot. Hatton said if the village disincorporated and became part of the township, village residents would save hundreds in annual village taxes.

Hatton turned in the petitions on Friday, several days before today's deadline.

But according to village attorney Bob Sullivan, even if the petition is certified by the county and two-thirds of registered village voters approve the ballot measure in August, “there appears to be no authority for the village residents to vote for such an action.”

The village was chartered under the Home Rule Village Act of 1909, according to Sullivan, and that act makes no provision for dissolution of a village.

“The vast majority in Michigan are General Law villages,” Sullivan told Village Council at a work session Monday night, adding that it appears the petition was circulated under the rules of the General Law Villages Act of 1895.

Sullivan said if the petition cannot do what it was intended to do, it cannot be withdrawn once it is filed.

Hatton was not at Monday night's council work session.

“As far as I'm concerned, the petitions are good,” Hatton said later Monday night. “They were certified and they were filed. I'm looking forward to a successful vote. Until someone formally objects, I just assume it's going to go through.”

Village Council is expected to formally vote on a course of action at 7 p.m. Monday, May 21.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.




You know it's such a shame that it's so hard to find good, honest legal help these days.


Well if that is the case Mr. Sullivan then, find out whom CAN make the decision, like um.....a JUDGE! Perhaps, you should read chapter two of your attorney manual. I'm with you @fmiller13...well said. Mrs Hatton, you go girl and don't let the turkeys stand in your way.

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