SLT puts Harbor Transit on ballot

Marie Havenga • Jul 21, 2015 at 2:49 PM

The Township Board voted 5-2 Monday night to put a proposition on the November ballot that, if approved, would expand the dial-a-ride service to all areas of the township.

Harbor Transit currently services four Spring Lake Township locations on a contractual basis — Orchard Market, Oakcrest Manor, Heartwood Lodge and Lloyd's Bayou Senior Apartments.

Township Clerk Carolyn Boersma and Trustee Larry Mierle voted against putting the question on the ballot.

After a pause when his name was called in a roll call vote, Township Supervisor John Nash said, “Yes, I guess.”

“Do understand this is to put it on the ballot,” Nash added. “It shouldn't be considered an endorsement by individuals or the board.”

Nash previously said the Township Board works hard to keep its millage rate low and he doesn't want to threaten that with an additional levy.

The proposal calls for up to 0.7 mill to be levied for bus service. Currently, taxpayers in Grand Haven, Ferrysburg, Grand Haven Township and Spring Lake Village pay 0.6 mill, according to Harbor Transit Transportation Director Tom Manderscheid.

Manderscheid said if Spring Lake Township voters approve the measure, he would like to mirror the lower levy there, which would cost the owner of a $200,000 home an additional $60 a year in property tax. If the full 0.7 mill is levied, it would generate $471,000 a year for the bus service.

“We're very excited,” Manderscheid said. “The voters can now decide. We're up for the challenge.”

Although the Township Board did not discuss the issue Monday, aside from voting to place it on the ballot, last month Mierle said he's never been excited about expanding the bus service because he doesn't think there are enough local destinations to make it feasible.

“We don't have a Wal-Mart or Meijer to draw people to or from,” he said.

Boersma said she doesn't agree with the dial-a-ride structure, which she says cuts into commercial taxi cab business.

Read the complete story in today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.

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