Village voters to decide charter revision question Nov. 7

Marie Havenga • Nov 4, 2017 at 9:00 AM

SPRING LAKE — Village voters will decide next week if they would like a committee to review and revise the Village Charter, or leave it as is.

The ballot question has been a bit confusing, because, in the August primary elections, village voters defeated a proposal to amend the charter.

The proposals are distinctly different and have nothing to do with each other.

The August question was led by then-Village President Joyce Hatton, who sought to amend one section of the charter to allow a means for disincorporating the village and making it part of Spring Lake Township. Tuesday's ballot question, if approved, would set up a review of the entire Village Charter.

According to the current charter, the question of revising it is to be placed before the electors every 20 years. The charter was last revised in 1997.

If village voters approve the Nov. 7 ballot question, they would then decide on a five-member Charter Commission in a subsequent election. Commission members would review the charter in its entirety, and potentially make suggestions for changes.

Village Manager Chris Burns said Village Council members decided to put the charter amendment and charter revision questions on separate ballots because having both appear on the August primary ballot likely would have caused major confusion.

“It would have been possible to put both the amendment question and the revision question on the same ballot,” she said. “Due to the fact that it's so confusing, (Village) Council didn't want them on the same ballot, hence the reason we pushed so hard to get the amendment on the August ballot.”

Burns said two elections cost more than one, but each issue had the ability to stand on its own.

“It would have been a huge challenge to explain the difference to voters if they were on the same ballot,” Burns said.

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