2008-11-13 / Letters to the Editor

Supervisor supports townships

This is in response to letter by Marge Maguire on Townships. Ms. Maguire is sadly misinformed. She compares the city of Mt. Pleasant to Roscommon County because both have about 25,000 residents.

Take a look at the tax rates and you will see you do not have a valid comparison. Mt. Pleasant's total tax rate is 60.3620 mills according to the Mt. Pleasant web site. According to the Michigan Department of Treasury, the average tax rate of Mt. Pleasant is 47.15 mills. The average rate for Isabella County is 39.39 mills with Roscommon County at 30.67 mills. Note that the state uses a different method for the state tax rate tables. The above information is available on line at the state web site.

The City of Mt. Pleasant collected $7,116,373.00 in city taxes for 2007. Compare this to a total of $5,386,652.00 in combined township taxes for the 11 townships in Roscommon County for 2007. Ms. Maguire is implying that Mt. Pleasant is more efficient, yet the city spent approximately $1.7 million more than the townships to govern the same number of people. Her logic seems to be somewhat off the wall.

As far as apples and oranges go, take a look at Clinton Charter Township in Macomb County. Clinton Charter Township has a population of about 97,000 people. This is about 3.8 times the population of Mt. Pleasant. For 2007 Clinton Township collected $14 million in township taxes, not quite double Mt. Pleasant's $7.1 million in city tax. This works out to a cost of governance of $284 per resident for Mt. Pleasant, versus $144.00 per resident in Clinton Charter Township. The average tax rate for Clinton Charter Township is 27.54 mills. Clinton Charter Township wins the efficiency contest hands down.

Using Ms. Maguire's logic, we apparently should eliminate cities and villages also. Mt. Pleasant is only 7 square miles, versus 36 square miles for a standard size Michigan Township. A township is a representative form of government, the same as a village, city, county, on up to the federal government. Other than having an assigned size, a township is similar to other forms of government. Townships can provide the same services as a village or a city unless state law prohibits the township from doing so. Recent studies have shown townships to be very cost effective in providing needed services.

Also, Ms. Maguire's comments about Diane Randall are very misleading. I have known Diane for over 25 years and have worked with her for eight years on various boards and committees. I would not consider her a member of "the privileged class". If she is a member, she got there by working hard and doing a good job. During the eight years I have worked with Ms. Randall, she has always supported consolidating services between the townships. s/Fred Chidester Prudenville

(Editor's note: Mr. Chidester is Denton Township Supervisor for another week. He was defeated in the general election Nov. 4th.)

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