2012-12-06 / Front Page

Determining validity of petitions subject of board vote

By Krista Tacey-Cater

During the Roscommon County Commissioners Nov. 28 work session the board agreed to vote on hiring an election specialist attorney to determine the validity of the petition signatures the Citizens for Township Consolidation collected in support earlier this year of the consolidation of Denton, Lake, Markey and Roscommon Townships. The vote will be taken at a regular meeting later in December.

Chairman Bob Schneider (District 3) said the question as to whether or not the signatures would still be valid became an issue because the signatures would be nearly two years old when the issue of consolidation is voted on again.

According to an Oct. 8, 2012 letter from Attorney Andre Borrello to Controller Cheryl Mollard, “the BOC should set the consolidation election for February 25, 2014, and if approved, the BOC must call an election of the township board for the newly consolidated township at a subsequent 2014 August primary and the 2014 November general election.”

Schneider said he is “sensitive” to both the CTC members and the town- ships that are effected by the consolidation. He said for the sake of the townships he wants to make sure the signatures will still be valid and not later find out they have expired. He added he also doesn’t want the CTC to be told the signatures have expired when they were really valid.

“I think that you need to have more current petitions,” Denton Township Clerk Carol Asher told the board.

She said when it does come time to vote on the consolidation matter there could be people who previously signed the petition who no longer agree with the consolidation, others could have moved away from the county or could have died. She said a more up-to-date list of people should be taken.

“If we have to go out for more petitions so be it,” CTC President Dave Emmons said as he just wants the public to have the right to vote on the matter.

Schneider then brought up the issue of who will be paying for the election specialist attorney fees. He suggested that the townships effected by the consolidation be responsible for the fees as the other seven townships would not be effected by the consolidation.

Commissioner Lowell Souder (District 5) said he didn’t think the county should pay for the fees and Commissioner Ken Melvin (District 2) suggested getting a cost estimate. While Vice-chair Marc Milburn said the county should be responsible for the fees.

“I believe we should take the lead and resolve this issue,” Milburn said. “We need a definitive answer [on the signatures validity].”

Schneider said if hiring an attorney is approved the decision the attorney makes on the signatures validity is final. He added he does not have to hire an attorney and have one side or the other dispute the attorney’s opinion because it wasn’t it their favor.

“Whatever is render that’s what [the decision] is,” Schneider said.

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