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Re: E-M:/ Changes to Annexation Laws good or bad idea?



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Enviro-Mich message from "Mike Bitondo" <mbitondo@chartermi.net>
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I think current annexation laws are major impediment to cooperation between
townships & cities, at least as far as water & wastewater services are
concerned.  I think the best solution is to freeze all municipal boundaries
where they are.

When I was a township trustee from '88 - '92 fear of annexation and how to
prevent it was a regular topic conversation.  Yet 10+ years later it has
never happened.  To prevent annexation, townships feel they have to provide
services themselves so we end up with several little wastewater treatment
plants within a few miles of each other.  This is very inefficient and costs
taxpayers unnecessarily.

On the other hand cities won't extend services without annexation.  Why not?
The City of Detroit sells water & sewer service all over SE Michigan without
annexation.  Why can't other cities do that?

I believe this contributes to degraded water quality.  Some wastewater
plants, whether large or small, have problems.  If state & local governments
could focus their efforts on one regional facility instead of a bunch of
little ones, cleaner water would be the result.

Freezing municipal boundaries certainly wouldn't solve all lack of
cooperation problems, but it would help.

Mike Bitondo
mbitondo@chartermi.net

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Andrew Mutch" <andrewimutch@yahoo.com>
To: <enviro-mich@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Tuesday, June 03, 2003 10:02 AM
Subject: E-M:/ Changes to Annexation Laws good or bad idea?


> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Enviro-Mich message from Andrew Mutch <andrewimutch@yahoo.com>
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> The Detroit Free Press recently endorsed proposed
> changes to annexation laws in Michigan:
>
> http://www.freep.com/voices/editorials/eannex31_20030531.htm
>
> This has been a long time goal of Townships who view
> the current laws as biased against them. Also, recent
> cases, like the annexation of land to Pontiac from
> Bloomfield Township to avoid the Township's zoning
> requirements have added fuel to the fire. The Free
> Press also stated that these changes might lead to
> better land use patterns.
>
> However, I'm concerned that the opposite might happen.
> First, it's clear that the changes to the law will
> effectively end annexations in Michigan. For example,
> future annexations will require the separate approval
> of voters of the annexing city, the area to be annexed
> and the Township from which land will be annexed. That
> means that a single voter in the area to be annexed
> could defeat a proposal that is supported by both the
> City and Township. In cities like Ann Arbor, where
> there are Township islands completely surrounded by
> the City, those Township residents will be able to
> enjoy all of the amenities of living in the City
> without contributing to the cost of those services and
> the City will have no ability to annex those
> properties. Even if the residents approve the
> annexation, the remainder of the Township could block
> the annexation even though in some cases, like in Ann
> Arbor, the border with the remainder of the Township
> is miles away. In Novi, Novi Township provides a
> mini-Monaco tax shelter for 150 residents who enjoy
> all of the benefits of living in the City while paying
> much lower taxes. The Township provides no services of
> its own and provides nothing to the greater community.
>
>
> While cases like the Bloomfield Township case get the
> most press, most annexations take place in areas where
> one central city or village is growing into
> surrounding area. In many cases, annexation represent
> the natural extension of urban services and the
> central city or village is best positioned to provide
> those services. In the future, there will be no
> incentive for cities and villages to extend those
> services to surrounding communities if they can not
> get the benefits that come with development. That will
> force those Townships to develop urban infrastructure
> and services even though most of the Townships
> residents won't need those services. That could lead
> to increased taxes which would then lead to
> development pressures on farmers and other large
> landholders. In the long run, we may see more
> urbanization and weaker cities and villages.
>
> Andrew Mutch
> Novi
>
>
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