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

Enviro-Mich message from Andrew Mutch <andrewimutch@yahoo.com>


You've touched on what I've seen as a major problem
with the current City-Township relations around the
state. Many Townships have developed water and sewage
facilties to fend off annexation when those same
services could easily been provided by the neighboring
City. The boondoggle that's been undertaken in Sylvan
Township is a perfect example of this. These
duplicative facilities don't make any sense at all.

However, I'm not sure if I agree with your solution.
The revenue from water and sewer services alone don't
address the impact from development when they occur on
the border between a City and Township. Many times,
those developments create costs on the City that can
only be recouped through annexation, at least under
our current system. While many communities don't
cooperate now, I think freezing borders would lead to
even less cooperation.

Also, freezing borders doesn't address the demands
that development can place on Township budgets.
Urbanization in just a small area of a Township can
affect all Township taxpayers. Urbanization brings
demands for more police, fire and other government
services and the costs often get passed along to all
Township taxpayers. This in turn leads to more
urbanization as farmers and others are forced by taxes
to sell out to developers and a vicious cycle ensues.
In most cases, it would be much more efficient for the
neighboring City to provide those services. 

What's needed is a way for urbanization to occur that
ensures that both the needs of cities and surrounding
townships are met. At the very least, it requires a
tax-sharing component. However, Townships also need to
realize that development is often their biggest enemy
to keeping taxes low and maintaining rural and open

Andrew Mutch

--- Mike Bitondo <mbitondo@chartermi.net> wrote:
> Enviro-Mich message from "Mike Bitondo"
> <mbitondo@chartermi.net>
> 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

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