Mistakes and ommissions in Arthur coverage

January 24, 2019

Dear Editor and Arthur Township Board,

There are a lot of mistakes and omissions in your one sided coverage of the problems in Arthur Township which are not about “Fire Protection”. Everyone wants fire protection. The problem is most people want a general millage applied to the assessed value of all property owned which is also an indication of ability to pay.

The board voted not to put a general millage on the November ballot. The board did not decide to put the special fire district assessment on the ballot but were forced to do so by a successful petition started when the board tried to impose this upon the property owners by executive action without voter approval. That assessment would exempt undeveloped land and placed the burden totally on developed land owners. That means the owner of a 1000 acre parcel of prime farm land considered undeveloped would be assessed and pay nothing while a small house on a couple acres would pay the undeveloped land’s tax burden. In addition a special assessment unlike a millage can be raised each year without further voter approval. Voters in our township have experienced a special assessment for garbage pick-up imposed a few years ago by board executive action with no vote by the people. It has almost doubled in cost going from $80 to $150 with no voter approval required. The voters indicated they do not want or need another special assessment. This fire assessment is an abuse of Act 33 of 1951, probably illegal and more complicated than a general millage to administrate which is not this board’s strong suit.

The real problem is this board sat and watched their unrestricted funds go down to zero for a couple years according to audit reports filed on line with the Michigan Treasury Department. Township spending on administrative expenses is out of control with the exception ironically of the fire protection which is administered by the County and has had small increases in single digits compared to others in double and triple digits. The board is using the threat of no fire protection to intimidate voters into approving another special assessment. Does anyone believe that no one would respond if a person passing through our township accidently starts a fire and dials 911? Imagine the law suits.

The financial records are in disarray. The board has failed to file and pay payroll tax when due resulting in $3,337 in penalty and interest. They cannot balance their bank statements or find all the invoices that are supposed to be in the office. One treasurer has resigned and the one appointed says she took an oath of office requiring accountability and transparency which she takes seriously and things will change or she will be gone.

The problem is not that we don’t want fire protection. The problem is this board has financial priority problems.

Kurt Krug

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