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What will disincorporation really mean to us?

Dear Editor,

The Villagers of Sand Lake are in a situation that could have been avoided had petitioners brought their concerns to the Village Council first. Because the petitioners failed to do this, we have to decide to remain incorporated or to disincorporate, without having a chance to find out what it will truly mean to us.

Many people who signed the petition were deceived and wanted to have their signatures taken off the petition. Some people who signed have grievances over their assessments, taxes, sewer, water, police, ordinances, or don’t want to be told what to do by anyone.

If we disincorporate, the Nelson Township Board will represent us, and they won’t advocate for us. I’ve heard they don’t want to take us on. We need to preserve our local government, our “voice”, and community. Information about what will happen is speculative, confusing, misleading, and has been “spun” to support petitioners’ personal agendas.

I want true and accurate information. Some things we don’t and won’t know unless we enter into disincorporation, including how long it will take – maybe two years? It will mean that many valued services to Villagers will be changed to reflect Nelson Township’s plan for us. Nelson Township will become our governing body, and the taxes we pay will be spent according to the priorities set by the township – not our Village.

If we’re disincorporated, there will no longer be a council or committees to plan specifically for Sand Lake Village’s future. Legal fees for the disincorporation will have to be paid  for directly to the township. The road debt of 3.95 mills will have to be paid through a special assessment or debt retirement millage, if the township decides to pay it off sooner. The same applies to our water well debt.

Operation of our sewer and water system will be more expensive. Response time to sewer/water emergencies and storm damage clean up will be slower. Availability and access to police, fire, and rescue services will change. Kent County Sheriff’s Deputies will provide all police coverage with no time to patrol regularly, watch speeding, or handle other problems and crimes that occur here. There’s no plan as to how fire and rescue coverage would work or whether our fire station will even be occupied and operating.

Our Village Cemetery, Salisbury Park, the White Pine Trail Park, summer mowing, brush and leaf pick up, plowing and snow removal, and any other services our current DPW provides will be discontinued, scaled back, contracted out, or we’ll have to pay for these services ourselves instead.

I think that our Incorporated Village of Sand Lake gives us all a greater “voice” in getting our local needs, wants, and concerns met. Petitioners never gave the Villagers the opportunity to find out what disincorporation will truly mean to us all in the future. Once we disincorporate, it will be virtually impossible to go back.

Janice Dewey
Long-time Village Resident

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