Raisin Township residents protest road tax

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John Williams (ninth from left) interrupted the Raisin Township public hearing and urged those in attendance to stand up to show the board who opposed the special assessment district. Photo by Anthony Alaniz.

Residents had harsh words for the Raisin Township Board of Trustees Monday evening when the first of two public hearings was held in regards to the creation of a special assessment district to fund road maintenance and repairs for the township’s secondary roads.

More than 75 township residents attended the hearing at the Raisin Community Center as many aired their grievances with the board. Raisin Township Supervisor Jay Cavanaugh and board members Debra Brousseau and Dale Mitchell were absent from the hearing. Trustee Larry Crittenden chaired the meeting.

No one spoke in agreement about the assessment.

The creation of the district, which would encompass the entirety of Raisin Township, would assess every parcel owner $95 a year for five years to help fund road repairs. The flat fee would not increase based on property value, but it also doesn’t take into account how many parcels are owned by a person or the parcel owners income.

Wacker Chemical Corporation would pay $95 per owned parcel just like everyone else in the township. Lee Villa Estates, which is a mobile home park, would also only pay $95 — each resident would not be assessed.

Many in attendance saw this as unfair. Others who voiced their concern were upset that the board wouldn’t put a millage on the ballot.

“You seem to circumvent the will and desire of your constituents here in Raisin Township,” said Louis Robottaro. “I think the people’s will should survive.”

The deadline to place anything on the upcoming November ballot has passed. Any action taken now with a proposal wouldn’t be voted upon by the people until next year.

Some residents were leery of giving the township more money, as many saw the board has mismanaged much of what they already received.

“You bought a fancy sign we really don’t need,” said Genevieve Sullivan. “Sell that sign. Do something. Fix the roads!”

Brian Kinick felt the township has a history of railroading expensive items through without informing the residents, and the special assessment district is just the latest example of such effort.

“It seems like every time I come here the board is coming up with something shady again,” Kinick said. “I hope every voter in this township realizes what’s going on here and votes every single one of you people out of office.”

After the hearing, many of the attendees left while the board further discussed the creation of the district.

“I would highly recommend we don’t make this move tonight,” said Trustee Tom Hawkins. “I am absolutely convinced most of the people walked out tonight thought we were done. And I would hate to see us pass the resolution and create further resentment towards this board.”

The board was set to pass the resolution that would create the boundaries of the special assessment district — nothing more.

Township Attorney David Lacasse suggested the board could adjourn the meeting and present the resolution at the regular meeting scheduled for September 8, nothing that the second public hearing, which would be for the approval of the assessment roll, would have to be held by September 30.

“I’m really sympathetic with the folks who feel this was rushed,” said Hawkins.
The board voted to present the resolution at the Monday, Sept. 8, regular board meeting.

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