HOLLY TOWNSHIP, Michigan – The issue won’t be added to the November ballot unless an individual citizen or group of citizens petitions in favor of adding two seats to the Holly Township Board of Trustees.
Supervisor Jesse Lambert asked for the matter to be discussed during the April 18 board meeting.
Lambert said his reasoning for requesting the discussion stemmed from the November 2008 election in which Proposal 2008-21 – a proposal that would take the board from five members to seven, failed by a margin of just 23 votes.
“I think that slim margin is reason enough to put it on the ballot,” Trustee Janet Leslie said. “The upcoming election is a general election, so it is a cost efficient time to have it on the ballot.”
Clerk Karin Winchester said the township was required to put the matter on the November of 2008 ballot when it reached a certain amount of registered voters, and was not in favor of a board-driven ballot proposal later this year. “I believe that it should be citizen-initiated to change the way that their government operates,” she said. “Even though there was a slight margin, it was also maybe 25-percent of the registered electors that even voted on it.”
Holly Township Treasurer, Mark...
Treasurer Mark Freeman agreed with Winchester. “Now to put it on again, it should be, in my opinion, a citizens’ petition because the voters already voted on it, and they voted it down,” he said. “To start talking about what kind of a margin it was is like saying if someone lost the election in 2008 by a slim margin, that they should automatically go back on the ballot again.”
Lambert said he was in favor of adding the issue to the ballot for two reasons – better representation and a lower official-to-constituent ratio, and for the fact that a bigger board would bring the ability to form executive committees.
“In other words, having the treasurer, supervisor and the clerk be able to meet outside the board room to assess township issues, whether they be daily, operational or form some sort of executive subcommittee to provide items or push for leadership at the board level for board level business,” he said.
Leslie reiterated her support, stating that two more members would equate to more discussion and more people looking at important township issues. “Right now, the administrative positions are the majority of the board, so we may not have tie votes, or in some cases, much discussion because the majority has the daily duties that pertain to some of these things.”
Trustee Steve Ruth reminded fellow board members that additional trustees would mean additional expense. Currently, trustees earn a per diem rate amounting to approximately $3,200 per year, and they do not receive any benefits.
Leslie made the motion to add the proposal to the November ballot with Lambert’s support, but the motion failed without the support of Ruth, Winchester or Freeman.