Q: Why is it important for me to vote on May 3rd?
A: A two-thirds super-majority vote is required to pass this ballot measure. Which means two YES votes are required for every no vote.
Q: Who signed and circulated petitions to allow the vote of this ballot measure?
A: Only residents of the Village of Richland could sign the petitions. Additionally, only Village residents circulated petitions to other registered voters within the Village of Richland. Village residents have asked Township Residents to help "reclaim" their village on May 3rd.
Q: Why did Village residents decide to ask Township residents for help?
A: The Village Council has been broken for a long time. The present "two-tier" system of government (Village and Township) is duplicative, expensive, and redundant.
Q: Has the Village Council violated state laws?
A: Yes. At great tax-payer expense!
Q: Who opposes merger of the Village of Richland and Richland Township.
A: As predicted, members of the current and former Village Council, the Chief of Police, and their spouses are most active in the opposing campaign. See their campaign finance report here (Note: Their campaign finance report is in violation of the Michigan Campaign Finance Act - with several documented omissions).
Q: Will taxes go up for Richland Township residents if the Village of Richland is merged into Richalnd Township?
A: No. Assets of the Village of Richland currently exceed liabilities. Any remaining Village obligations will be covered by a portion of the 2016 taxes. There will be no tax increase in taxes to Richland Township residents and assets will be merged into Richland Township - for the benefit of all residents.
Q: Will taxes go up for Richland Village Residents if the Village of Richland if merged into Richland Township?
A: NO. Village residents are presently paying more than 50 percent of their annual tax dollars to duplicate services already provided and used effectively by Richland Township and surrounding communities. Village homeowner taxes will actually go down significantly - an average of approx. $1000 per year! Voting no would simply mean NO TAX REDUCTION!
Q: How will my property values be affected if the Village of Richland is merged into Richalnd Township?
A: The Village of Richland is already "in" Richland Township. The merger will significantly reduce the annual tax-burden for residents living in the Village, thereby increasing the desirability of buyers and the marketability for sellers.
Q: If I live in the Village of Richland, will I still have elected representation?
A: Yes. In fact, you will have access to elected officials who work for you full-time through Richland Township. Presently, your elected officials only work for you part-time. Additionally, the Village Council has struggled to keep elected positions in place (resulting in frequent appointments) and they've eliminated the elected positions of the Clerk and Treasurer - giving you less accountable elected representation.
Q: How will this merger benefit both the Village of Richland and Richland Village?
A: As one united community, all citizens will be treated equally and fairly as residents of "One Richland." Combining resources will benefit the entire community.
Q: If I am a Township resident, what's in it for me if I vote Yes?
A: You will be treated in a fair and equal manner. The Village of Richland has a ticket quota system to fund their coffers. Township residents and other "non-Village" citizens are specifically targeted by the Village Police for traffic stops under a policy to write as many minor traffic infraction tickets as possible. The ticket quotas are also necessarily high so the Village can apply for additional funding from the state that would not otherwise be available.
Q: How many tickets on average are written each year to Township residents?
A: Township residents and other citizens who live "outside" the Village limits are issued almost all of 1700 tickets issued per year. In contrast, Village residents are issued verbal warnings - and have even been given McDonalds gift certificates for the inconvenience of being stopped. For more information, please visit the Police Q&A page.
Q: Do you have documented examples of Village interference with other Townships and area businesses?
A: Yes. Several. Three components from one such incident were obtained through the Freedom of Information Act and Village Council acknowledgement:
Q: Who encourages mergers like the Village of Richland and Richland Township?
A: The Michigan State Legislature (and other state legislatures). Laws were passed that would promote government mergers like this one primarily to 1) reduce antiquated and redundant layers of government; 2) reduce expensive duplicated services; and 3) reduce the tax-burden of homeowners.
Q: Has this been done before with success?
A: Yes. This movement towards more efficiency in government is happening across the Nation with significant tax-savings for homeowners and communities.
Q: If I live in the Village, will I still have Police and Fire protection?
A: Yes. You already pay for both Police and Fire protection now and those will remain available to you as tax-payers who already live in Richland Township, the County of Kalamazoo, and the State of Michigan.
Q: Will the Richland District Library be affected if I VOTE YES?
A: No. As a District Library, it will not be affected by the vote - either way. By voting Yes, an unnecessary "layer" of government will simply be reduced with significant cost savings to tax-payers.
Q: Will the fun community events be affected if I VOTE YES?
A: No. The Richland Area Business Association (RABA) organizes the community events such as Wassailing, 4th of July Parade, Halloween, Art and Craft Fair. People are what make the community great and the residents and RABA will continue to organize and facilitate community events.
Ballot Language: Shall the incorporation of the Village be vacated - YES!
THANK YOU for taking the time to learn more about your May 3rd ballot measure. There is a path to a better tomorrow and it works.
Please VOTE YES on May 3rd.
Merge the Village of Richland and Richland Township...to reduce expensive/redundant layers of government, "double" taxation, and give Village residents the freedom of choice - to reduce costs for desired services.