Local & Area Election Results See Recycling Program Dumped; Millages Approved
The Saugatuck Township electorate resoundingly defeated Allegan County’s controversial recycling proposal in Tuesday’s general election, defeating it with 1,093 no votes against 670 yes votes.
Also, the township has a new supervisor in Republican Jon Phillips who beat Democratic challenger Jon Helmrich. Phillips garnered 1,066 votes to Helmrich’s 912 votes.
Unlike the cities of Saugatuck and Douglas, the township’s election is partisan.
The Saugatuck Township board race had four-year open seats, with voters choosing incumbent clerk Brad Rudich (1,404 votes), treasurer Lori Babinski (1,417), and trustee Roy McIlwaine (1,183) all running unopposed to get re-elected on the GOP ticket.
Newcomer Doug Lane, also unopposed and a Republican, was elected with 1,289 votes to fill the trustee seat left vacant by Phillips.
All local results are unofficial, as Allegan County canvassers still have to verify the results.
In the City of Saugatuck, four incumbents vying for five open, two-year seats won re-election, including Mark Bekken (337 votes), Barry Johnson (311), Ken Trester (339), and Jane Verplank (298).
Newcomer candidate Joe Leonatti’s 219 votes was not enough to secure a seat on council.
Also, the Saugatuck electorate voted to renew the 15-year, 1.79 millage dedicated to street maintenance and repair project.
In the City of Douglas, two newcomers - Linda Anderson (309 votes) and Patricia Lion (401 votes) - were elected along with the re-election of two incumbents, Neal Seabert (372) and James Wiley (440). All four candidate ran unopposed, as there were four open, two-year seats.
“First, I would thank Jon Helmrich for running a great township supervisor campaign,” said Phillips following his successful bid. “One of our big priorities is to start focusing on improving our information system (Internet service around the township). We also need to respond to (the need for improved) police service. It should be done as a group effort (Tri-Community).”
Of the failed county recycling request, Phillips noted, “Voters spoke by turning it down. We want recycling, but not something that will be unfair and costly. We will start researching other options.”
The failed county proposal mandated a $36 per year recycling surcharge/tax for five years, but records obtained by The Local Observer showed the cost would have been a lot more than the county cited and would have had most taxpayers subsidizing others’ recycling costs.
Of the 1,701 township household taxpayers who are currently billed $25 annually on their tax bills - many of whom were unaware the township put that charge on their annual tax bills - for county recycling services, only 43.5% of township residents use the county recycling program, meaning the majority of residents would be paying for others recycling costs.
In the race for three Fennville Public Schools’ board seats, Dave Johnson (1,528 votes), Manuel Sanchez (1,470) and Jayson Hicks (1,345) earned the public’s nod.
In Glenn, an operating millage renewal proposal was approved by a tally of 176 to 38.
In Hamilton, an operating millage renewal also gained voters approval by a 4,931 to 1,666 margin.
County election leaders say voter turnout was fairly high during this year’s election fueled by the national presidential race.