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March 21, 2019 11:53 pm

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Saugatuck Township Recycling Ballot Tax Request Is County Boondoggle At Its Worst

      Normally, Observer Newspapers does not take editorial stances on candidates or local ballot initiatives.
        But the upcoming Nov. 8 ballot request by Allegan County officials that will impact all Saugatuck Township residents is such a taxpayer rip-off and boondoggle it merits a strong stance against it.
        Allegan County officials are asking you through your vote to approve a mandatory $36 per year recycling surcharge/tax that, if passed, you would have to pay for the next five years. And after that five years? The Allegan County Board of Commissioners can vote to extend it and increase the rates without your okay or vote, if you vote to pass the upcoming recycling tax/surcharge request next week.
        Right now, Saugatuck Township has a “voluntary” $25 per year surcharge/tax put on your annual township tax bill that most of you don’t even know you’re paying and that you can opt-out of simply by calling Saugatuck Township officials and demand to have that charge taken off your tax bill.
     (To have it removed from your township tax bill call: (269) 857-7721.
       Township and county officials have been taking your money for years with this “voluntary tax” and have seldom, if ever, taken steps to warn you they’ve been dipping into your pockets to fund this county recycling program, even if you already pay a private carter to handle your recyclables.
        As questionable as the township officials’ actions have been in that matter, it pales in comparison to what Allegan County officials - and some township officials - are asking you to do now to increase and make mandatory that recycling tax out of your own pockets.
        Oh, and by the way, Saugatuck Township voters already voted down this county/township’s request for a mandatory recycling surchage/tax back in August, but the sneaky little greedy devils quickly and quietly voted to put it back on this November’s ballot to try to get another bite of this poisoned apple!
        Simply put, recycling is a good thing. What’s not so good is a county/township money grab that county records obtained by The Local Observer show will cost local taxpayers a hell of a lot more than $36 per year and serve only a fraction of township residents!
        After more county information has surfaced about this boondoggle tax request, even several current,  former and future Saugatuck Township officials and candidates are rejecting it and advising you to VOTE NO on the mandatory recycling tax request come Nov. 8. (See some of their letters and opinions below and inside this issue.)
     We’ll let the facts speak for themselves. Allegan County and township records obtained by The Local Observer verify that:
   * The Allegan County Resource Recovery Program is a financial disaster and does not and will not generate enough revenue from your Saugatuck Township recycling taxes - EVEN IF YOU VOTE NOV. 8TH FOR THE $36 ANNUAL MANDATORY SURCHARGE - to meet its required and anticipated costs in the years ahead. The county will need - and demand - more of your money in 2017/18 if you vote to pass this mandatory county recycling tax request because it has already been announced that recycling disposal costs are going up at that time. These additional increased costs will all have to be paid by all township residents - the county doesn’t contribute a nickel to fund this program. What it also does is get you to help pay for a county recycling coordinator position for this failed program while Allegan County pays nothing for it!
   *Of the 1,701 Saugatuck Township household taxpayers who are currently billed $25 annually on their tax bills (even if you don’t know it) for county recycling services, only 43.5% of our township residents use the county curbside recycling program. What that means is the  majority of our township residents are paying/subsidizing other residents’ recyclables’ pickup costs. The fact is, if you live in Saugatuck Township now and you have private garbarge/recycling pickup, you’re getting nothing for your money! It gets worse - and will cost most township residents even more - if you vote to approve the new mandatory $36 recycling tax on Nov. 8.
   * Allegan County pays nothing to run its recycling program; the costs here are all born by Saugatuck Township residents and any negative balance at the end of the year is billed by the county to Saugatuck Township and that taxpayer money is taken out of the township’s general fund to pay it. And that’s over and above the $25 “voluntary fee” most of you are already currently paying!
   * The Allegan Couny recycling program isn’t financially able to pay for itself if slightly more than 50% of township residents even decide to use the county program. It is the only county program that can’t pay for itself the more people who use it! It only works if they can charge you a volunteer or mandatory fee and most township taxpayers don’t use the program! Fiscal insanity, say financial experts.
        There’s a lot more, but you get the idea. Is this upcoming county/township mandatory recycling fee request on the Nov. 8 ballot a boondoggle? You betcha! Vote NO on Nov. 8th.

Saugatuck Township Recycling Ballot Tax Request Is County Boondoggle At Its Worst

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