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March 18 10:09 PM
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Almont village council being too generous?


To the Editor:

There were a couple of articles in the local papers last week about reducing tap-in fees for sewer and water in the Drakeshire sub in the village of Almont in an effort to "kick start residential development." I must compliment the village residents on their generosity! Personally I have never felt the need for new neighbors so strongly as to financially subsidize them. The $8,000 tax credit for the purchase of a home from the Feds should help many of these homebuyers. One article stated, regarding prospective homebuyers, "not everyone feels comfortable going into a foreclosed home." Lord have mercy! Moving into a foreclosed home could emotionally scar some people for life! So the council took action and the village cut tap-in fees for all local developers in an effort to create low cost housing. Do you think residents are comfortable with repossessed homes in their neighborhood lowering the value of their homes? How about some incentive to help move these foreclosed homes? The article quoted village officials stating that these new homes would be good for businesses like bakeries and the local McDonald's. McDonald's is forecasting a 4% increase in sales this year. Maybe the Stroup Brothers should ask McDonald's for the money —after all they will broaden their customer base. Where is the pay-off for the residents of the village? When the 100 homes are occupied they will have purchased some school buses, hired some bus drivers and teachers; that's not a lot of incentive to cough up 25 grand for the first ten homes at Drakeshire. The tap-in fee of $4,300 is not excessive, a septic field will cost $15,000- $20,000; an additional $4,300 should be requested and placed in an escrow account to cover maintenance or expansion of the wastewater treatment plant in the event the additional 100 homes prove too much for the system.

Village Manger Gerald Oakes made the profound statement "it might work or it might not" followed by "but it's a pretty generous gesture on the part of the council." I find this quote confusing. Is he saying the council members will reimburse the village for the lost revenue to the tune of $25,000 or was he meaning to say it's a generous gesture on the part of the village residents? With us getting a 100 year rain every year lately some residents may prefer to spend 25 grand resolving drainage problems in the village instead of attracting new neighbors.

I'm not a resident of the village, I just wouldn't want to see the practice of subsidizing developers slop over into the township. I would rather see a manufacturing plant with 100 jobs come to Almont than a sub with 100 homes. That would benefit local businesses and broaden our tax base, helping our residents in turn. But that's only my opinion and everyone has one. Let's hear yours.

Tom Janicki, Almont Twp.
August 19, 2009

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