The Peninsula Township Board is hosting a special informational meeting on Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at St. Joseph Catholic Church to discuss the idea of the township switching from a “general township” to a “charter township.”
Township attorneys from Fahey Schultz Burzych Rhodes will be present to discuss the pros and cons, and all residents are encouraged to attend. If you can’t make it to the meeting, it will be available for viewing on the Township’s YouTube channel, and I may record it for the Gazette, as well.
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After I posted Curt Peterson’s opinion piece outlining why he’s against the idea of Peninsula Township becoming a charter township, I emailed with Sharon Vreeland, who served as the manager for Acme Township, a civil township (not a charter township), for eight years from 2005 to 2013. She notes that Garfield Township and East Bay Township are both charter townships.
She cited these links for more info on charter townships and general law townships…
- An article about townships and the differences between the two types: Michigan Townships Association
- A copy of the statute about township superintendents (not managers) who serve charter townships: Michigan Legislature
- A copy of the statute about township managers: Michigan Legislature
On Managers and Superintendents
Sharon notes that charter townships may appoint a superintendent, NOT a manager. However, no township, whether charter or general law, is required to employ a manager or superintendent. In fact, Garfield Township (a charter township), does not employ one.
Also, any general law township, such as Peninula Township, may appoint a manager.
General law townships may levy 1 mill. Charter townships may levy up to 5 mills without a vote of the people. Charter townships may go as far as 10 mills total, but require voter approval to go beyond 5 mills.
Why Switch from General Law to Charter?
As shown in the first link provided above, besides revenue, the main reason a township might consider moving from general law to charter status is to protect against annexation of land by a city. With Peninsula Township’s current status as a general law township, it could be annexed by Traverse City and become part of Traverse City.
Sharon notes that as a township manager, she was “far from having unfettered authority” or being the “top dog” in the situation.
“I was a public servant to the community and to the officials they elected,” she says. “I helped them manage general operations on a day-to-day basis, brought issues to their attention, and generally helped the folks who had day jobs juggle it all, along with serving the community.”
She served through three administrations with Acme Township, and notes that “it was an honor and a pleasure to serve while needed.”
A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers like the New York Times and Los Angeles Times, and magazines like Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So of course, I started my own newspaper. Because the Gazette is mainly reader-supported, I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks my way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the Old Mission Peninsula. Check out the donation page here. Thank you so much for your support. -jb