Some residents plan recall effort on some city council members - WNEM TV 5

Some residents plan recall effort on some city council members after controversial vote

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SWARTZ CREEK, MI (WNEM) -

A controversial vote by a local Mid-Michigan city council has residents planning a recall effort to remove them from office.

Some residents in Swartz Creek are hopping mad, so mad they're in the process to recall some of their city council members because of a controversial vote they made Monday night.

"There's something very wrong if the taxes here are going to go up for 10 years, and the voters aren't going to have a say on that," said resident Pat Clawson, who is behind the recall effort.

The anger stems from the city's council approval of a 4.9 mil increase to help increase funding for the city's public safety. The council passed a special assessment district 4-to-3 raising the money police and fire need while avoiding the need to take the question to the voters.

"They elect us to be their representatives and run the city for them," Mayor David Krueger explained.

Krueger said an overwhelming majority of residents who spoke up during public comment sessions wanted the council to do this. But on Tuesday night, Clawson said the recall effort to put the breaks on this move.

"Citizens of Swartz Creek are 100 percent behind the police department, but a lot of us are 100 percent against the idea of having a tax jammed down our throat without a public vote. We're going to stop that," said Clawson.

Clawson said a decision to bump up taxes, which will average out to be about an additional $200 a year for residents, absolutely needs to be a question on the ballot and that's why he's behind this move.

"I think using a special assessment district is outrageous. I think it's a violation of the rights of the taxpayers of this community. If the mayor wants to force a tax on us, let us vote on it. He shouldn't just have the say so by himself and on the council," said Clawson.

There's nothing illegal about what the council did. State law allows special assessment districts. But is it what the council should have done?

"The public has spoken. We're here to represent them, they elected us to do that, so we'll represent them by voting the way they asked us to vote," said Krueger.

The tax is expected to bring in more than $625,000 for public safety. Krueger said Tuesday night he believes the recall efforts are a bullying tactic. Clawson said the efforts are to contain the power the council has over its citizens.

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