30362 Newsletterindd by Levone


Village of Spring Lake • (616) 842-1393 • www.springlakevillage.org                                                       WINTER 2007

Message from the President Meet Council Member Verplank
                                                              Kyle Verplank was appointed to the Village
                          As we prepare for the coming        Council in November, 2006 and successfully ran
                          New Year, challenges offer          for election in September, 2007. Kyle’s term
                          opportunities for continued         runs until December 2012.
                          growth within the Village of
                          Spring Lake. You can be assured     Why were you interested in running for Village
                          Council will keep, as a priority,   Council? My interest in community service
                                                              started at a young age as my parents led by
                          the values that contribute to       example. My father served on the Ferrysburg
                          our unique community and            City Council in the 1970’s prior to me being
                          our quaintness. To protect          born and has been involved in several civic
                          these values, the Planning          activities since. When my parents moved to
                          Commission and Council              Spring Lake, my mother served on the Village
                          recently adopted the 2006-2016      Council for 16 years, six as its President. For
Master Plan. Along with the Master Plan, a Village            me, serving on the Village Council allows me
Design Manual is used to protect and to promote the           to get more involved, which I find informative and interesting. The quote my
special characteristics of the Village of Spring Lake.        parents used to say is “the best way to be informed is to be involved.”
These valuable tools are necessary to assist developers       What do you remember about those times? My mother involved us at a
and investors interested in our community to work             very young age and encouraged us to attend ceremonies, grand openings and
together with the Planning Commission and Council             charitable events. I remember when Barber School was moved from Barrett’s
to strengthen these characteristics and to not endanger       to its present location. I helped George Donner and Jim Christman take the
them. With these tools, the Village of Spring Lake is         roof shingles off in preparation for the big move. The memory of this project
stronger, our future is brighter, promoting downtown          still resonates with me today because I remember Mr. Donner having a heart
development, and creating an environment that is              condition during the tear down and having to run to the front office of Barrett’s
                                                              as a young kid to call for an ambulance. During this project I was also able to
pedestrian friendly.                                          test my door to door selling skills when they needed to sell $1 postcards as a
One of the most important steps along with the Master         fund-raiser. I think the majority of my sales came from sympathetic neighbors
Plan that we as a community will consider in the future       – but it was nice to raise a few bucks for the cause.
will be the one regarding Cityhood. This one giant step       What do you want to accomplish on Council? I would like to provide a
alone I believe will assist in promoting and protecting       perspective that currently doesn’t exist and I feel hasn’t existed in years – that
our characteristic as a community by requiring                of a Village resident under the age of 30. We’ve talked a lot about making the
continued collaboration within our neighboring                Village an attractive place for all types and all ages – and I think this effort
municipalities. Many questions are being asked, many          really begins to take shape when your governing board has representation from
answers are being provided, and some answers are              the various segments you wish to attract. It’s a great thing to have a diverse
somewhat misleading. Only the best interest of the            group of people who can view an issue from different angles. In my opinion,
                                                              the best boards have people who make informed, intelligent decisions after
people living in the Village of Spring Lake must and          considering a variety of perspectives.
will be the deciding factor in this decision. For it is not
a decision that any one person or any one board can           What is the biggest issue so far? The decision to be or not to be a City really
decide; it is a decision that will be decided in the end by   began to take shape just after I joined the council. It’s a complex issue and I
the people living in the Village of Spring Lake.              am sure by the time it’s all said and done we’ll have a lot of people speak their
                                                              mind about the pros and cons of converting. Based on the recent unanimous
As the Village President, and at the close of another         recommendation from the Cityhood committee, I think this issue will begin to
year, all of us from Village Hall gratefully pause to         take center stage in the coming months.
wish you a very Merry Christmas and a peaceful and            What do you think is going well for the Village? I like the direction of making
prosperous New Year.                                          the Village a more walkable community. The East Village redevelopment is a
                                 Respectfully,                great example of this direction. It brings people into the Village for the right
                                                              reasons. I think future developments will accentuate this direction and I like the
                                 William Filber,              long term vision of having a destination downtown where people can come to
                                 Village President            enjoy a variety of services all within a walkable distance. The Council’s current
                                                              emphasis on expanding and upgrading the existing sidewalk infrastructure will
P.S. The Village Council voted to proceed with                further compliment these efforts.
     more Cityhood research on December 3, 2007.              What would people be surprised to learn about you? Having been fortunate
     Enclosed is the report of the Citizen’s Committee.       enough to grow up on the water, I’ve had a fascination for all things water since
     This same information is on the web at                   a young age. I’ve been sailing competitively across the country since the age
     www.springlakevillage.org under “Cityhood.”              of 8. My family and fellow sailors from the Spring Lake Yacht Club have had
                                                              a great deal of fun and success driving to various venues to compete against
                                                              other sailors and clubs from around the country. I also enjoy history, 19th and
 Crosswinds 2

…Continued from page #1.           Spring Lake:
 20th century American             The Birthplace of Animation
 History to be exact. When         Think of all the animated cartoon characters running around out
 I was younger, history was        there; Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny, Fred Flintstone, Buzz Lightyear,
 something I always found          SpongeBob, Scooby-Doo, Dora the Explorer. There are thousands,
 time for. I’m currently           perhaps millions of characters that have been brought into this world.
 reading Dr. Dave Seibold’s                                                                                                  Above: Union School
                                   Do you know who was the very first cartoon character ever created?
 latest and greatest work,         A dinosaur named “Gertie” holds that distinction and she was created
 Grand Haven: In the Path of       by Spring Lake native Winsor McCay.
 Destiny. It’s a great read for
 anyone who has an interest        Winsor McCay was born in the 1860’s and grew up in Spring
 in local history. I have always   Lake. His artistic talent was on display at an early age. Spring
 felt that my family’s history     Lake historians know that the Village was plagued by a number of
 was unique here in West           fires in those days. One of these destroyed the McCay home. In the
 Michigan because I was a          shelter of a neighbor’s house, young Winsor drew his very first noted
 5th generation descendant         picture. It was a scene recounting the tragedy, etched in the frost of
 on both sides of my family        a window pane. Later the steamer Alpena sank in Lake Michigan,
 tree. The Verplank’s arrived      and Winsor drew a picture as he imagined the scene on the school
 in West Michigan from the         chalkboard. It was so impressive that a photographer heard about
 Netherlands in 1844 and on        it, took photographs, and sold them. The foundations of the school
 my mom’s side the Bruhn’s         (Union School) can still be seen in the park to the west of Spring
 arrived here in 1893 from         Lake District Library.
 Germany via Chicago.              McCay knew national fame in his lifetime, first as a newspaper                            Above: Winsor McCay
 Kyle graduated from               cartoonist. He authored several comic strips, the most famous of which was Little Nemo in Slumberland.
 Spring Lake High School           It is a highly inventive fantasy that takes place within the dreams of a little boy named Nemo. The artwork
 in 1997, the University           continues to be hailed today for its wild imagination, intricate detail, and colorful brilliance. It was the first
 of Michigan in 2001 and           comic strip to enter the Louvre. Children’s author Maurice Sendak says, “Little Nemo is nearly pure gold.”
 Pepperdine University with        Later McCay became a pioneer of animated film with the 1914 film, “Gertie the Dinosaur.” This was the
 an International Masters of       first animated cartoon character with a distinct and engaging personality. The film was an amazing five
 Business Administration           minutes long, the typical length of a one-reel film in those days. It was a huge endeavor with thousands of
 degree in 2006. Kyle and          painstakingly full, detailed drawings and sophisticated, fluid animation.
 his wife Samantha live with
 their daughter Brooklyn           Today both Winsor McCay and his creations are known around the world. In art, cartooning, and animation
 at 216 Shady Lane. You            circles he is universally known, beloved, and praised. Each year at the Annie Awards, the “Oscars” of the
 can contact Kyle at 842-          animation world, the Winsor McCay Award is given for lifetime achievement. It is the highest honor given
 1250 or councilmember@            to an individual in the animation industry.
                                   Although in the art world McCay is internationally recognized, in his own hometown of Spring Lake he is
                                   virtually unknown. No monument or memorial commemorates his life here.
                                   Recently the Spring Lake District Library has expanded their collection of wonderful books and videos
                                   highlighting McCay’s life and work, and has hosted programs spotlighting illustration and animation.
                                   Additionally, representatives of the community have been meeting to work on ways to recognize McCay
                                   and his work in Spring Lake.
                                   Spring Lake could truly be called “The Birthplace of Animation,” for it is the hometown of Winsor McCay,
                                   pioneer of animated film http://springlakemccay.blogspot.com
                                                                                                                                      Aaron Zenz

Historic Conservation Commission Requests Nominations for Award
Once again this year there have been many great community improvements going on in the Village and the Spring Lake Historic
Conservation Commission and they would again like to call for nominations for the Historic Preservation Award. This annual award is
designed to encourage awareness of the value of historic structures and sites that reflect the heritage of the Village of Spring Lake. It is
awarded to residential homes and businesses for preservation and restoration efforts. We believe that recognizing the work of home and
business owners lends to the quality of life in the Village. Our deadline will be January 15, 2008, but if at any point during the year you
would like to nominate someone or bring a location to our attention, please contact Kathy Staton at Village Hall at 842-1393 or by email at
And don’t forget, the Historic Conservation Commission is always looking for any and all information you have on your home or business.
Sometimes it is difficult for us to know just how many memories your home or business has created without the photos and stories that make
it so special. If you would like to share with us any of this information, please contact Kathy at Village Hall at 842-1393 or ask when the next
Historic Commission meeting will be and come introduce yourself and be a part of our meeting that night.
                                                                                                                          Crosswinds 3

                                                                      essential that all streets free of parked automobiles during this time
NOTICE                                                                to permit the street department of public works to properly clean
VILLAGE OF SPRING LAKE AND CITY OF FERRYSBURG                         them of ice and snow.
MOTORISTS WINTER PARKING REGULATIONS.                                 Plowing snow onto sidewalks also violates Ferrysburg Code 50.16
Section 74 & 70 of the Village of Spring Lake and City of             and Spring Lake Village #70.1. Section 257.667a of the Michigan
Ferrysburg ordinances respectively forbids parking a vehicle on       Vehicle Code also forbids plowing snow or ice onto public
any street or public parking lot between the hours of 2:00AM and      roadways.
6:00AM from December 1st, 2007 through April 1st, 2008. It is                          Roger DeYoung, Police Chief
                                                                                       Spring Lake/Ferrysburg Police Department

New or Relocated Businesses
If your business was accidentally omitted, e-mail Amy at amy@springlakevillage.org to get in the next issue.

 Custom Agency Real Estate                                                  REnue Salon & Day Spa
   622 E. Savidge St.                                                         510 W. Savidge St.
   Spring Lake, MI 49456                                                      Spring Lake, MI 49456
   Phone: (616) 846-9252                                                      Phone: (616) 844-4433
   Fax:     (616) 846-9273
   Real Estate Agency                                                       Lucky’s Coffee & Deli
                                                                              510 W. Savidge St.
                                                                              Spring Lake, MI 49456
                                                                              Phone: (616) 850-2675

                                                                            Dreese Fine Art & Framing
                                                                              701 E. Savidge Suite C
                                                                              Spring Lake, MI 49456
                                                                              Phone: (616) 844-4453
 Spring Lake Bridal
   New & Used Bridal Gowns,
   Bridesmaid gowns, Prom dresses,                                    Shop Local Campaign
   Shoes, Veils, Jewelry, Decorations,                                The Village Council requested that staff promote
   Invitations & More.                                                local purchasing wherever possible. We are
                                                                      encouraging local businesses to submit a coupon
                                                                      for the benefit of consumers shopping specificly
                                                                      in the Village.
                                                                      Let us know if you would like to submit a Shop
                                                                      Local incentive for your business by April 15th,
                                                                      2008. To get included in the next issue: amy@
 Urban Expressions                                                    springlakevillage.org.
   Crafts, Scrapbooking Supplies, Sewing, Quilting,
   Needle arts, Paint & More.
Crosswinds 4

                                                                  Carlson Wagonlit Travel
                                                                  —Your Adventure Awaits
 Snow & Walkers                                                   Carlson Wagonlit Travel has been providing the Village vacation
 With winter fast approaching folks all over the Village are      destinations since 1978. Originally known as The Travel Place, the
 dusting off the snow shovels, tuning up the snowblowers          agency became affiliated with the national worldwide travel agency
 and making arrangements with private snow plowing                of Carlson Wagonlit in 1989. Karla Constantine has been the owner
 contractors. It is important to remember that snow should        of the agency since 1982.
 not be pushed into, or onto, the public rights-of-way from
                                                                  When asked what the best part of having the business in the
 private property. This operation interferes with the publicly    downtown district of the village was, Karla was quick to point out
 required snow plowing and often impedes pedestrian access        three important aspects. The first key aspect is the location of the
 to sidewalks. It is important to the general community, to       office. Carlson Wagonlit is located in the heart of downtown Spring
 school children and to businesses alike to keep our streets      Lake at 118 West Savidge and has been at this location since 1990.
 and sidewalks open. It is also required by state law and local   The agency has always been downtown; having been just across
 ordinance. Thank you for passing the word.                       the street before moving to the present location. Karla also noted
                                                                  that the local government and the Village Council are very helpful
                                                                  to the local businesses. “The people on the council are really good
                                                                  to work with,” she said. Lastly, Karla said that the people of the
                                                                  village make a huge difference. “They are very friendly people
                                                                  who like to buy local.”
                                                                  While the people of Spring Lake like to support local business,
                                                                  their travel destinations are anything but local. Karla said that the
                                                                  three main vacation destinations are Florida, the Caribbean or
                                                                  Mexico, and Las Vegas. Another great destination is Colorado. In
                                                                  fact, Carlson Wagonlit offers an annual ski trip to Colorado the first
                                                                  full week of April.
                                                                  This year marks the 19th year for the Spring Break Winter Park
                                                                  Ski trip. This week long trip allows people a chance to experience
                                                                  world class skiing and bond with other families along the way. The
                                                                  trip includes a train ride to and from Colorado. Many families find
                                                                  this the perfect vacation year after the year. “The little kids have a
                                                                  ball on the train,” Karla added with a little chuckle.
                                                                  Karla Constantine is not only a travel agent, but she is also a
                                                                  world traveler herself. She has been all around the world from the
                                                                  Grand Canyon to New Zealand. When asked what her favorite
 Ice Rink at Central Park                                         trip has been, she quickly replied “I like the adventurous trips.”
                                                                  Her favorite adventure was an eight day river rafting trip on the
 Weather permitting, the Ice Rink at Central Park will be         Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
 open again this winter until 10:00 PM each day. This rink is     Carlson Wagonlit Travel is open from 9AM-5PM Monday through
 a team effort starting with help from Spring Lake Rotary         Friday and 9AM-12PM on Saturdays. Their office is located at 118
 and Spring Lake Township, plus a state grant from the            West Savidge.
 MDNR to help build it. Hours will be posted. Shovels will
 be provided for skaters to push any fresh snowfall to either                                              John Ranville,
 end where the Village’s snow blowers will take care of it                                                 Project Administrator
 later that night. Think cold!
                                                                                                                          Crosswinds 5

                                                                        A Citizen’s Guide to Cold
   VILLAGE COUNCIL MEETINGS                                             Weather Practices
   JANUARY 1, 2008 TO DECEMBER 31, 2008
                                                                        Winter means mounds of snow to shovel and layers of ice to remove
     Barber School Community Building                                   from our sidewalks and driveways. We often make the job easier
     102 West Exchange Street                                           by applying deicers like salt, but besides sodium chloride, many
                                                                        deicers also contain chemicals like cyanide. When ice melts, the salts
   7:30 p.m.                                                            and chemicals dissolve and flow into street drains that lead directly
                                                                        to nearby streams and lakes, endangering aquatic life. By following a
   Wednesday, January 2                                                 few tips, you can reduce your salt use and prevent water pollution.
      January 14                                                        1. Try an alternative.
      February 4
      February 18                                                         Calcium magnesium acetate (CMA) was developed as a deicing
      March 3                                                             alternative because it has fewer adverse environmental impacts
                                                                          than salt and doesn’t cause corrosion. Although CMA is more
      March 17                                                            expensive than rock salt, it is recommended for environmentally
      April 7                                                             sensitive areas.
      April 21
      May 5                                                             2. Reduce your salt use.
      May 19                                                              By limiting the amount of salt you use on
      June 2                                                              sidewalks and driveways, you can reduce
      June 16                                                             the amount of polluted snow melt washing
      July 7                                                              into waterways.
      July 21                                                           3. Use that shovel!
      August 4
      August 18                                                           The most important step in deicing is to physically remove as
                                                                          much ice as possible before applying salt. Use a shovel to break
   Tuesday, September 2                                                   up the ice before you add another layer of salt to your sidewalk.
                                                                          Adding more salt without removing what has melted can result
      September 15                                                        in over-application, meaning more salt and chemicals end up
      October 6                                                           in nearby streams and lakes. You can also reduce salt use by
      October 20                                                          limiting access to your home to one entrance. For every doorway
      November 3                                                          that is not used, there will be less salt running into the catch
      November 17                                                         basin in your street, and ultimately the Grand River.
      December 1
      December 15

New Members Join the Zoning
Board of Appeals
The Village of Spring Lake Zoning Board of Appeals recently
welcomed two new members to the Board. John Holdmann has
been appointed as a regular member joining the 4 other members
of the ZBA and giving the Village a full Board for the first time
in a couple of years. John works in construction and has been a
resident of the Village for almost 20 years. John Wyhowski was
appointed to serve as alternate on the ZBA. John is retired and has
lived in the Village for 3 years. As an alternate, John will be asked
to participate in the decisions of the Board when a regular member
is absent or when the regular member cannot participate due to a
conflict of interest or other circumstance.
The two new members of the Zoning Board of Appeals join veteran
Board members Chuck Angus, Hugh Hyde, Fred Peterson, and
Scott VanStrate. The Zoning Board of Appeals meets the second
Tuesday of the month if needed. There is one more opening on the
ZBA for an alternate member. Anyone who is interested in serving
the Village in this capacity is encouraged to contact Kathy Staton,
Code Compliance and Planning Administrator. You can reach Kathy
at 842-1393 or by e-mail at kathy@springlakevillage.org. Better
yet, just stop by Village Hall and meet Kathy in person!
Crosswinds 6

                                                         Village of Spring Lake/City of Ferrysburg Police
Village Hall: 842-1393                                   Department
www.springlakevillage.org                                Non-emergency business number: 842-1889
Office Hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, M-F                     Non-emergency Central Dispatch: 842-1640
Ryan Cotton, Village Manager                             Roger DeYoung, Chief
ryan@springlakevillage.org; 616-638-8910                 chiefdeyoung@slfbpd.org
Maribeth Lawrence, Village Clerk-Treasurer               Lori Spelde, Administrative Assist.
maribeth@springlakevillage.org                           lorispelde@slfbpd.org
Kathy Staton, Code Comp. and Planning. Admin.            Village Council Contact Information
kathy@springlakevillage.org                              William Filber, President                           850-9547
Mary Paparella, Administrative Assist.                   Ryan Kelly, President Pro Tem                       842-8270
                                                         Scott Van Strate, Council Member                    846-9706
Amy Schmidt, Administrative Assist.
amy@springlakevillage.org                                Mark Miller, Council Member                         842-1312
Maryann Fonkert, Administrative Aide                     Linda Albonico, Council Member (until Jan. 2008)    842-7132
maryann@springlakevillage.org                            Jeff Ferguson, Council Member                       844-9251
Doug Whitley, Supervisor, Public Works                   Kyle Verplank, Council Member                       842-1250
dougwhitley@charterinternet.com.                         Steve Nauta, Council Member (effective Jan. 2008)   846-0559

Crosswinds is produced by Village of Spring Lake Staff

                                                                    102 W. SAVIDGE STREET • SPRING LAKE, MI 49456

    Permit No. 31
To:    Spring Lake Village Council

From: Cityhood Citizen’s Advisory Committee:
      Patrick Reeg, Chair, Josh Carlisle, Pam Curtis, Holly Johnson, Erick Johnson,
      Sherry Miller, Bonnie Scarborugh, Mary VandenBosch, Jan White and Michele Yasenak

Re:    Recommendation

Date: November 19, 2007

This Advisory committee has met several times in the past year to evaluate the possibility of the Village of Spring
Lake moving into city incorporation. An Advisor, Dr. Lynn Harvey, was hired to help facilitate these meetings and
give guidance. Two public forums were held to educate residents regarding the advantages and disadvantages of this
We view our role in this matter is to provide a recommendation to the Village Council.
We are all village residents who have taken our tasks seriously.
The assumptions that have guided us through this process are:
1.    Since the Village is a voting minority in the Township, to separate from the Township would put the village in
      a stronger position in the future.
2.    The Township could add additional services in the future. The Township could tax the Village for additional
      services that are not needed or not used by the Village residents.
3.    Services will need to be negotiated and assets divided.
4.    The cost estimates, although well calculated, are indeed still estimates. Currently a slight cost savings to the
      taxpayer is estimated. It is possible a cost increase could be the result. Cost alone should not determine this
5.    Exercising our right to become a city, and seeking independence from the Township, should not be
      considered as dissatisfaction with the Township.
6.    We are assuming, for now, that the form of government we currently have in place would remain.
The following motion was made at the November 14th meeting:

                                  “The Cityhood Committee recommends that the
                                    Village Council pursue city incorporation.”

This motion was seconded and all committee members voted affirmative on the motion.

Thank you for the opportunity to research and study this issue. We are available for additional discussion if you feel
it necessary.

We wish you all the best of luck with this endeavor.

                                    Lynn R. Harvey, Ph.D.
                                Consultant – Local Government
                                      2704 Dellridge Dr.
                                        Holt, MI 48842
November 16, 2007

To:     William Filber, President of Village of Spring Lake
        Spring Lake Village Council
        Ryan Cotton, Village Manager

Re:     City Incorporation

From: Lynn R. Harvey, Consultant

    In February 2007, the Village Council engaged my services to assist the council in exploring the feasibility of the village
incorporating as a home rule city. Per my suggestions, the council solicited and appointed citizens of the village to a committee
charged with the responsibility of working with the consultant in examining the benefits and costs of city incorporation.
To that end I met with the Citizen’s Committee six times (Feb. 22, April 12, May 24, June 28, Aug. 9 and Aug. 21). The
committee in consultation with consultant developed and presented two public information meetings for the citizens of Spring
Lake October 9th at the District Library. The consultant also met at two different times with representatives from the village
and township to clarify data and information related to costs and savings associated with city incorporation. The consultant
also prepared a public information flyer as well as a detailed report, both of which have previously been transmitted to the
   Following the public information meeting October 9th, the Citizen’s Committee met several times (without the consultant)
to gather additional information, assess public feedback and to deliberate towards a recommendation. From the outset, both
the consultant and the Citizen’s Committee were very clear that their recommendation to the council was advisory only and
that ultimately it was the responsibility of the village council to decide whether to proceed towards city incorporation. It is my
understanding the Citizen’s Committee will be delivering their recommendation to the village council November 19th.
    My recommendation to the village council is that the village proceed with city incorporation. While initial savings
to taxpayers is small compared to other city incorporation with which I’m familiar, city incorporation will in the long run
yield a stream of benefits to residents. City incorporation is not just about financial issues. City incorporation will remove
village residents from the status of a voting minority of Spring Lake Township as is the present case. As a city, existing
intergovernmental agreements can continue and new partnerships can be formed. City incorporation will position the village
to control its future destiny.
    Every city incorporation is contentious and is expected to be so since the process impacts existing relationships. The
incorporation process itself is a long detailed event that taxes one’s patience but it is also an exciting opportunity for a broad
segment of the community to be involved in the process and developing a city charter. The charter process permits the village
to tailor a new charter to the current situation of the community and to plan for the future.
   Incorporation is democracy is action since citizens are involved at every step and eventually decide the outcome of
incorporation by voting up or down the new charter.
    I appreciated the opportunity to work with the Citizen’s Committee and officials from the village. I have been impressed
the quality of management and leadership of Spring Lake Village. The Village Council is to be commended on taking the
risk of appointing the committee to exploring city incorporation. One never knows what forces one unleashes in putting
democracy in action but I have found that citizen engagement on critical issues only strengthens the community.

Best wishes in your deliberation and please advise me if additional assistance is needed.

                     MOVING TO CITYHOOD?1
       Information for Village of Spring Lake Residents on City
In February 2007 the Spring Lake Village Council contracted with Dr. Lynn Harvey, Professor Emeritus, and Joe Martin,
Visiting Extension Specialist, from Michigan State University Extension (MSUE) to explore the incorporation of the village as
a Home Rule City. The consultants were to share experiences of other village to city incorporation in Michigan and to identify
the advantages and disadvantages of cityhood. In addition, the Village Council was interested in the financial impact on the
village and its residents.
A 10-member Citizen’s Committee, comprised of non-elected officials, was appointed by the village council to meet with the
consultants over a series of meetings and to develop educational materials that could be used at public information meetings.
The Citizen’s Committee will receive input from residents and develop a recommendation to the village council.

What is a Home Rule City?
Home Rule Cities refers to the concept established by the Michigan Constitution of 1908 and implemented by enactment of
the Home Rule Cities Act (PA 279 of 1909). The Act grants broad powers to all cities through adoption of a Home Rule City
Charter. The charter provisions are limited only by certain enumerated restrictions. In adopting a new city charter, citizens
have the opportunity to become engaged in developing a new governmental organizational structure tailored towards the
specific needs of the community. This is generally referred to as self-determination.

What are we now?
Spring Lake Village was incorporated as a general law village in 1869 and adopted their home rule charter in 1930 under the
Home Rule Village Act (PA 278, 1909).

What advantages are there to city incorporation?
There are numerous advantages in moving from a Home Rule Village to a Home Rule City, not the least of which is self-
determination and citizen participation in creating a new charter. Currently, the Village of Spring Lake is part of Spring Lake
Township, thus residents financially support, vote in, and are governed by both the village and township. However, if the
village incorporates as a home rule city, the incorporated area is removed from Spring Lake Township. In moving to cityhood,
residents living in the village would no longer be the voting minority under the current township/village arrangement. As a
city, the clerk will handle all election services (local, state, and federal), and the outcomes would reflect city preference.
Ultimately in moving from a village to a city, residents gain access to a streamlined government by allowing them to deal with
one local unit instead of two.

Other advantages to city incorporation include:
1.     Reduced duplication of government service (residents governed by one unit not two).
2.     Establishment of a Board of Review consisting of city residents for taxpayers to appeal their assessment (currently the
       township          maintains Board of Review.).
3.     City would oversee property assessing, preparation of tax roll and distribution of property tax bills; assessor would be
       answerable to the city council and city residents.
4.     Planning and zoning functions would be responsibility of city. Although the village currently executes the planning
       function, the village remains part of the township’s Master Plan. City incorporation does not mean that the city would
       plan in a vacuum, city planning decisions would continue to impact the township, and vice versa.
5.     Financial flexibility and latitude to accommodate local needs.
6.     Village residents would be relieved from paying township operating and some township extra-voted millage.
7.     Village residents would no longer be a voting minority as they presently are in the township.
8.     The relationships with Spring Lake Township and City of Ferrysburg would be maintained for selected services.
1         Harvey, Lynn R. and Joseph Martin, Department of Agricultural Economics, State and Local Government Extension Program,
Michigan State University, August 24, 2007. Appreciation is extended to Bill Filber, President Village of Spring Lake, Ryan Cotton,
Village Manager, Maribeth Lawrence, Village Clerk and Lou Draeger, Treasurer Spring Lake Township for their assistance in data
collection and analysis.

9.     City incorporation would not impact the small town atmosphere desired by some village residents.

What disadvantages are there to city incorporation?
There are some distinct disadvantages to becoming a Home Rule City. For example, village residents may prefer the linkage
with the township and view the current structure as the preferred governmental arrangement. Residents may like the
small town appeal of living in a village and feel that incorporation as a city would jeopardize this position. Also, additional
responsibilities and municipal functions would be required in moving from a village to a city. This would lead to new or
additional costs not currently borne by village. The disadvantages are outlined below.
1.     Assume responsibility for assessing property either by contract or through hiring own assessor requires additional
2.     Collect property taxes for county, K-12 schools, intermediate school district, state education tax and authorities (if any
       exist), a cost the village currently does not incur. The additional cost could be partially offset by the tax administration
       fee. The township currently collects the tax administration fee.
3.     Maintain voter registration lists, qualified voter file and conduct elections. City will incur additional costs for voting
       equipment and elections.
4.     Need to develop new intergovernmental agreements for fire and cemetery since the village currently receives these
       services from the Spring Lake Township.
5.     Financially impact Spring Lake Township, since property tax revenue currently collected from village residents is no
       longer available to the township for general operation.
6.     The division and separation of township and village assets can be contentious and will need to be worked out well in
       advance of moving forward with cityhood.

What savings or additional revenue sources would the city obtain?
City residents would no longer pay township operating (0.9655) and bike path (0.4946) millages and the 1% tax administration
fee assessed by the township. The city would assess and collect all taxes for the county, schools, library, state education tax and city
operating. The 1% tax administration fee would generate an additional $30,000 to the new city. Table 1 provides a summary of
current millage levies.
Table 1 lists the total current levies by all general and special purpose governments, that is, the total tax bill of a township and
village residents. Currently a township resident would pay 25.0239 mills on their homestead. Non-homestead owners would pay
an additional 18 mills or a total of 43.0239 mills. For a homestead in the township with a taxable value of $65,000, their total tax
bill for 2006 would be $1,626. For a village resident with the same valued home their tax bill would total $2,389.
Table 1: Total Millage Levied by Township and Village (2006)
Average Residential      Services                                              Now      Plus…
Taxable Value            Received                                              SL Twp SL Village           Sub-Total
$65,000                  General                                               0.9655   5.7044             6.6699
                         Police (calculated) **                                0.0000   4.4795             4.4795
                         Museum                                                0.2245   0.0000             0.2245
                         Seniors                                               0.2472   0.0000             0.2472
                         Bike Paths                                            0.4946   0.0000             0.4946
                         Dist. Library                                         2.2535   0.0000             2.2535
                         Street Lights                                         0.2250   NA                 0.0000
                         State education                                       6.0000   0.0000             6.0000
                         County Parks                                          0.3165   0.0000             0.3165
                         SL Public Schools (Debt)                              6.1471   0.0000             6.1471
                         Intermediate School District                          4.2093   0.0000             4.2093
                         Ottawa County Allocated + 911                         3.9407   0.0000             3.9407
                         Debt                                                  0.0000   1.7780             1.7780
                         TOTAL                                                 25.0239 11.9619             36.7608
                                                                               Township                    Village
TOTAL ANNUAL TAX BILL (assumes Taxable Value of $65,000)                       $1,626                      $2,389

** Residents do not pay a special millage for police, the GF expenditures for police was converted to a millage equivalent.
Table 2 examines the financial impact on a village resident if the village were to incorporate as a home rule city. A series of
assumptions were developed in order to arrive at the costs displayed in Table 2. Village residents would no longer pay township
allocated millage and bike path millage (assumption) but would assume additional costs for assessing, elections and fire service. It
is estimated that based on a homestead with a taxable value of $65,000, a city resident annual tax bill would be $2,343, a saving of
$46 per year. Obviously property with a lower taxable value would see smaller savings while residents with a higher taxable value
would increase their annual savings in property taxes.

Table 2: Total Levy in Village Become a City [note assumptions below]
Type In Your
Taxable Value
(See shaded box, right of Services                                                   Millages……
parcel # on tax bill)     Received                                                   New City
$65,000                   Fire [1]                                                   0.8937   Estimated
                          Assessing [2]                                              0.2074   Estimated
(Type in your T.V. above) Elections [3]                                              0.1807   Estimated
                          General operations                                         5.7044
                          Police                                                     4.4795
                          Museum                                                     0.2245
                          Seniors                                                    0.2472
                          Cemetery [4]                                               NA
                          Bike Paths                                                 NA
                          Dist. Library                                              2.2535
                          Street Lights                                              NA
                          State Education                                            6.0000
                          County Parks                                               0.3165
                          SL Public Schools (Debt)                                   6.1471
                          Intermediate School District                               4.2093
                          Ottawa County Allocated + 911plus 911                      3.9407
                          Debt                                                       1.7780

Sub-Total                                                                    36.5826
Less Savings from No Extra Fire Contract Cost                                0.1281
Savings from Lakeside Beach/Central Park Addl. Cost Sharing (negotiated) [6] 0.0993
Extra revenue from Tax Administration fees (1%)-- millage reduction [8]      0.3043
TOTAL EXPECTED WITH NEW CITY                                                 36.0508 $2,343

                               Savings in Mills                            0.7100                mills
                               Annual Savings in Dollars based on $65,000TV$46                   $46
Assumptions for Table 2: using 2006 data
[1] Fire (per capita basis) $62,843: Lowest per capita cost of surrounding departments.
         -SLT fire budget $328K/13,140 (popl’n)
         -1,500 sq. ft. x $65/sq.ft. = $97,500/20 years + interest=$10,000/yr (Construct a fire house in village + used pumper
         -$100,000 amortized over 10 yrs. = $10,000/yr. Assumes a pumper with ten year life
         -Sub-total of $82,843/year, rounded to $90,000 fire cost – Paid On-Call Department, contract basis
[2] Assessing: $20,000/10 yrs. + $11/parcel * 1,717 parcels = $20,887/yr. – Equipment amortized over 10 years.
[3]Elections & PT Office Person: $12,000/10 yrs. + $3,000/election + $14,000 PT labor = $18,200/yr. – Equipments amortized over 10
years and extra election labor (0.45 FTE)

[4] Cemetery: costs not calculable – Non-resident SL Township rates would apply
[5] Bike Path: shown as savings – millage eliminated since no benefit received from levy, State may need to provide ruling.
[6]Beach and Park Sharing: Cost share of $10,000/yr. not equitable – Continue to cost share but increase the cost sharing from $10,000
to $20,000.
[7] Millage Calculation: Assumes that one mill generates $107,701 per year
[8] Tax Administration Fee; $30,647/year using data supplied by Spring Lake Township – Same as SLT currently collects to offset
assessing and tax collection costs.

What is the bottom-line on the costs of moving to cityhood?
Services not currently provided by the Village of Spring Lake but to be assumed by city, include assessing property, preparation
of property tax roll, maintaining voter registration files and conducting all elections. It is estimated that the new city would
spend an additional $20,000 per year for assessing and $18,200 for the election function. These additional costs include new
computer and election equipment and software with the costs being amortized over 10 years. The additional expenditures for
tax assessing and tax collection will be offset by revenue derived from the 1% tax administration fee.
The new city would also be obligated to continue furnishing fire protection to the community, although there is no assurance
Spring Lake Township Fire Department would continue to supply this protection. The city has several options to negotiate
a new agreement for fire protection with one of several neighboring units of government. Initial cost sharing arrangements
for fire protection place this new cost between $90,000-$120,000, although the $12,000 fire subsidy paid to the township
would no longer be required. The new city could construct a building to house a pumper thus increasing fire suppression
capacity. The cost of the new building is calculated in the costs for fire services displayed in Table 2. If a new building was not
constructed, the cost savings to the new city would increase.
Lastly, as the village jurisdiction would be completely removed from the township upon city incorporation, city residents
would face higher fees for certain services. For example, Spring Lake Township may charge higher fees to city residents for
cemetery lots and burials. The same scenario could present itself for non-resident access to Lakeside Beach. Currently, the
township provides a $10,000 payment to the village for access to Lakeside Beach, non-resident fees could be assessed.
While tax savings to the village and residents is important, villages who have undertaken the change to city status cite the
advantages of local control and accountability of these services outweigh any new or additional costs.

Will it change my taxes?
Possibly, but the impact is likely minimal. It is a estimated in Table 2 that the savings of 0.71 mills translates into a net
$46 savings per year for a resident with a home with a taxable value of $65,000. Village residents would no longer pay the
operating and bike path millage of the township. Currently, village residents pay approximately $50,000 to the township to
support the bike paths but the township does not provide any reimbursement nor maintain the bike paths in the village. The
new city could decide to levy the bike path millage and use the revenue to maintain the paths instead of spending general fund
revenue as is done currently.
The new city will incur additional costs (fire, assessing and elections) but these costs will be offset by savings in no longer
paying township operating millage.

What happens to jointly held assets?
The village and township will be required to develop a “division of jointly held assets” plan prior to finalizing a charter if the
decision is to incorporate as a home rule city. No discussion or pricing of jointly held assets has taken place at this time.
Will the boundaries of a new city be the same?
The boundaries of the new city could be the same as the current boundaries of the village unless there exists compelling reasons
to change the boundaries (expand or contract). When the village submits the petition for incorporation to the State Boundary
Commission, the petition will describe the boundaries and include a map of the proposed boundaries. The State Boundary
Commission will conduct a public hearing and may raise the question as to whether the proposed boundaries are appropriate.
The Commission may suggest alternate boundaries if they determine that the proposed boundaries are insufficient based on
current service area of the village.

       Process of Moving from Village to
The Home Rule City Act, PA 279, 1909 and the rules set forth by the State Boundary Commission (SBC), guide the process
of moving from a village to a city. It is important to separate out the legal process from citizen education and community
engagement. Ultimately, village voters will either accept or reject the proposed city charter. However, a significant educational
effort precedes the filing of petition with the SBC, which initiates the formal incorporation process.

The following is a suggested outline that may eventually lead to placing the charter and Home Rule city status before village
voters. The legal step-by-step process can be obtained from the State Boundary Commission. The incorporation as a city
impacts not only current village residents but also township residents outside village limits, therefore the engagement of the
township is important.

1.        Orientation meeting with village officials and interested citizens to discuss rationale for moving from village to city and
          the legal process involved.
2.        Development of demographic and financial data, identification of joint ownership (land buildings, services, etc.),
          contracts and interlocal agreements with township.
3.        Appointment of Citizens Committee to serve as the advisory or steering committee and engagement of outside
          resources to assist.
4.        Develop and execute educational sessions and focus groups with village residents. MSU Extension can assist with the
          educational process and soliciting community involvement.

5.        If decision of advisory committee and village council is to proceed with incorporation to city status, the village is ready
          to begin the formal legal process.
     a.     Circulate petition to village residents. SBC will provide guidance and written details as to the exact process to follow.
            Petition must contain signatures of 1 percent of qualified electors in the village. Petition must describe and clearly
            show by map the proposed boundaries and subdivisions.
     b.     If sufficient signatures are garnered, the petition is filed with SBC.
     c.     SBC meets and conducts a sufficiency hearing (examine the petition and accompanying maps to insure that the
            proposed boundaries are appropriately described).
     d.     If SBC declare the petition sufficient, the SBC will establish date of public hearing in the village.
     e.     Village electorate has 45 days from declaration of sufficiency to file a petition with SBC opposing city incorporation.
            If opposing petition is valid, SBC sets election for village electorate to vote on whether to proceed with city

6.        If no challenging petition is filed with SBC, the SBC will set date for election of charter commission. Election date
          must coincide with elections scheduled in February, May, August or November.
     a.     Once charter commission members are elected, preparation city charter commences. The commission has 90 days to
            draft the charter from the point of election.
     b.     Once a draft of the proposed city charter is completed, the draft charter is sent to the Governor for review (Attorney
            General staff actually review the charter along with representatives of DLEG).
     c.     Proposed charter presented to village voters for approval or rejection.
7.        If charter approved, file the charter with state.
During the charter development process, it is advisable to seek broad engagement and participation of village residents. Most
charter commissions establish working task forces or committees to assist in drafting the charter. There is no need to start
from scratch since the charter commission can obtain copies of other city charters as well as seek assistance from the Michigan
Municipal League.
The question often arises at what point does the village engage the services of an attorney? The community can accomplish
much of the preparatory work. However, once the drafting of the actual charter is underway, the village may wish to engage
the services of an attorney. The attorney can assist with the legal review of the proposed provisions of the charter, and also
assist with the final drafting and filing with the Governor.

Be patient. The incorporation process generally takes a few years to complete assuming deadlines are met and charter
development process moves along smoothly. Although there are only three stages for city incorporation, each phase can take
between six and nine months to complete.
The charter will state the official date for incorporation to take affect, generally six to nine months from the time of the charter
vote. Example, if voters approve the charter at a November general election, incorporation could take place July 1st the
following year. Or if a mid-year election is held, the incorporation could take place January 1st. The charter will state the fiscal
year for the new city.

Additional information or questions, contact
Citizens Committee member:
Patrick Reeg        616-846-6019   (Committee Chair)
John Carlisle       616-604-0436
Pam Curtis          616-850-3074
Erick Johnson       616-847-6214
Holly Johnson       616-847-6214
Sherry Miller       616-846-1891
Bonnie Scarbrough   616-846-3242
Marv VandenBosch    616-842-8940
Jan White           616-846-4097
Michelle Yasenak    616-846-6420   (Secretary)


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