Fairbanks Township clarification
I’d like to clarify a few things that our current (but hopefully not for long) Fairbanks Township supervisor misinformed the public with in his last “Letter to the Editor “ where he claimed he was setting the record straight, but he doesn’t seem to know what that means. Mr. Collins is clearly not a lawyer, nor am I, but at least I consulted with one.
First of all, it certainly is not illegal for a township board to collect fees for usage of a right-of-way. If so, many townships municipalities around the state are also doing this “illegally.” The fact of the matter is that it is quite legal, and a right given to townships and other government entities by the Michigan Constitution of 1963, article 7, among other places. If the reader would truly like to research the legality of it, they have a great resource in the Michigan Municipal League, which gives the “case law.” In fact, one of the key features of their guidance is charging fees.
Garden Township is looking to create just such an ordinance themselves — and had a lawyer draft it. Certainly Mr. Collins is not saying that he understands the law better than actual lawyers — particularly a lawyer from one of the premier municipal firms in the state? If he was really so worried about “opening up the township to a lawsuit” why did the members up for recall ignore the treasurer when she asked the board to consider increasing their liability insurance earlier this year?
As for waiting until 2020, the whole reason the state has provisions for allowing recalls is for instances like this, where time is of the essence, before these officials can do any irreparable harm to the township. We are using the law as it was intended.
I have tried very carefully to keep my public opinion of Mr. Collins on a professional level — only discussing his actions as an elected official. His repeated insinuations to the contrary and attacks on me personally, and many of those I consider friends, are uncalled for and give the reader a good idea about his character.