Putnam Supervisor Calls Recall Threat "Horrendous Abuse" Of Election Law
September 19, 2019
Putnam Township officials voted to refund and reduce payments appropriately to a special assessment district on Sarah Drive despite the threat of a recall.
Sarah Drive was paved in 2017, funded by 207 residential parcels that made up the SAD. Sarah Drive is the only ingress and egress for properties in the district, with several roads branching off from it. Residents from those branched roads all must use Sarah Drive to reach their homes, thus the project benefitted all homeowners who use it to get to their street. The project, assessed for $1,753.59, was finished for less than half the cost. Property owners who paid all up front will be refunded the $926.31 difference, with those paying on a schedule to see the appropriate reductions on their tax bills.
On Monday, resident Patrick Glance of Nita Drive- one of the branch roads off Sarah- filed recall language with the Livingston County Clerk accusing Putnam Supervisor Dennis Brennan of malfeasance in creation of the SAD. Glance claims the SAD was not proportionately beneficial to property owners on Nita, and that the mismanagement of public funds and lack of transparency require Brennan’s removal. According to a release from Brennan, Glance wants his road paved using the leftover funds from the SAD.
Township Attorney Mike Homier was present at Wednesday’s meeting of the Board of Trustees, and explained that it was illegal under Public Act 188 to do as Glance is requesting, as paving Nita Road was not part of the assessment. Doing so would not provide equal benefit to the other branch streets in the SAD. Hormier said there is case law on this point, and by violating it the township would be sued, and rightfully so. During second public comment, Glance argued that property values off of the now-paved Sarah Drive are seeing greater return than properties on non-paved branch roads.
The supervisor said, again in the release, that one of Glance’s neighbors told him that Glance said he was using the recall as blackmail to force the township to pave his road. Brennan, before the board meeting, reported he received a new memo from Glance stating that if he delayed the refund, he would remove the recall request.
Township Supervisors, on their own, cannot create SADs. Special assessment districts require citizen petitions, multiple public hearings, and majority board approval. It was discussed during the meeting ,with the attorney, that any disputes should have been done within 30 days of confirmation of the SAD roll to the township tax tribunal. There were no disputes for the Sarah Drive SAD.
During the second public hearing, Glance still accused Brennan of violating state law, and that because he missed his time to plead his case to the tax tribunal, he has no other recourse but to recall.
Brennan said he is not worried about the threat of the recall, and that this is just wasting everybody’s time. He said that what concerns him is that things are already in motion at the county level, and that they’ve called a meeting of the county election commission. He said, “By getting that ball rolling, now, I have to take my time and go there and defend myself from these false accusations. And hopefully it stops there because the election commission will see the things he said don’t even make sense- nevermind have any truth to them.”
Trustees Norm Klein and Richard Bennet, along with resident Dixie Russell stuck up for Brennan and his work in office.
Glance declined to comment following the meeting.
A copy of Brennan’s release is below. (MK)