Getting the Facts Straight

Those who’ve mobilized to disincorporate our Village have labeled themselves “Reclaim Richland” and have a website with posts and responses that contain statements ranging from unfounded to misleading, to just plain untrue.

We’ve taken some time to get the facts straight to cut through the heated innuendo .. please click on the link below for a fact sheet that we hope will help Village and Township residents to understand some of the issues more clearly.

fact sheet

Getting the Facts Straight

Richland Village residents have complete control over the policies, services and governance of the Village – far more so than if the Village were just a part of the larger Township budget and oversight. More development and residences are underway for the immediate future; our tax base and opportunities will grow. The Village Council serves at the pleasure of the Village voters. Village Council seats are open to those who want to run; volunteer efforts are welcome and sought. Reasoned, thoughtful and respectful collaboration has always achieved and can continue to achieve anything we want in our Village. Let’s keep it that way!


Village provides value for Township residents

How does Preserving the Village of Richland preserve value for Township residents?
Here’s one example:
You may have noted an interesting & timely article on MLive on Friday, April 15. Oshtemo Township just finalized a contract with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff Department for one extra deputy, on top of their existing arrangement for police coverage, for ‘community policing’ .. presence in schools and work with local businesses and neighborhood watch groups … for an incremental $122,000 per year. That’s in addition to their $1.08 million contract for 2016 police patrol coverage.
We understand that Ross Township’s arrangement with the Kalamazoo County Sheriff’s Department enables four (4) ten-hour shifts per week. After time for paperwork and court appearances, this delivers about 32 hours of patrol coverage per week … at a cost of about $120,000. Compare this to Village police coverage and costs in this major highway confluence: 133 hours per week (19 hours per day, 7 days a week), for net budget cost of $185,000 plus fuel and auto depreciation expenses.
Community policing is a service that Richland Township residents currently receive for free, for those schools, businesses and watch groups in our current Village, courtesy of the taxpayers in our central square mile.
If the Village is disincorporated, we all get to enjoy the process of entering into negotiations to re-engage police services for our residents, schools and businesses. Not just community policing, but even basic police patrol coverage in Richland Township. How much might this cost? No one can say right now.
Another example why ‘Reclaim Richland’ is such a misleading and deficient idea for our community .. there’s no plan, no precedent, and no answers, just many questions.
Township and Village voters together, let’s vote No on May 3 to Preserve Richland Village and move on to work together to drive real solutions for our community.
Vote No on May 3 to Preserve Richland Village

Letter to township residents from Bo Van Peenan


“Shall incorporation of the Village of Richland be vacated?”

I can’t speak for Village residents other than to say I know many of them oppose this proposal, for good reason.

As a long term Township resident active in both Village and Township matters, however, I suggest this proposal might better ask:

“Should the taxpayers of Richland Township assume authority and all operational costs of the Village of Richland?”

Those bringing this issue to the ballot make a rather curious pair of statements in their literature:

Passage of this proposal, they say, will “Lower taxes for Village property owners” and will “Improve services to all Village residents.”

This implies that (1) they not only want to keep the extra services they now enjoy, but (2) they want these extra services improved or expanded, and (3) they expect Township residents to subsidize the financial costs.

This proposal was brought to the voters some fifteen years ago, also by a handful of disgruntled Village residents. It was overwhelmingly defeated by Township and Village residents.

It should be defeated again… Please vote NO on May 3.

Bo Van Peenan, Richland Township

What does ‘disincorporation’ mean for the Village?

Disincorporation means that the Village ceases to exist as a municipal entity.

Village government folds shop – stops collecting Village taxes, Village services are eliminated, and what today is the Village gets absorbed into the Township. Village Police are disbanded, with police coverage provided by the County Sheriff Department, with the corresponding reduction in coverage and increase in response times. Snowplowing would be provided by the Kalamazoo County Road Commission, again with the loss of local service and increased wait times for them to get to our streets.

What’s not clear is whether there would truly be a savings to taxpayers, as the impact of absorbing governance of the Village on Township taxes is indeterminate.

Other follow-on effects are likely to be reduction in property values in the Village, higher insurance costs for Village businesses due to elimination of local police, elimination of Village master planning and zoning.

Bottom line: disincorporation will eliminate valued services that Village residents and businesses have enjoyed for decades. Our Village is a center of community and commerce, not just a crossroads … let’s build a better solution!

Be a part of the solution!

To concerned citizens of the Village of Richland and Township of Richland, Michigan:

There will be a vote on May 3, 2016 to disincorporate the Village of Richland.

Some local individuals have circulated a petition and secured enough signatures to place the question to voters on a proposal to disincorporate the Village of Richland. 

Our group of concerned citizens and community leaders believes fundamentally that this would be the wrong direction for our community. We’ve started this website to help you educate yourself about disincorporation, so that you can carefully consider your vote.

Perhaps you’re a Village resident who chose to live here, and you understand that living in the Village has so many factors contributing to a great quality of life for our families and neighbors – close access to the schools, neighborhood atmosphere, local police protection by people who know our homes and families, and walking/biking distance to our great Library. Not to mention services such as locally-provided snowplowing, leaf and brush collection, and streets maintenance. This Village is a great place to live.

Please check back often for more information to help you make an educated decision on the future of our Village. We hope you’ll agree on the value of the services we pay for, and more fundamentally the spirit of community that comes from living in a Village … and we look forward to encouraging all of us to come together to be part of the solution!