Letter to the Editor: Opposition group uses intimidation tactics

August 10, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Opposition group uses intimidation tactics

The ‘Boycott Pentwater City’ group opposes a proposal to go before voters that will ask if Pentwater should transition from a village to a city.

Dear Editor,

Attention Pentwater Township taxpayers — we have high property values AND we pay relatively high tax rates. This is the opinion of the Citizens Research Council (CRC) of Michigan, which the township hired at taxpayer expense to study how the township would be impacted if the village moved to a city form of government. The study’s conclusion is really worth noting: “Pentwater Township would be affected by the village incorporating as a city, but tools exist for it to adapt. Because Pentwater Township has a relatively rich property tax base and levies taxes at relatively high rates, it will have more resources … while some services and operations may need to be scaled back, those changes would do little to lessen the quality of life in the township.”

Read related article here: https://oceanacountypress.com/2023/08/03/voters-to-decide…-village-to-city/ ‎

And yet a “Boycott Pentwater City” group has been formed. Its news release calls out former Council member Claudia Ressel-Hodan, who was tapped by her colleagues a year ago to chair the village’s study committee. She was just doing her job when she brought the matter before the village council. She did so because some of her constituents have long wondered whether there’s a better way to provide needed government services. Why do we pay taxes to two governments?  Why are two government structures needed for 1,600 residents anyway? Can our tax dollars be used more efficiently? The boycott group’s focus on the chairperson in this instance only discourages any citizen from accepting any volunteer community leadership role for fear of being publicly intimidated.

The opposition group’s press release also said it might encourage residents to boycott businesses that support the plan. Its founder explained why to another area news service:  “Regarding the boycotting, I guess the concept is that there were people on the council that surely knew that they were going to hurt their customers in the township but voted for it anyway … we’re not going to support them. That’s where that came from.”

I see this as intimidation of a couple of good, hardworking, local citizens who own businesses — and who also serve on the village council. Their livelihoods have been threatened. Is this the kind of local government atmosphere we want?

Our community is better than this. Take a deep breath, everyone. Village taxpayers should look closely at the three property tax bills you get each year. Ask questions.  Encourage respectful dialogue between everyone involved. Find opportunities to meet and exchange views – respectfully.

Ron Beeber,