15 Million Dollars Worth Of Dark Sky

Emmet County commissioners are apparently out of touch with the electorate.

I Could have predicted this.

Perhaps I would have; if I lived in Emmet County.  However, there should still be nothing surprising about an apparent divergence of priority between the voters and the elected numbskulls who ‘serve’ them.  The same type of thinking that drives the nonsense in DC can be just as bad locally, and have a more immediate financial effect.

Reading the bills, or allowing a real debate to happen before committing millions of dollars extracted forcefully from taxpayers should be paramount.  The latter option was never allowed to happen however.  A year ago, Emmet County commissioners jacked the electorate without the chance to object, leaving them to foot the bill for a $15 Million boondoggle.

As quick as a shooting star, Emmet County commissioners (pictured above) approved a sale of $15 million in bonds with nearly half of the proceeds being used to build an observatory and a new event building at the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City.

Without the chance to object.

Taxpayers didn’t even know there would be a vote on such an expensive proposal. One watchdog called it out.

” The $15 million bond issue has not been listed on any public agenda for the Emmet County Board of Commissioners. When they met at 1 p.m. on April 10, 2014, a meeting agenda did not exist. Instead, this meeting was posted on the county’s website as: “Special Board of Commissioners Meeting with Purpose: 1) Meet with some of the Emmet County Road Commissioners 2) Discuss various ongoing programs/projects within the county. This does not replace the regular 6:00 p.m. meeting.”

At the 1 p.m. meeting, the road commissioners pleaded their case for additional money, followed by a presentation by the parks and recreation department expressing their desire for facilities, mostly at the Headlands. Still, with the public’s lack of an agenda, a bond counsel and a financial advisor then began talking about bonds.

Despite the magnitude of the proposed bond, it appears no effort was made to notify, nor involve, the public. In fact, some other government officials were not even aware of the meeting until a couple of hours before …  “

Read it all.

But this happened a year ago, right?

The self importance of the commissioners must surely be justified as a recent survey shows them as performing better than 50% OK! in the eyes of the constituents. The transportation and ambulance service survey had some other parts to it that were interesting indeed.  Especially given the impetus to serve higher taxes on a dark sky platform.  Oops.


Of course ‘tourism’ is tops!

Oh wait.  no it was not.  The disconnect should not surprise anyone who has lived in the hinterlands for more than a decade.  The progressive disease of both urbanizing into tight squalid sectors and limiting access to private property owners in all others has been on a major push in that time.  We’ve seen it arrive, infest our leadership, and make our individual property and financial priorities subject to the whim of zealous spenders and takers.

This should be a reminder of why you need to attend this forum.


You Betcha! (19)Nuh Uh.(2)

  6 comments for “15 Million Dollars Worth Of Dark Sky

  1. KG One
    June 22, 2015 at 4:57 pm

    Does anyone happen to know how this got around OMA requirements?

    You Betcha! (3)Nuh Uh.(0)
    • June 22, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Probably the same way that similar crap gets around it in my hometown of Kentwood: Unless it's one of the nine things required to be listed separately on the City Commission's regular order of business, then it's placed on the Consent Agenda, which consists of everything decided upon by the Committee of the Whole meeting conducted immediately prior to the commission meeting. The COW (consisting of the Mayor, the Commissioners, the Department Heads, and the Committee Chairs) is open to the public, but is damn near never attended by the public. The entire Consent Agenda appears early in the commission meeting -- fourth item on the regular order of business -- and, unless any commissioner objects to a specific item, is enacted on a single roll call vote. Thus, the appearance of OMA compliance is preserved, and the low-information public is none-the-damn-wiser. And yes, this practice has become a prominent talking point in my campaign to unseat Sharon Brinks' handpicked replacement.

      "The same type of thinking that drives the nonsense in DC" is always developed at a lesser level. Congress-critters and state legislators learn their bad habits somewhere, and without fail it's learned by getting away with this monkey business at the local level (school boards, municipal councils, county commissions, etc.). This is the tea party's epic fail: It's all well and good to raise hell with the elected turds in Lansing and DC, but if we're not paper training them in our own backyards, then we're merely guaranteeing that our right to the pursuit of happiness will be pilfered by those who have the most power to do so. Politics is, in fact, local . . . always.

      You Betcha! (6)Nuh Uh.(0)
      • KG One
        June 23, 2015 at 9:12 am

        Neat trick.

        If I didn't know for a fact that isn't used in this corner of Michigan (at least in the Tri-County area anyway), I would've asked if they learned this from the Kilpatrick School of Public Administration.

        That family has dirty pool down to an art form.

        You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)
  2. Izzy
    June 23, 2015 at 10:13 am

    Thank you, Jason, for putting this post together.

    FYI: Video I shot of Emmet County Commissioner Jim Tamlyn speaking to a group in Petoskey about the new ambulance scheme. At the 10:55 mark, Commissar Tamlyn, an exceptionally enthusiastic booster of Big Government, shares a crude, self-aggrandizing vignette about how a Democrat praised him for 'being a Republican with a conscience.'

    You Betcha! (1)Nuh Uh.(0)

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