Bond issue will go to Calumet voters in Aug.

Graham Jaehnig/Daily Mining Gazette A bond recently issued by the village of Calumet will face challenge in a special August election, after a petition was filed circulated by a group of irate residents.

CALUMET — After submission of a petition demanding a referendum to approve a $500,000 bond issue, the Village Council had no choice but to approve the special election.

The bond issue is intended to fund the purchase of a snow-go for the Street Department.

Trustee Nathan Anderson praised the group who circulated the petition for its community conscience.

“What you guys did was awesome,” said Anderson. “You got the public involved, and that’s what I’m all about.”

Anderson said he looked down the list of names on the petition and knew many of them, as well as their objections to the bond, adding that there were several reasons.

“The main reason,” he said, “is we didn’t have our act together. We didn’t plan on how to plan for this going in.”

Anderson added that had the council had a plan, many of the people who signed the petition would not have objected, and the village could have saved an estimated $5,000 to hold the vote.

“So, now it’s going to go to election,” he said. “It’s going to be in August. We have to come up with a plan that the voters can look at and say, ‘Hey, we want this,’ or ‘We don’t want this.'”

After the council passed the resolution for the bond, it was published in the Daily Mining Gazette, said Trustee Virginia Dwyer, and afterward, she received numerous complaints. She said she regretted the council taking the action it did.

“As an elected official,” Dwyer said, “I feel very badly that we did not have some public meetings first. We didn’t get our act together on what we actually need, how much is it going to cost.”

Trustee Roxanne King concurred, saying that she, too, wished the council had given more time to allow public hearings, but the condition of the snow-go did not become evident until the end of the snow season.

“It’s only been a matter of weeks since we realized that this is not something we need to do someday, but something we need to do now,” she said.

Dwyer said she talked with the county clerk about the bond issue, and was told bond proposals have always gone before the voters in this county.

Village Attorney Jim Tercha disagreed, saying it is a common practice for bonds to be approved without public consent.

“You should be aware that the township has issued bonds recently with no elections, the North Houghton County Water and Sewage Authority has issued bonds with no elections. Portage Lake Water and Sewage Authority have issued bonds with no elections,” he said.

He added that typically there are no elections in the matter of bonds, and there is no reason why the county clerk should even know about the issued bonds, because there were no petitions filed against them after they were issued.