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Chassell board cites reasons beyond wording

CHASSELL – The Chassell Township board offered reasons for its actions in re-running a referendum in November that was already voted on in August. One reason, board members said, was the number of voters who said they were confused by the wording of the referendum. Another reason was the library itself, according to board supervisor Dave Mattson.

“Why would the Chassell Township board put this issue on the general election? I think the best way that I can demonstrate this would be by asking this question of the Portage Lake District Library,” Mattson began.

He then asked Dillon Geshel, PLDL director to read highlighted minutes from previous library board meetings regarding Chassell Township’s relationship with the PLDL, going back to December 2015.

Geshel read from the minutes that because other members of library district were questioning remaining within the district if Chassell residents voted to withdraw, “that makes it even more important to keep Chassell.”

After Geshel had read minutes highlighted by Mattson, Mattson then asked if the board would have voted to hold the election in August had its members been aware of the library’s agenda, which he said, was the library’s planning solely for the benefit of the library, while ignoring the township.

“Would anybody on this board have agreed to place the vote in primary (election) had they known that there was so much that had gone into it was benefitting the library who wanted the vote in the primary in the first place?”

Members of the audience were not satisfied with Mattson’s explanation, replying that it was the board’s responsibility and duty to have read the library minutes before the August election.

“We went off the library board,” Mattson responded. “We had meetings going back and forth for several months here, trying to decide because of a request from our township,” Mattson said. “We went back and forth, trying to decide when would be the best time to place the election.” Mattson said the board members had assumed the library would need to put its millage vote on the ballot in November, which was one of the reasons prompting the Chassell board to place the referendum on the ballot in August. Mattson said the PLDL board did not reply to the question until “very late in the negotiation process.”

“Then, when they came up and said, ‘alright, actually, we we’re going to wait until November, maybe of 2017, to do our millage renewal,’ that did leave open the general and the primary.”