DEXTER: Town hall meeting hits many topics; little time spent on cityhood
Friday, February 15, 2013
By Leslie McGraw
About 30 Dexter residents attended Tuesday’s town hall meeting at the Dexter District Library.
“Our town hall meetings are informal so people can ask questions,” said Councilmember Jim Carson, “There is no particular topic.”
Cityhood Up for a Vote
What seemed to be put on the backburner was the new proposal to incorporate the Village of Dexter into to a city.
Currently, what residents call “the village”, is part of Scio and Webster townships and votes in both townships.
At Tuesday’s meeting, community members received a copy of the Village of Dexter Cityhood Fact Sheet explaining policy, government, boundary, and fiscal changes that may occur if Village of Dexter residents vote “yes” on the May 17 ballot.
A couple residents said they had heard a negative response and a couple said they had heard a positive response about the pending cityhood. However, there was no personal commentary or statements offered by attendees during the meeting.
Mary Fialkowski did not make a comment during the meeting but shared that she is not happy with the decision to put cityhood on the ballot. “The word ‘city’ just doesn’t fit Dexter,” she said later.
Fialkowski, 73, was raised in Detroit and has lived in Pinckney, but found her home in the Village of Dexter 40 years ago.
“Most people like it just the way it is. We will lose our connections to the townships, and have no say about big stores and such,” expressed Fialkowski.
It is difficult to tell what the majority opinion is at this time. Council President Shawn Keough said he had only heard positive responses. “We can never get a concise picture, so [we said] let’s put it up to a vote,” he said.
In the meantime, Dexter residents have facts, figures and open forums to ask questions that can inform their vote in three months.
Other topics discussed
Traffic and increased connection to resources in Washtenaw County were hot button topics. Also, discussed were new pedestrian trails from the Hudson Mills Metropark to Dexter Huron Park.
Dexter residents commuting to Ann Arbor may have new options as the Ann Arbor Transit Authority (AATA) has made a statement to work with the Western-Washtenaw Area Value Express (WAVE) bus service help find funding, expand bus service, as well as optimize stops on the No. 9 route.
These changes to transit would allow commuters to go to the University of Michigan, Washtenaw Community College, Eastern Michigan University, VA Hospital and all Washtenaw County buildings in less than two hours.
Residents would also be able to make it through the entire village roundtrip in less than an hour. “This would be safer and reduce the number of teenagers in cars,” said Todd Austin.
Austin, the president of a homeowners association in the village, also urged the council to look at traffic safety and signage in residential areas.
After a lively discussion, Keough agreed to collect and examine traffic data as well as temporary increases to law enforcement in high-traffic subdivisions.