Niles Township is seeking charter status

Published 1:49 am Tuesday, March 21, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Niles Township may soon make the transition to a charter township. The board of trustees Monday night authorized Clerk Marge Durm-Hiatt to publish a notice in local papers announcing the option to residents.
The board also indicated the change would come without an increase in taxes.
If the move to charter status was voted on and passed in a general election, the township would have the ability to levy an increase in taxes up to 5 mills. However, board members said the township would be unable to raise taxes beyond the current 1 mills if the board itself passed the resolution.
Treasurer James Ringler said the main advantage to becoming a charter township would be the increased protection from annexation.
Ringler added the idea was not brought about by any threat of annexation.
The possibility of becoming a charter township has been discussed in the past by the board. Durm-Hiatt said a notice indicating Niles Township was eligible to become a charter township was received by the board in August of 2001. But, no one on the board could say why action was not previously taken.
Durm-Hiatt said she is required to publish the notice twice in the papers, each coming 15 days apart. The public then has 60 days to respond by petition.
The board also received a report from Sgt. Tim Ganus from the Berrien County Sheriff's Dept. Ganus said statistics through the month of January indicate the sheriff's department responded to 278 complaints in Niles Township, which account for nearly one quarter of the entire county's complaints during the same time period.
Ganus also said 52 tickets were issued but an accurate number of arrests was not available.