Village of Lennon in danger of dissolving due to proposal

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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY (WJRT) - (08/28/2018) - A proposal to dissolve the village of Lennon could see its way onto the November ballot.

The ballot proposal, if passed, would disincorporate the village of Lennon, which sits on the border of Genesee and Shiawassee counties into Venice and Clayton townships.

But some are questioning if the proposal is even legal.

The Lennon proposal came to be thanks to a successful petition drive by a resident.

But village president Barbara BakerOmerod, who is also an attorney, said even if passed by voters they wouldn't be able to enforce the proposal.

"Well, that ballot language is void on its face. You can't do that,” said BakerOmerod. "You can't vacate a home rule village under the General Law Village Act. But nobody will do anything about it."

According to the ballot language the dissolution would be legal under the General Law Village Act of 1895. But BakerOmerod said the village of Lennon was actually incorporated under the Home Rule Village Act of 1909, which doesn't allow for disincorporation.

"And just today, I finally got the ballot language from the county clerk and it does not look like the township clerk certified that it was actually appropriate under the Home Rule Village Act, because it's not," said BakerOmerod.

She said the village is currently looking at taking the issue to court.

"So the village is incurring huge amounts of legal fees to try to not have this put on the ballot to confuse our residents to make even more problems down the road,” said BakerOmerod. “Because if they actually voted in favor of it and then we said have no legal ability to disincorporate the village because it's not in our charter, it's not a provision allowed under the Home Rule Act."

Fighting to save her community, BakerOmerod believes this is the right thing.

"I love my neighbors and I want to do what's best for them and I want to keep the community going forward," said BakerOmerod.

The woman pushing to dissolve the village declined to comment for this story. She collected more than 100 signatures on a petition, which accounts for about 20 percent of Lennon's 500-person population.

If the proposal does appear the ballot in November and is passed, the village's department of public works and police department also would dissolve. Village residents would become residents of the township in which they reside.

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