Residents request panel to explore dissolving village government



By Matt Schepeler

Village officials hopeful that the idea of dissolving the village government would just go away were likely disappointed last week.

Brooklyn resident Terry Mahr turned in a petition to the Brooklyn Village Council at its February 11 meeting asking that a citizen’s committee be formed to explore the possibility of dissolving the village government.

The document states that “We, the undersigned residents, property owners and business owners within the village of Brooklyn, Michigan in the township of Columbia, in Jackson County are a small representation of area citizens who are requesting the Brooklyn Village Council appoint a citizen’s committee to study the advantages and disadvantages of dissolving the incorporated village of Brooklyn and governing its environs under Columbia Township.”

While the document was signed by around 15 people, Mahr noted after the meeting she could easily have gathered more.

Mahr said that such a big decision should be explored by more stakeholders than village residents. “Because Brooklyn is the commerce center for several surrounding townships as well as that of Columbia, and the village itself, we encourage you to consider inviting and appointing citizens from the entire trade area along with village residents who indicate an interest in serving on the commission,” she stated in the letter.

She said that she also included a list of people who have expressed interest in serving on the committee.

The possibility of disincorporating the village government has been broached by Brooklyn businessman Tom Knutson. Knutson is not a village resident, but the company clearly has a vested interest in the village. The company not only owns the outdoors-related retail and wholesale operations on M-124 but has an interest in the hotel and holds other property in the village as well.

Tom Knutson was not at the Feb. 11 meeting, but lambasted the council, and specifically village president J.B. DeJeu, at the January 28 meeting.

Mahr has stated several times that the issue is not a personal one with her and does not want to see it become one with others. She noted that the subject of disincorporating the village was explored in the 1970s and thinks it may make sense to do away with the village layer of government.

“I just want to explore all the options,” she said.

Mahr requested a public statement from the council indicating its intentions of whether to form a committee or not by March 25.

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