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I-Team Waste Watch: Gull Lake millage follow-up

Updated: Thursday, March 13, 2014 |
I-Team Waste Watch: Gull Lake millage follow-up story image
KALAMAZOO, Mich. (NEWSCHANNEL 3) - The Newschannel Three I-Team is on waste watch  with new information about how the Gull Lake School District is spending its money.

We were first to uncover administrators spent thousands to put a tax proposal on the February ballot, critics say to get it passed when many voters are gone for the winter.

The measure was voted down but a recount has now reversed that.

We found the township clerk involved in counting these votes allowed dozens of ballots that were filled out incorrectly. The recount kicked out those ballots and that's how the tax issue ended up approved.

At issue was a millage to create a sinking fund for school improvements.

Kalamazoo county clerk Tim Snow says the clerk for Richland Township admitted finding two dozen ballots were filled out incorrectly but she felt they were clear about their intent as a yes or no vote and so she filled out replacement ballots for those and sent them through the counter.

"We are not a voter intent state, we don't try to figure out what the voter is trying to tell us. We have to take it at face value on what is on the ballot and what is not on the ballot,” says Snow.

And this just adds to the controversy with this vote, as we uncovered the district paid six to eight thousand dollars more to have the issue on the February ballot than it would have paid to have it on the ballot in May.

And we learned the district asked to put the question again on the May ballot the day before the February election even happened just in case the millage request failed.

Some people who live in the district we talked to said they were outraged that administrators wouldn't first consider what people voted the first time around.

After the recount the issue was approved by just three votes.

Kalamazoo County Clerk Snow says he will be providing additional training and instruction to people at all levels in the election process before the May and August elections to keep this from happening again.
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