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Ferrysburg bridge millage fails, charter amendment passes

FERRYSBURG, Mich. -- It was a big election day for the city of Ferrysburg. Two big decisions were on the ballot. One of them involved the hotly contested future of the historic Ferrysburg Nature Preserve.

Voters had to decide whether to amend the city charter when it comes to the sale of city parks and cemeteries. It's a debate that's been going on for more than a year now.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the amendment, with 81 percent marking 'yes'. That means the decision of whether to sell city parks and cemeteries will be in residents hands, not city council. Supporters say approving the charter amendment closes a loophole that allowed council members to decide on such a transaction.

"We're really happy with the results. The community has spoken, and they want to have a voice in whether or not city council sells our parks," Sandy Tuggle said.

Ed Royce said, "People understood that they would be giving up their own say, their own power, and their own vote and giving it to someone else to make that decision for them."

The other ballot issue centered around the Smith's Bridge. Millions of dollars are needed to repair or replace the bridge. City council asked for a 20-year property tax to help fund the project. However, 63 percent of voters said 'no' to the millage at the ballot box.

"I feel the millage, the three mills was not the way to go to fund the bridge. There's still some engineering studies that need to be looked at to address what exactly needs to be done with the bridge," newly elected councilman Richard Carlson said.

He added, "We don't know if it needs to be repaired, rebuilt, or total replacement and they kind of... I believe council in the past jumped the gun to put the three mills before the people."

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