Something amazing happened on Monday night at the Dexter Village Council meeting.
A few weeks ago, a proposal was made to raise the tax millage in the village a little more than 1 mill, which would have been the first increase in the total Village millage rate in over 10 years. On Monday night that proposal was considered.
As the process goes, the Council takes public comment for things like the budget and millages. Usually the audience at Council meetings is composed of reporters, Village staff, consultants, and one or two interested citizens. Rarely does anyone speak at a public hearing. I do not think we have had anyone comment on the budget or tax millage rate in the 10 years I have been on Council. Some will say that is apathy, some say it is because things are going pretty well, and some say it is because citizens don't know these public hearings are being held. In any case, comments on proposals are rare.
Monday night was different in 21st century fashion and the Council heard the voices of the citizens. A total of 5 or 6 emails were received by various members of Council. The emails said they were not in favor of the millage at this time, that they wanted to see a plan and maybe have a vote, or that they just could not afford it at this time. President Keough received a text message from a resident of the Village.
The people spoke, and Council listened. The motion for the increase in the millage rate was withdrawn, a new motion was made, and the existing rate from last year passed unanimously.
Sometimes it seems we do not have a voice in our government, but in truth it is often that we do not speak. I think that is largely because we believe we will not be heard. I guarantee you the people on Council are listening to the people we represent. We may not always agree, but we do listen.
If you'd like to know what's going on, subscribe to the Village email that comes out once or twice a week. All it takes is a couple of minutes at the Village website, http://villageofdexter.org/. Click on the "Email Updates" link and enter your email address. When there is a public hearing or another item in which you have an interest, write to the Council. Their email addresses are on the Village website, too. Those emails you send are read at Council and entered into the public record.
Five or six voices made a difference on Monday night, and you can make a difference, too. Even if you cannot make it to a meeting, you can still make your voice heard.