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Posted on Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 5:57 a.m.

State sets January public hearing date for Dexter city boundary

By Lisa Allmendinger

The Village of Dexter's quest to become a home rule city is again moving forward.

Late last week, officials met with the boundary commission, and a public hearing has been set for Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. at the Dexter District Library for boundaries that were found “legally sufficient” in late October. These boundaries include Gordon Hall in Webster Township and the back half of the Mill Creek Sport Center, which is in Scio Township.

Gordon Hall.JPG

Gordon Hall

File photo

However, both Webster Township and the Dexter Area Historical Society have voiced objections to the inclusion of Gordon Hall in the proposed boundaries. The land is part of a 425 agreement between the village and Webster Township, which says that if the village becomes a city, it is responsible for paying taxes to the township for 12 years on the property.

And because neither Webster Township nor the Dexter Area Historical Society are in favor of the proposed boundary, village and township officials have been working together to draw a new boundary, which will meet both the state standards and is mutually agreeable to all the groups involved.

They plan to jointly propose it at the public hearing in January. See what it looks like here: Updated Boundary Map.pdf.

To recap the newest developments in Dexter’s march toward cityhood, on Nov. 2, village officials met with Webster Township Supervisor John Kingsley and Kevin O’Brien, a member of the boundary commission staff, to discuss a boundary that includes only a small portion of the Gordon Hall property and excludes the Mill Creek Sport Center property.

In addition, to protect its interests, Webster Township has filed an appeal of the boundaries that the state found “legally sufficient,” with the Ingham County Court. Even though the sides are working toward a mutually agreeable boundary, the township only had 21 days to file an appeal in the courts.

“But, we won’t move forward with our appeal if the state agrees to the new boundary that everyone is agreeable with,” Kingsley said.

The latest boundary has a small piece of touching area, something that might not appeal to the state.

“The state has to decide if they think that’s a problem but the state surveyor said they didn’t think it would be,” said Dexter Village President Shawn Keough.

Ultimately, the state will make the decision of what the new city boundary will be following the public hearing.

According to the village’s Website, here are the next steps following the public hearing.

*The Boundary Commission will decide whether or not the incorporation should move forward.

*If the Boundary Commission decides it should move forward, within 45 days, any citizen can obtain signatures on a petition to call for a referendum on whether or not the village should become a city.

*If no petition is filed, an election is held to elect a City Charter Commission. These people would then write the city charter.

*Once the charter is written, it is sent to the governor's office for approval. If it’s not approved, the Charter Commission works to fix the charter and resubmits the document.

*Once approved, a charter election is scheduled and an election is held. If it passes, the village becomes a city. If not, it goes back to the Charter Commission.

Lisa Allmendinger is a regional reporter with She can be reached at For more Dexter stories, visit our Dexter page.


Steve Hendel

Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 3:42 p.m.

As a newbie Webster Twp resident, can someone please enlighten me on these issues? Why does Dexter want to become a city? Will it mean more services and higher taxes?


Fri, Nov 25, 2011 : 5:30 p.m.

They say no - it won't. It will, however, allow them to control their own property assessments, control revenue to pay for services they run themselves (so I think its an overwhelming yes) and sever themselves from county services if they choose. In my opinion, they gloss over the downside, which is that they will also now be solely responsible for the governance, fiscal management and payment for all "city" business and maintenance such as roads. They also have the option to levy a new tax: city income tax. Proponents say this will either a) not happen (do you really believe this) or that it will be offset by less taxes paid to the county (really - more people doing the jobs previously done by few people - sorry, the math is not there). If Dexter wishes to grow more and become like Chelsea, with its own police force for example, then this is logical as a next step. At the most basic, its a question of weather Dexter wishes to continue to grow into a city or not. Obviously the council thinks the answer is yes - so much so that from the beginning of this process back in 08 they have doggedly refused to acknowledge that there is any downside whatsoever. However, if their bumbling over the recent sidewalk debacle is any indication of their future performance, I think its a very bad idea. Ego's (and I am giving them the benefit of the doubt there, since I think it was worse than ego being the problem) ran rampant and people's wishes and property rights were discarded like so much bothersome recycling in the face of a grand master plan. Dexter is not ready for city-hood, at least with the current folks running the place.