Three Oaks meeting to discuss budget

By: Erin Logan Email
By: Erin Logan Email

While they're waiting and wondering, people in the Village of Three Oaks are still working to save their community.

Leaders asked the state of Michigan for help, and its treasury department is expected to review the situation.

As we've been telling you, the village may be in the hole about $100,000 this year, but the focus of Wednesday night's meeting was about next year.

It's one of those deals where you can't dwell on the past; you have to move forward.

People in the village say, unfortunately, it's hard to sit in on a meeting about next's years budget, beginning October first, when this year's financial crisis has everyone on edge.

In the village center Wednesday, people were dealing with this stressful situation in different ways. Some were hitting the volleyball amongst friends and others were hoping to hearing every last detail in the village meeting.

Les Wycoff says, "Normally that place is packed. The last few weeks and the last few months you can get standing room only in there."

That's because the village is in waiting mode. The people know one of three things will happen soon -- the state will decide if the village is financially reparable, in crisis mode, or a financial emergency.

If it's an emergency, the state will take over completely.

Dave Grosse says, "I'd hate to have the state take over this town. I want the people of Three Oaks to decide how this town is going to be run."

Grosse has lived there for 50 years. He can't believe a place that advertises a world record for raising the most money per capita in the late 1800's is now on the verge of begging for money.

Grosse says that, week after week, he witnesses chaos, not confidence.

He says, "They haven't had a reliable set of books to look at."

While they look ahead to next year without a budget, they're still figuring out how to fix this year's deficit.

In a small place like this, there's no doubt doing business like this can be bothersome, especially when getting rid of village employees is a possibility.

Wycoff says, "I know all the people, all the families and they're in a rough situation right now working day to day wondering if they're going to get a pay check next week. Everyone needs to get through this and straighten it out and work together as a team."

The team goal is obvious: to have the state help the village through this tough time, but not completely take over.

We're told the State Treasurer is expected to get information to Governor Granholm by the end of the month. The village doesn't know when a final decision will be made.

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