Sunday, June 14, 2015

Here We Go Again!

Here we go again! The City of Iron River proves itself
incapable of obeying its own ordinances. Is the city
council so stupid that they can never learn anything?

Right now it sure seems that way. The capacity for
shameful behavior by Iron River politicos knows
no bounds.

Ordinance 51.09(f) reads as follows:

“If a premises has been destroyed or is rendered
unsuitable for use as a result of fire, windstorm,
or otherwise, and is not being used because of the
catastrophe, or if a premises has not been used 
for any residential or commercial purposes for 
a period of 6 consecutive months or more, the 
premises shall not thereafter during the period 
of non-use be charged a fee for the availability 
of solid waste and garbage disposal services.  In
the case of non-use of a premises, the determination
of non-use shall be made by the City Council upon
recommendation of the City Manager; however,
abatement of the fee shall not be retroactive to the
first date of non-use.  Abatement of the fee for solid
waste and garbage disposal services shall not be
granted to any owner or occupant of a premises who
is absent from the City of Iron River on a seasonal
basis or where non-use is due, in whole or in part,
to the inability to find a tenant for the premises.”

A house I own at 413 Plum Street has not been
put to any residential or commercial uses since
Gloria and I bought it at the end of December
2005. So I asked for abatement of the garbage
collection fees, that the city council refused, in
accordance with Mr. Perry Franzoi’s “
recommendation” on May 20, 2015. 

I received Franzoi’s letter dated June 2, 2015,
that states in part, “Based on a thorough review
of Section f, it was determined that the request
did not meet the criteria necessary to receive the
exemption and was subsequently denied.”

My response of June 12 is below. Whenever local
government brings trouble to my door, it will be
resolved. I am entitled to an abatement of this charge
and since the city knowingly imposed the charge on
a property they knew to be in a state of “non-use” I
am entitled to a refund of all charges extracted from
me for garbage collection for the entire period.

My letter to Franzoi follows. Stay tuned fop the next chapter.

                                William J. Vajk
                                Iron River  MI  49935
                                12 June 2015

Perry Franzoi, City Manager
106 W. Genesee Street
Iron River  MI  49935

REF: Your letter dated 2 June 2015

By Personal Service

Thank you for the above referenced reply.

One of the dangers in using a municipal attorney for “all”
advice is that they have a very obvious conflict of interest
under some conditions. As a taxpayer I find it unacceptable.
It was clear from listening to the meeting of May 20,
instant, that you were prompted by Iron River’s municipal
attorney to provide the particular “recommendation” that
you gave to the city council. The absence of discussion
raises the specter of prior sub-quorum proceedings. I have
chosen this formal mode of communication because, in the
end, the City of Iron River has, as regards charging me for
solid waste collection for 413 Plum Street, violated your
own ordinance and thereby consequentially violated my
civil rights. I am therefore putting you on notice of that fact
and asking you politely to abate charges and return that
which was paid for solid waste collection. Your letter of
June 2, 2015 failed to provide any specifics explaining
“did not meet the criteria” yielding the only available
understanding that there is no describable valid failure
for meeting those conditions described in Section 51.09(f).
I refuse to play word games in any regards.

The following conditions must be met in reading and
enforcing statutes and ordinances:

In ONEIDA TWP. v. Grand Ledge, 766 NW 2d 291,
295-296 (2009)

“We must not consider the statute's language in isolation;
rather, we must consider each word and phrase in light
of its placement and purpose within the statutory
scheme. Herman v. Berrien Co., 481 Mich. 352,
366, 750 N.W.2d 570 (2008). Subsections of a statute
are not to be read discretely, but as part of a whole.
Lansing Mayor v. Pub. Service Comm., 470 Mich.
154, 167-168, 680 N.W.2d 840 (2004). ‘[T]he entire
act must be read, and the interpretation to be given to
a particular word in one section arrived at after due
consideration of every other section so as to produce,
if possible, a harmonious and consistent enactment
as a whole.’ Grand Rapids v. Crocker, 219 Mich.
178, 182-183, 189 N.W. 221 (1922); see also
Macomb Co. Prosecutor v. Murphy, 464 Mich.
149, 159, 627 N.W.2d 247 (2001) (provisions
must be read in the context of the entire statute).”

And in Echelon Homes, LLC v. Carter Lumber Co.,
694 NW 2d 544, 547 (2005)

“’We begin by examining the plain language of the
statute; where that language is unambiguous, we
presume that the Legislature intended the meaning
clearly expressed — no further judicial construction
is required or permitted, and the statute must be
enforced as written.’ People v. Morey, 461 Mich.
325, 329-330, 330; 603 N.W.2d 250 (1999) ‘We
must give the words of a statute their plain and
ordinary meaning....’ Id. The plain and ordinary
meaning of words can be ascertained by looking at
dictionary definitions. Koontz v. Ameritech Services, 
Inc., 466 Mich. 304, 312, 645 N.W.2d 34 (2002).”

The pertinent part of Iron River Ordinance § 51.09(f)

“…or if a premises has not been used for any residential
or commercial purposes for a period of 6 consecutive
months or more, the premises shall not thereafter during
the period of non-use be charged a fee for the availability
of solid waste and garbage disposal services.”

The balance of subsection (f) is purely procedural
designed to prevent the sort of miscarriage under the
color of law that was evident in the May 20 meeting.
Clearly the city council is not intended to merely be a
rubber stamp for whatever recommendation you chose
to make that obviously falls outside the ordinance
established parameters.

The City of Iron River has been abundantly aware for
several years that the residence at 413 Plum Street has
not been used for any residential or commercial
purposes. Evidence of this knowledge by the City was
presented to the Federal District Court several years
ago in that lawsuit. Without a doubt either your
municipal attorney or the MML funded lawyer
assigned to that case has those details readily
available for review.

I demand the City’s obedience to the plain meaning
of its own ordinance. I present this  demand for return
of all illegally collected exactions, including “late charges”
and county fees under the solid waste ordinance
retroactive to that first collected and a continuing
abatement so long as the property continues in its
present state of “non-use.”  I have never asked for
anything more than obedience by the City of Iron
River to all pertinent laws and I fail to understand why
the City finds that so difficult. Time is of the essence.

Please take notice that this property has not been
used for any residential or commercial purpose since
Gloria and I purchased it in the final days of 2005,
therefore the 6 month period of non-use mentioned
above was met at the end of June, 2006 and remains

Under these circumstances with an better understanding
of the ongoing conditions I urge you to present the issue
to the City Council once again while providing them with
this letter in addition to your recommendation, whatever
that might be this time. Based on the City’s recent
conduct, I fear that you and the city council have lost
sight of your mission and duty to the citizens of Iron River.
Please take care that you and the city council comply with
your ordinances and all statutes as they are written.

                Best regards,

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