BREEDSVILLE, Mich. (WOOD) — Voters in one part of Van Buren County will decide in November whether to do away with the village of Breedsville.
Home to slightly more than 200 people, Breedsville is nestled between Kalamazoo and South Haven, north of M-43.
A grassroots initiative has its status as a village is in question. Voters in Breedsville and Columbia Township will see a simple one-sentence question under the local proposals section of the Nov. 8 ballot: “Shall incorporation of the Village of Breedsville be vacated?”
If the answer is yes, Breedsville would still keep its name but would no longer be an official village with its own local government. It would be governed by Columbia Township leaders.
Jim Puttkammer, who manages the Breedsville-based cannabis store Higher Breed, was concerned about the potential for disincorporation because the village greenlit cannabis licenses but the township hasn’t opted in.
“We fear what could happen to us, what could happen to others and even the money that comes in from those businesses,” Puttkammer said. “(I’m) kind of taken aback as to why someone would want to see (the village) dissolved.”
In a statement, the Breedsville village clerk said the “board is working hard for its residents. The people will decide.” It added the board is “not involved in the proposed ballot language or the petition.”
Village President Steven Rogusta added that current village leaders have made progress on local roads, which he says is residents’ number one concern and that and progress might stall if the area falls under new stewardship.
“We’ve done actually, so far… a full mile altogether and we’re planning on improving it as much as we can,” Rogusta said. “I was kind of expecting (the proposal) but I’m shocked that it actually went through.”
One advocate for the disincorporation, who spoke with News 8 on the condition of anonymity, said funding for the roads was already in place by a previous administration. The supporter added that the current board is not responsive to the community, its members govern secretively and local ordinances are not universally enforced.
The Van Buren County Clerk’s Office says the disincorporation needs a two-thirds majority to pass.