Trustee retires

UNIOPOLIS — Union Township Trustee Dale Miller officially announced his retirement and subsequent resignation Wednesday from the board during the Board of Trustees.

Miller submitted his retirement to the board, and the remaining two trustees, Kelly Knutzen and Steve Severt, accepted it.

Miller had been a mainstay in the township, currently finishing his 31st year on the board.

“It’s been 31 years and my health is still good,” Miller said. “You never know how long that is going to last. My wife and I would like to do some traveling. It’s been a good 31 years, but I felt it was just time to go.”

Miller was elected to his eighth term in 2009 and leaves with one year left on his term. The other two trustees will appoint someone to finish out the term during the January meeting. A couple of people have expressed a possible interest to trustees in the position, but no official action has been taken or discussed during township meetings.

Board members briefly discussed the failed vote in the village of Uniopolis to surrender the corporation to the township and what it means to the township in the future.

Earlier this year, councilors put a the issue of unincorporation, or dissolving the village up for a vote, citing severe cuts in locally distributed funds from the state. Councilors felt the move was needed to maintain fiscal survival, if the village had chosen to unincorporate, the township would have picked up governmental control.

However, the measure was defeated by a 60-57 vote, with three undervotes. The measure failed by one vote unofficially on Election Day before provisional ballots were counted. The vote was 56-55 on Nov. 6.

Four council members — Elaine Wenning, Dave Kohlreiser, Marilyn Fleck and Greg Ritchie — were in attendance at Wednesday’s meeting and expressed their concerns with the election.

Many of the councilors felt an unsigned letter that went out right before the election influenced the vote. The letter, which later Mayor Bill Rolston said he circulated, referred to possible changes in fees charged to residents if the village choose to surrender its corporate powers to Union Township with their vote Nov. 6.

Rolston said he circulated the letter to better inform voters because the possibility of on extra charge was not discussed during the Oct. 1 first council meeting. Rolston is against the move.

Councilors said they felt the information was misleading and are considering putting the move back on the ballot, possibly as soon as May.

“They were unhappy with the way the vote turned out and felt the letter changed things considerably,” Miller said. “It appears it may be back on the ballot in the spring.

Miller said the board would carry on with business as usual for now and would continue their good working relationship with the village.