Elberta could fall prey to Gov. Snyder’s Emergency Management Act


By Jacob Wheeler
Sun editor

Our friend Emily Votruba down in Elberta, just south of Frankfort, in Benzie County recently started a community newspaper called The Elberta Alert. The Alert, which just published its second print edition with a run of a thousand copies, is whimsical, topical, and generating the kind of community dialogue that small towns need to survive in this era of corporate and media consolidation. We’re excited about this budding endeavor and will help in any way we can.

Votruba, and Elberta, just stumbled upon an alarming and disturbing report. The tiny town could fall prey to Governor Rick Snyder and the GOP-controlled Michigan legislature’s controversial Local Government and School District Accountability Act. This means that debt-ridden and financially troubled Elberta could fall under government financial review and, hypothetically, the town could be disbanded and turned over to non-elected Emergency Managers. What would that mean? Selling off hereto preserved Lake Michigan frontage and Elberta’s pristine bluffs to developers in order to make Elberta solvent?

Much of the alarm stems from a story in today’s Benzie Record-Patriot (the newspaper of record in Benzie County) with the headline, “Elberta ‘Working Diligently’ on Financial Woes Cited by State”. In her story, “Elberta Placed on State Government Fiscal Watch List,” Votruba cites, and provides links to a chart published in the Detroit Free Press on April 6 that details where statewide municipalities and counties rate in terms of fiscal solvency. The Elberta Alert goes on to describe the town’s fiscal woes, including marina and condominium development that didn’t prove lucrative, expenses from the City of Milwaukee, lead and asbestos discovered at the waterfront park, and taxes that Native Americans no longer pay to Elberta.

Read Votruba’s story here