HARRISVILLE - In lieu of last week's failed millage to fund the Huron Undercover Narcotics Team in Alcona County next year, the Alcona County Board of Commissioners agreed on Wednesday to consider a proposal by the Citizens for Alcona First to put a millage request for a school resource officer on the November ballot.
During the public comment session of Wednesday's board meeting, more than half a dozen citizens spoke out in favor of the outcome of last week's election, specifically to reiterate reasons they did not support the HUNT millage. Former educators, coaches, students and others said HUNT was an expensive branch of a failed war on drugs that employed forceful interdiction and scare tactics where couseling and therapy have proven more useful. Members of Citizens for Alcona First, a group of county residents who claim to pursue "efficient and accountable government" asked the board to put a four-year proposal for 0.0726 mills for a school resource officer on the November ballot. As these officers do in other schools and once did at Alcona Community Schools, they said, this officer would provide drug and alcohol abuse education, address crime and disorder on campus, deter potential bomb threats, counsel students, and otherwise represent law enforcement in a positive light. According to Citizens for Alcona First member Robert Kennedy, the proposal would raise about $55,500 in its first year.
Board members said they favored this proposal and tentatively resolved to meet with Alcona Superintendent Shawn Thornton, Sheriff Doug Atchison, and Prosecutor Tom Weichel at 8:30 a.m. Friday to discuss it further, though board Chair Kevin Boyat said he might like to see the proposal go a little further to address losing HUNT officers.
"Without HUNT, we have lost a deputy and a half," he said. "My thought is that, if we're going to have something - I think it's a good idea to have somebody for the school - but I think we should go for a little bit more so we can have another deputy so people also can be protected."
Board member Carolyn Brummund suggested putting the HUNT millage up for renewal again on the November ballot or pairing it with the new proposal, but the board made no decisions on the matter.
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