Turner's concern and his relative neutrality made him an ideal broker for a solution. While his efforts--which are acknowledged with gratitude by both the Sylvan Township board and Free Sylvan members--may not have resulted in a millage, a silver lining has emerged from the process. Turner's work has opened communication between the township and the county, between concerned citizens and the township board, and even between Sylvan citizens and their neighboring communities.
"We have met with some Chelsea city council members," says Zieske. "They could buy or lease a part of the [township] water tower, or buy interest in it. The city certainly would like to annex part of the township. It's not clear that the millage would be the only option until they have a real serious talk about it."
Because official talks between Sylvan Township and Chelsea city officials have not been scheduled, what happens next is anyone's guess. Though rumors have circulated about Chelsea's annexing township land, or putting a second millage proposal on a spring ballot, what seems more likely is that the township and the county will negotiate a consent judgment in the spring that sets the terms for repayment. This could range from the feared, though unlikely, 18 mills over five years to the same terms voters rejected last year.
"We don't know what the judge will say," says Turner. "He might say, 'You have Rob's plan, that's what I want,' and he could set the millage at 4.75."