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As a village, Dexter straddled two townships, Scio and Webster, in Washtenaw County. However, village residents in Scio Township were paying 1.4 mills for assessing and tax collection while village residents in Webster Township were assessed 3.2 mills for the same services.

City manager Courtney Nicholls says the move to incorporate was purely for this financial reason. Starting this year, residents will have to pay the city only a 1 percent administration fee for those services. Nicholls says that should cover city expenses and notes that was the same fee charged by the townships, so all residents will save some money.

Incorporation didn't come easily. Many residents, concerned about losing Dexter's "small town atmosphere," opposed the move. Voters approved cityhood Nov. 4 by a close 54 percent. It officially became Michigan's newest city Nov. 20.

Not all villages face the same unequal taxation system that Dexter residents encountered. Romeo in Macomb County is a village that straddles Bruce and Washington townships. However, as village Clerk Michael A. Lee notes, Romeo taxpayers don't face varying tax levies.

In Dexter's case, residents are coming out ahead, financially, by incorporating as a city. Consequently, other villages would be prudent to look at their financial situation and see if their residents are paying different fees for the same services. If incorporation will save money, villages should consider it.

Medical program good for state

The Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine has earned a full, five-year accreditation and the accomplishment is good for not just the college but for Michigan.

Accreditation was granted by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association.

The medical school is the newest in Michigan and will graduate its inaugural class of 47 students on May 15. Interviews are underway for its fifth class where 125 students will be accepted from more than 6,100 applicants.

OU's medical program complements others at University of Michigan, Wayne State University and Michigan State University, which also have full accreditation.

Amid Michigan's growing economy are efforts to improve its higher education institutions. OU's accomplishment can only add to Michigan's medical resume as it tries to establish itself as a destination for medical students and a location where many graduates want to practice.

Ditch the civics bill

Proposed legislation requiring high school students to pass a civics test before they can receive a diploma is no doubt well intentioned, but it's unnecessary.

Rep. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township, the main sponsor, says he is concerned about engaging young people in their government and having them become better citizens. He says his bill won't involve any more time or money and won't change a local school's curriculum.

Students will be able to take the test online as many times as they wish to get a passing grade of 60 percent.

But another test isn't likely to engage students in their government.

If the curriculum isn't changing, then the information students need already exists. They don't need another test, although they might need better instruction.

Legislators should drop the bill. Leave the teaching of such classes up to local instructors, and let state education leaders and school districts decide what students need to get their diplomas.

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