Several county residents expressed their disapproval Tuesday morning regarding the County Board of Commissioners' vote against passing a resolution of support of House Bill 4916 at their last meeting. At the Aug. 9 board meeting, the commissioners were presented with a resolution of support of the house bill that has been presented by Representative Lee Chatfield, which, if passed, would allow people to choose to keep their analog electric meter, rather than be forced to switch to new technology. The board heard the concerns of citizens, along with a presentation from Dennis McKee of Consumers Energy about the new technology and what the energy company is doing to implement the new meters. Commissioners Bruce Gauthier and Sue Allor voted in support of the resolution while Commissioners Chris Brown, John Wallace, Pete Redmond, Cal Gouine and Tony Matelski voted against the resolution. “So I gather that it's acceptable to those board members who voted not to support our own state representative's co-sponsored bill to keep our analog meters and to just let some of our citizens suffer needlessly, to be forced to have a product installed on their homes that has been proven to cause harm to their health, just because you don't want to interfere with their business model,” said Indian River resident John Kurczewski. Kurczewski said he finds it morally reprehensible that members of the board would actually condone this, asking if they have ever read their vision statement, especially the part which states the county will “strengthen its position as a diverse, family oriented community, while promoting a higher quality of life and a safe environment.” If business models were not interfered with, we would end up with all kinds of products on the market that would be harmful to our health, such as cigarettes, he said. “Tobacco companies were required to put warning labels on their products, stating that cigarette smoking is hazardous to human health,” said Kurczewski. “So what? You don't have to smoke them. When it comes to a digital meter, you can't just go to another company for electric service. Consumers Energy has a monopoly.” Kurczewski said he feels McKee lied to the county board when he told them the new smart meters are perfectly safe. The new meters have been proven many times over to cause serious health problems. There has been sworn testimony by an expert, David Carpenter, to the Michigan Public Services Commission that states the new meters give off harmful levels of electromagnetic radiation that can damage someone's health. “I furnished you with this information and more,” said Kurczewski. “Either you didn't bother to read it, or you conveniently decided to ignore it. Even our own attorney general stated that the new meters have no benefits to the utility customers.” Another concern that was addressed was meter tampering. Any tampering with an analog meter would only effect the home on which that meter is installed. However, there have been reports that expert hackers have been able to turn off the entire power supply to a city by hacking into one digital meter. “I'd say that's quite a big difference,” said Kurczewski. To compensate for the power supply losses, Kurczewski suggested the country switch over to renewable sources of energy, rather than using fossil fuels that lead to pollution. He also suggested the board take up the matter of the vote for the resolution again, to at least stand up and uphold their vision statement. Cheboygan resident Jamie Chimner also expressed her thoughts on the board's vote, stating she is not the only one in the area that needs an analog meter. “That resolution was not for me, it was for everyone,” said Chimner. “There are many people in this community who suffer worse than I did. I have phone calls from people, telling me how they are suffering.” Chimner said she has the proof that McKee lied and she is also very disappointed in the board for the way they voted, except for the two members who to send the resolution of support. “It gave you no power. It just said we support our community and what they decide,” said Chimner. “It gave no power; 41 other communities have done it, no problem. You're just supporting your representative and the people who live here. And I am very disappointed in all of you, except for the two who voted for it.” Chimner has not had electricity for over a year because she and her husband refuse to allow a new smart meter to be installed on their home. “And not one of you have come or called to see how I am doing,” said Chimner. “There's many more out there, so thank you for your concern and the two of you who voted for it, thank you. That means so much to me and I hope that you, none of you every have to go through this, ever.”