Council Candidate Questions: Challenges Facing the City

Lowell’s First Look met individually with each of the candidates running for City Council who will appear on the ballot on Tuesday, November 2.  There are three seats up for election by voters. The two who receive the highest number of votes will receive a four-year term and the person who receives the third-highest number of votes will receive a two-year term.  

Each candidate received the same questions. Each week in October we will bring you responses to the questions we asked in addition to a candidate profile. Answers are published verbatim and have not been edited.

What are the three biggest challenges facing the City of Lowell today and how will you address them?

Marty Chambers
Sewer plan expansion. Continuing road rebuilding. Working with both townships to keep things moving forward.

Jake Davenport
I think our three biggest issues are Infrastructure, economic recovery from the pandemic induced recession and mental health.

On infrastructure, our issues are not easily solved. The City has made efforts to address what streets they can, but ultimately our problems lie with the state and how local municipal governments are funded through revenue sharing by the state and how they structure taxation at the local level. The best way to solve our infrastructure problems is my standing up to Lansing and tell them their laws no longer work for us. I am willing to take on Lansing to solve this. This issue is an issue effecting all cities across the state, I will do whatever I can as a local official to make sure Lansing hears us, and acts quickly on this issue, because we cannot continue like this for much longer.

On Economic Recovery, we need to review all our city ordinances, review approval processes with boards and commissions, and eliminate city ordinances and processes that weigh down our local businesses. I would go a step further and and say all ordnances should automatically sunset after 10 years, and City Council should have to decide whether an ordinance is reapproved. I believe that government’s number one role should always be protecting our constitutional rights and not meddling in our daily lives and micromanaging how our businesses operate. Less Government and less regulation is good for our businesses and good for Lowell. 

This issue of mental health is a silent crisis in our community. The issue of depression and suicide has impacted many folks in our community. It has impacted me as well. I lost a friend to suicide 3 ½ years ago. The weight of such tragedies is a weight I know all too well. There are two ways I think we should address this issue. Number one, I think we should set up a community crisis line that goes directly to the Lowell police and fire departments that works 24/7. Something akin to the Ok2Say program. Why directly to the Lowell PD? If someone is on the edge a permanent life ending decision, time is of the essence and having it go to local agency, a local officer that can go to an individual’s house within minutes can be the difference between life and death. Secondly. I would like to see all of emergency workers including our Police, Fire, and EMT workers with Rockford Ambulance trained in how to deal with mental health crisis’s and make available to them all possible training in how to deescalate such situations.

Leah Groves
The first issue I felt boil over in our community was the polarized sides. It seems so many people have dug their heels in and don’t feel the need to move. It’s a game of tug of war without a rope. Everyone is overwhelmed and frustrated because the other side won’t falter. The question remains how do we address this? In my eyes, the answer is simple. We set down the rope and release the tension in our tired feet. Through kind conversations, respectful teamwork and the showing of cooperation I believe we can come together for the greater good and rise, together.

The second challenge I’d like to bring to the table is community involvement. Though I have seen a drastic increase in involvement since being appointed by my fellow council manners last November, I would like to encourage even more citizens to get to know how the city works, who the council members are, and express city concerns or updates at meetings. I want to know you, I represent you.

The third issue I’d like to bring forward is Communication. I am of the belief that the city should have a well maintained, easily accessible, factual space for citizens to receive quick information, city updates, events, and opportunities to serve. Though our local media sources do an excellent job at covering our town’s happenings, I witness time and time again so many residents ‘in the dark’. Conversation on current social media pages that involve Lowell happenings often leave more questions than answers. I’d like to provide citizens the chance to gather the correct information from the correct source.

Jim Salzwedel
Staying with in our budget. I see some new expensive come over the next couple of years and funding will need to be shifter around. Generate more funds. Dealing with the upgrade to our waster water treatment plant due to township growth.

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