Lowell’s First Look met individually with each of the candidates running for City Council who will appear on the ballot on Tuesday, November 5. 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 week leading up to the election we will publish a profile on one candidate as well as an answer to one of six questions surrounding issues. Each candidate was given the same set of questions. Their responses each week will be published verbatim.
What are the three biggest challenges facing the City of Lowell today and how will you address them?
Money for roads, how to lower taxes, maintaining all city services. Finding new tax revenue from different sources, such as second story development of our downtown. Promote new development options for new businesses. Working more closely with our local townships to possible expand our city services.
There are many challenges facing our city. They are all challenges that are going to take serious, considerate thought. Our number one issue is our infrastructure. We are in a position of being between a rock and a hard place. I am not a fan of the income tax, but I see no other serious proposals that can generate the revenue to address this issue. I think what needs to be included in the discussion pertaining to this issue both a long-term solution. I don’t want to end up in this position 40-50 years from now and we need to prepare for the future.
Another issue I think needs to prudently be addressed is our unfunded liabilities. We are currently 63% funded according to the State. We all saw what happened to Detroit when their unfunded pension liabilities became so massive that they no longer could afford it. Bankruptcy would put us in a very painful position, and I do not want the future of our community tarnished because of a lack of action on a pressing issue.
An issue I think is also important is economic growth and expanding economic opportunity. I view every single business as an individual’s attempt at chasing their American Dream. Every time a business move onto main street, struggles along for a few months and then closes, is an American dream lost. The City council needs to take bold steps to enhance our business environment, and make both working and living in Lowell more affordable for the hard working people who make up this town.
1) Streets, streets, streets. They have been neglected for so long, that it’s now or never. We worked diligently on the income tax proposal and hope that passes, as difficult as it is.
2) The trail connector. This is not a challenge, as much as it is a NEED. We are the hole in the system right now and it needs to be a high priority to complete. We will continue to work with the parks board and the LARA board to finish this beneficial project.
3) The new Showboat. There is a hole in the river and the community right now and we need to fill it. The Showboat has been a symbol of our city for a century and we are dedicated to making the new one the best show piece it can possibly be.
Three challenges for the City of Lowell that are top of my priority list are: road maintenance, sewage issues, and environmental policy. I plan on addressing them by reviewing our current objectives and funding revolving the topics. I would also be in conversation with the influencers of those policies and practices to gain understanding and feedback on the City’s current position. After the assessment, I would create a proposal to bring to the council and public to better improve the challenges. I would advocate for the solution, and bring as much awareness as I could to inspire change.
Communication. I have set up a Facebook page where people can introduce any questions or concerns. People are welcome to stop into Chimera Design and talk to me directly. In my short time on the Council I have heard numerous statements made about things in the City of Lowell that were incorrect and have done my best to communicate the truth to people. I actively encourage people to attend City Council meetings and Coffee with Council so we can talk face to face. One major advantage citizens of Lowell have with their elected Council members is accessibility – I live and work here. Let me know what is on your mind.
Condition of our streets. Maybe this should be first. Many things are being done to address this in the short and long term. Again, communication is a key element. I have tried to help people understand how the State of Michigan has changed funding for streets over the last 20 to 30 years. Lowell is NOT alone in facing crumbling roads; many municipalities in Michigan have resorted to a city income tax.
Trust. The political climate in our country stinks and with good reason. Folks have no trust in politicians and elected officials seem to ignore the interest and expressed desires of their constituents in favor of corporate interests. (Can you say “Nestle” or “Enbridge”?) I completely understand the lack of trust in Lansing and Washington DC, but am confused that it exists at the level of City Council. I am not in some far off city. I am not reliant on “donations” to stay in office. If you have a question or concern – stop by, call, or email me. Please.