On Nov. 3, City of Saline voters will elect three candidates to City Council. The candidates are incumbent Linda TerHaar, Lee Bourgoin, Jack Ceo and Heidi McClelland.
You can see their answers to all of the Saline Post's questions by clicking on their names, below:
Today's question is:
Should the city actively encourage growth (by annexation or otherwise)? Why or why not?
I think encouraging growth is a good thing, I would need more information about annexation though before making that decision.
The City of Saline should actively encourage growth of its boundaries. Cities that do otherwise, stagnate and die. It has to be done with due respect for and in conjunction with the wishes of our neighboring jurisdictions. It needs to be done with care and foresight for the provision of basic city services, not only for the new areas, but with consideration for the existing areas of the city. In other words, expansion should not take place at the expense of current residents. New residents need to pay their fair share for city services, too.
Community growth will make the tax base more proportional to the current cost of our essential services, population growth will bring more state funds to the city once we exceed 10,000 population, and the growth in the number of students will help the schools by bringing in more money from the state. It’s important to lower city property taxes back down that have doubled, but it’s also important that the school have sufficient funds to do their job well because the community children are our future.
Our excellent essential city services must not deteriorate -- public safety (police, fire, EMS), pure drinking water, good roads, and well-maintained parks plus nice tree-lined neighborhoods. Growth in additional other "discretionary" spending create a burden that can cut into taxpayer retirement funds or into college funds for their kids.
Ten to fifteen years ago as the lead person for the city in economic development, I worked with Mayor Gretchen Driskell and City Manager Larry Stoever in attracting more industries to the city than had ever been done. Our process including assistance from Superintendent Gary Roubal was action-oriented, in order to get things done without unnecessary red tape. This was recognized by the Business Review in their opinion piece entitled “Saline Gets It Right for Business”. The Saline Area Chamber of Commerce honored me for “Positive Economic Growth”. Success as a city staff member came by carrying out the good positive direction set by the City Council in the prior decade.
Times have changed with new state laws, so future new industries will no longer support communities with personal property tax. We need to change the orientation of our city-owned land to stop chasing smokestacks, or even cleaner heavy industries. Instead we need to choose higher-quality facilities that will better benefit our community, such as medical or high-technology office buildings. We also need some additional residential growth to help our tax base and to help the schools.
Yes, the City should encourage careful, responsible growth. We should continue to seek growth through residential and commercial development within existing areas of the City. Annexation can be a possibility, too, if it is considered in ongoing cooperation with our township neighbors, and if careful study shows infrastructure needs and costs are manageable within the cost of the new development.