Kevin Camero-Sulak is one of four candidates running for three positions on Saline City Council in the November election. Also running are incumbent Jack Ceo, Jim Dell'Orco and Brian Cassise.
Here's The Saline Post's Q&A with Kevin Camero-Sulak.
Name: Kevin J. Camero-Sulak
Beloved wife, Dr. Adrianne Camero-Sulak,
Career: 28 years as a Residential and Commercial Real Estate Appraiser and Quality Control expert. Senior Review Appraiser for AmeriFirst Home Mortgage, an independent mortgage bank, working with underwriters, loan officers, quality control, appraisers and corporate operations management in appraisal review and quality control. Business owner of Oakbrook Appraisals, Inc.
Education: BBA in Finance. MBA in entrepreneurial management. State Certified Residential and Commercial Appraiser.
Government experience: No direct experience, however I am well experienced with HUD, VA and USDA Rural Development guidelines for appraisal and underwriting decisions which will benefit the city as we look to continue expanding carefully.
Volunteer experience: 8 years on Tower Plaza Board of Directors (tallest building in Ann Arbor), last 4 years as Vice-President. Saline Main Street, 6 years youth soccer coach with Saline FC, 2 years as Recreational League Director which included running the League Tournaments. Eagle Scout and Order of the Arrow honors.
Why are you running?
I have lived in Saline for over 20 years and have enjoyed all the wonderful small town benefits that Saline has to offer. The city has grown over that time; as a result, it has experienced both expected and unexpected growing pains. This has created additional challenges, such as managing growth while keeping the unique small-town feel, character and desirability. Growth is, in general, a good thing, and I want to be a part of it, using my background to contribute to reasonable and responsible expansion. I feel that now is the time when I can give back and help our community by participating in a larger role on City Council.
Why should city voters elect you to council?
I have a reasonable, positive, work-together approach. Before making decisions, I will make sure to research and analyze data thoughtfully in order to make best practice solutions for the citizens of Saline.
My experience as a Certified Residential and Commercial Real Estate Appraiser, small business owner, and Tower Plaza Board of Directors member, along with my long history of volunteering, put me in a good position to represent my fellow citizens.
I have truly enjoyed raising my family here and this is where I hope to retire. Because my family has been well-served by living here, I want to give back what I can to make sure future generations can also come here and thrive.
My motivation is not tied to a specific issue that has affected my life in Saline. I am not a one-issue candidate. I will work diligently to improve Saline and not fight against the city’s interests.
What are the top issues facing the city and how should the city address them?
Perhaps the top issue facing Saline that I’ve heard while out talking with our citizens is communications and transparency between residents, city hall, and businesses. We can develop a better process of providing more consistent information that is current and informative. For one, the city’s website can be optimized to provide access to city information that is easy to see and understand. Although I do feel the city leaders have tried to offer an open-door policy, busy schedules don’t always make it easy. Technology can be better utilized to keep the communication moving along efficiently.
Significant residential and commercial development have warranted a more in-depth look at how we keep the high level of services and maintain Saline’s character and appeal for our current residents. I love seeing Saline grow but is it growing with housing and services that we need and want? I’d like to see further discourse with regards to affordable housing and more downtown shops perhaps instead of additional larger homes and expensive condos. If that is what the citizens want, then fine. But we need to explore this deeper and see how the growth has matched city plans.
The wastewater treatment plant has multi-faceted issues that must be resolved quickly with accountability and financial responsibility. The city must look long and hard for the causes of the problems and long-term solutions. And not just water, but all of our resources here in Saline need to be considered before, not after, we discuss growth.
Should the city expand its borders to take on new subdivisions? Why or why not?
The city has expanded our borders. I believe the master plan and any future expansion must be reviewed with thoroughly researched information and analyzed using best practices in the interest of our citizens. Again, what type of growth do our citizens want? They need to have more of a say and these decisions need to be made not simply with dollar signs.
If elected, there will be times when you’re faced between choosing between what you know is right, and what the public wants. How will you face such a decision?
Clear communication with the community throughout the process is required. It is more than what I feel is right, as I represent all of Saline. What is “right” to one person might not seem that way to another. But if I am representing the citizens then their voices will take precedence. I am ready to have those difficult conversations and welcome anyone to come speak to me anytime.
City residents have incurred several tax increases since 2013 - at the local, school district and county levels. Have we hit the limit yet? Are there circumstances that might warrant further increases?
My family has felt the tax increases, and while we haven’t reached the limit, any increases would warrant serious consideration. It can be as simple as what is the cost, why do we need it, and most importantly, how will it benefit our city and our citizens.
Should council allow recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city? Why or why not? Should council allow medical marijuana dispensaries? Why or why not?
There are numerous State and Federal legalities involved in medical marijuana dispensaries. The State of Michigan has incomplete policies and regulations for recreational marijuana, which significantly limits municipal guidance. We do not have adequate facts, especially the legal, safety and social ramifications that currently remain unknown as the state policies and regulations are unclear. Saline is hosting a public meeting scheduled for Thursday, October 10th, facilitated by Saline City Attorney, Jessica Wood, who will make an objective presentation on the state of the Medical Marijuana laws in Michigan, followed by public input and a question and answer period. A survey will available so residents can express their feelings about the presence of Medical Marijuana businesses in Saline. As I stated in question 5, I am looking to represent Saline, not myself. What do our citizens want?
City council debate on Andelina Farms issues and strategy has generally not taken place in front of the public. Do you think key public policy and strategic decisions should take place in public, for the record? Why or why not?
I believe in transparency that doesn’t conflict with confidential information. This is a delicate balance. To the extent that the legalities allow, I do believe in public discourse.
Saline is a desirable place to live and can be a great place to do business. Should city council bend its zoning ordinance or use tax incentives to entice development and attract business?
Zoning ordinances should be followed along with Saline’s Master Plan that is a long-term outline of the City’s goals and policies and provides a comprehensive view of Saline’s goals for the future. Considering the desirability of Saline and our current tax levels, I believe tax incentives should be used with extreme caution. That said, I would like to see something done to draw more shops to our town. Compared to other cities of our size, we could do well to improve in this area.