I. Always Grow Our Tax Base.
The primary role of a city is to provide services to our citizens. As an elected citizen, I am tasked with a fiduciary responsibility for the entire community.
The municipal finance system in Michigan is broken. Proposal A limits property tax growth. The Headlee Constitutional Amendement requires property tax reductions. Our legislature continues to shrink revenue sharing with local communities. Recently, our pension costs were recalculated and our obligations have unexpectedly increased. These facts are challenging the budgets of every city, village and township in Michigan. We need to proactively stimulate redevelopment while also creating new and different means to generate revenue.
Every election cycle has good ideas. I support your ideas that are a result of collaborative civic engagement. Your ideas are plentifully represented in your City’s plans. The best, implementable ideas have funding solutions. A good idea without funding remains a good idea. This is why our tax base growth is integrally important.
The tax base is represented by square footage of buildings and homes. In its simplest form, we need to increase Farmington’s taxable square footage capacity. We need to consider creating a building authority to buy and direct public / private partnerships and investment in tired properties. I support historically contributing properties within our Historic District to preserve our heritage. A vibrant Historic District creates a destination and thrives on economic development around it.
As a community, we must embrace growth of our tax base to sustain your new ideas, your municipal services and your traditional way of life in Farmington.
II. Continual, Increasing Investment in Infrastructure.
The old adage says the best investment is to invest in yourself. That equates to investment in our infrastructure. We have watched how other communities in Michigan have experienced severe consequences as a result of poor infrastructure. Roads, sewers and water systems top the list. Other infrastructure investment includes new forms of technology – some which doesn’t even exist yet, training of city employees, expansion of Public Parking in the Central Business District, sidewalks, crosswalks, signage, city buildings and equipment.
III. Maintain Our High Level of Services in the 21st Century.
Farmington Public Safety Department; 24 hour snow removal; Curbside leaf pick up in the fall. I will maintain these as Farmington’s untouchable flagship services. Farmington also provides many other services. Our clerk’s office. Economic & Community Development. Zoning and Planning. A treasurer’s office. Parks & Recreation. I will continue to maintain and improve upon our traditional municipal service lifestyle into the future.
Campaigns and elections are chock full of ideas. Over the past four years our community has seen an increase in civic engagement and vibrancy. As a citizen you naturally have the best ideas! They have been organized and our community civic plans now represent thousands of terrific ideas! These planning tools include a new Downtown Area Plan, Vision Plan, Parks & Recreation Master Plan, Capital Improvement Plan, and joint plans with the City of Farmington Hills including the Grand River Corridor Improvement Authority Plan and the Orchard Lake / 10 Mile Plan.
Your ideas represented in these plans represent millions of dollars of public and private investment.
The past four years illustrate how effective idea planning works! See my Achievements and Accomplishments page.
By growing our tax base, investing in infrastructure and maintaining our high level of services, I intend to support a local economy that will be financially sustainable and dynamic for the 21st century citizen.
I have three over arching goals for our community including fiscal responsibility, ongoing capital improvements and long term success for Downtown Farmington.
Fiscal responsibility includes implementing a three year balanced budget, managing the millage rate and providing incentives for economic development.
A capital improvements plan will increase property values and tax revenues without increasing the millage rate. Implementation of the 2013 Farmington Visioning Plan is the first step forward. Additionally, a facilities and public land use study will allow Farmington to review opportunities, efficiencies and the highest use of public assets for the future. Growth in the tax base needs to be used to create a permanent funding source for Farmington’s Capital Improvements Fund.
A successful Downtown Farmington has created much of Farmington’s character and charm. Redevelopment of the Maxfield Training Center and expansion and rezoning of surrounding neighborhoods will support growth in this micro economy for our region.