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Sylvan Lake, Keego Harbor, West Bloomfield

January 2, 2013

Community leaders organize 2013 agendas

Tax rolls, development top lists

By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer

With New Year’s celebrations now over, community leaders are looking ahead at plans and challenges that await them in 2013.

West Bloomfield Township Supervisor Michele Economou Ureste listed five major priorities for the next 12 months.

In the infrastructure category, she said she wants to rehabilitate Civic Center Drive to keep driving conditions safe. To keep water rates as low as possible, she hopes the township will design a comprehensive water and sewer master plan that includes the building of a water reservoir.

For public safety, she said she wants to cut back on police supervisory staff, and boost patrol officer presence in neighborhoods and in front of school buildings.  Her goals include finding grant money and allowing forfeiture funds to go toward a public firearms amnesty program.

That program would allow residents to receive money for handing over guns to the Police Department, no questions asked, she said. Ureste said it could benefit widowed senior citizens who have unused weapons in the home from their departed spouses.

“It can prevent unwarranted incidents from occurring — whether a home is robbed and a firearm is stolen or (a gun) is accidentally shot off,” Ureste said. “So all the way around, it’s a good program. And I know that, following the incident in Connecticut, there are municipalities that are offering such a program.”

Lastly, the township should also pursue economic development and try to attract high-quality businesses to increase the nonresidential tax revenue base, Ureste said.

Keego Harbor Mayor Sid Rubin said his city is also looking forward to moving ahead with development — namely, the downtown area in the vicinity of Orchard Lake and Cass Lake roads.

“So far, we have had preliminary discussions with both the county and a developer,” he said. “Our interest there is … developing the property so that we have additional revenues to our tax rolls.”

Rubin also said the city expects to complete the refinancing of its Tax Increment Finance Authority bond, which he said will let the city take advantage of lower interest rates and extend the period of the bond payments. “That alone will improve our cash flow,” he said.

Sylvan Lake Mayor Mike Zubrzycki said he wants to continue to make Sylvan Lake one of the most desirable Michigan cities to live in. He hopes the city will make improvements to its Parks and Recreation offerings while keeping a watchful eye on the budget.

He said the city must also be cognizant of state revenue sharing, and he hopes the Michigan Municipal League will work on cities’ behalf in Lansing.

“We want to make sure that the tax repeal that they’re doing with the personal property tax is replaced with something fair and equitable,” he said.

Orchard Lake Mayor Joe Majcher could not be reached for comment by press time.

Contact West Bloomfield at www.wbtwp.com or by calling (248) 451-4800. Find out more about Keego Harbor at www.keegoharbor.org or by calling (248) 682-1930. Sylvan Lake can be contacted at www.sylvan lake.org or by calling (248) 682-1440.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Eric Czarnik at eczarnik@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1058.