West BloomfieldJuly 5, 2012
Two WB officials vie for treasury in primary
By Eric Czarnik
C & G Staff Writer
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Knowledge, foresight, strategy: All of these things are essential to a winning investment portfolio, and they’re also essential for two West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees members who are campaigning against each other for treasurer this August.
Incumbent Treasurer Teri Weingarden and Trustee Gene Farber are running for the position, which carries a four-year term.
The treasurer’s duties include tax collection, managing bank accounts, investment handling and being a voting member of the township board.
Weingarden, 43, said she has taken courses over her first term to become a certified Michigan treasurer and is now on course to become a certified public fund investment manager. She also said she has accomplished much during her first term and is willing and ready to serve for another four years.
“I’ve learned a lot, and I want to keep serving the residents,” she said. “I’ve done a lot to improve the processes and save money.”
Among her list of accomplishments, she said, is that she has completely revamped the tax billing process to use a much less expensive tax bill. She added that her department has consolidated the bill’s printing and mailing with a single vendor.
She said she is also proud of her successful negotiations with transferring payroll activities to Comerica Bank, which she said will save the township money with discounts on bank fees.
Weingarden credited the other members of her department with working hard during a time when the township’s finances have not allowed her to increase staff.
“We run a very high customer service-focused organization,” she said. “We have reduced wait time at the counter significantly. Our main goal in our department (is) when they walk away from the counter, they feel like they’re respected and they have a smile on their face.”
Farber, 65, said his experience includes his term as township board trustee, seven years on the Planning Commission, and being a member of the finance and audit committee for the Huron River Watershed Council.
Farber said that if elected, he would reinstitute the practice of having a cash flow analysis, so the township would know how much it would have to invest. Although he said that interest rates are low right now, he said he would allocate more money toward legal, safe interest-bearing investments that could still make enough returns to pay for an employee.
“We are allowed to invest 10 percent of our funds for up to five years,” he said. “We are currently investing far less than that.”
Farber said he also wants to provide more public information, such as the actual rate of return earned for each separate fund. He also wants to reveal data that compares the treasurer’s performance with those in other townships.
“I would also post on the treasurer’s website all the finance reports that are given to the board so that anyone can easily see how much we earned, where we are investing our money,” he said. “I would make sure that all of the quarterly reports that are filed with the board are filed in a timely manner.”
Weingarden and Farber are both Democrats. Whoever wins the August state primary race for West Bloomfield treasurer will be unopposed on the ballot this November.
To learn more about West Bloomfield, visit www.wbtwp.com.
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