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October 23, 2013

Voters decide council seats and school bond issue

In the Troy Times’ coverage area, voters will decide who of the nine candidates will fill three open seats on the City Council, and they will pass or fail a school bond ballot proposal Nov. 5. Following is the language of the bond proposal as it will appear on the ballot, as well as profiles of the candidates.
Candidates were asked, in 150 words or fewer, to state the top items they would wish to accomplish if elected and how they would go about accomplishing them. If a candidate went over the word limit, ( … ) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.


Troy City Council 

Nine candidates are running for three four-year terms.

Olimpiu “Ollie” Apahidean
Age: 41
Occupation:  Civil Engineer, P.E.
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 3 years
Education: B.S. Civil Engineering
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I am ready to apply my twelve years of County government experience to put Troy on a sure path of positive growth and prosperity during the next four years. The robust surplus of the General Fund has put our City in a very favorable position to appropriate additional money where needed to preserve and restore services and invest in our roads and infrastructure. I will work closely with the other Council members and city management to ensure our AAA bond rating is protected. I also look forward to implementing an aggressive and innovative strategy to reduce our high office space vacancy rate. The long term success of our city depends greatly on expanding our commercial tax base. I am committed to effective, transparent and accountable non-partisan leadership that will be in the best interest of everyone in our community. You can read more about my plan and vision at www.ApahideanForTroy.com
 

Janice Louise Daniels
Age: 60
Occupation: Mortgage Consultant/Office Manager
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 13 years
Education:  I earned a Bachelors’ Degree in Business Management from Oakland University with focus on accounting and marketing. I graduated Cum Laude which means that I held an all A grade-point average throughout my studies.  I have Lifetime Memberships in two National Honor Societies, I made the Dean’s List for Academic Excellence, and I received certification for a 2011 Michigan Municipal League elected officials’ training course.
Previously held elected offices: Mayor of Troy 2011/2012
Top goals: My priority is to restore 7-day library operation because the Troy library should never have been closed. It was recently revealed that Troy has over $23 million of your tax dollars in excess of budget requirements so the .70 mil tax increase of a few years ago was not needed. I will build consensus to directly refund the excess dollars back to the taxpayers or to pay off outstanding bonds that would lower taxes because we know that money kept in the private sector offers citizens the opportunity to create new wealth. Government services that protect us, our children, our families and our future need to be cost effective and held to a higher standard of accountability. I will continue to celebrate the private citizens who have worked hard to achieve peace and prosperity in Troy. My 2012 State of the City address can be viewed at www.JaniceForCouncil.com.

James (Wade) Fleming (I)
Age: 61
Occupation:RETIRED PRESIDENT/ CEO OF A TIER ONE AUTOMOTIVE SUPPLIER; CURRENTLY DO PART-TIME CONSULTING AND A LOT OF VOLUNTEERING
Municipality of residence: TROY
For how long: 31 YEARS
Education: B.B.A. BUSINESS—ACCOUNTING MAJOR
Previously held elected offices:  ELECTED TO TROY CITY COUNCIL IN 2005 AND 2009; ELECTED AS PRECINCT DELEGATE
Top goals: 1.  I WILL CONTINUE TO WORK WITH OUR CITY MANAGER AND STAFF TO PROMOTE TROY GLOBALLY TO HELP ATTRACT NEW BUSINESSES TO FILL THE VACANT OFFICE AND INDUSTRIAL SPACE ESPECIALLY ALONG BIG BEAVER AND MAPLE ROADS WHICH WILL INCREASE OUR TAX REVENUE AND REDUCE THE TAX BURDEN ON ALL RESIDENTS.
      2.  CONTINUE TO WORK TOWARD A FAIR AND STRONG BUDGET THAT HELPS MAINTAIN OUR AAA BOND RATING INCLUDING A REASONABLE RESERVE BALANCE, WITH A MAJOR FOCUS ON IMPROVING OUR ROADS AND INFRASTRUCTURE AND MAINTAINING OUR ESSENTIAL SERVICES WITHOUT RAISING TAXES.
3. CONTINUE WORKING WITH ALL MEMBERS OF COUNCIL AND CITY ADMINISTRATION TO KEEP TROY ONE OF THE SAFEST CITIES IN MICHIGAN AND THE NATION. I WILL LISTEN TO ALL RESIDENTS OF TROY, STUDY THE FACTS, FOCUS ON THE BOTTOM LINE, AND MAKE DECISIONS THAT WILL HELP OUR CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN ENJOY THE SAFETY AND SECURITY OF THIS CITY ALONG WITH (…)|
 

Steve Gottlieb
Age: 59
Occupation:  Troy teacher (39 years), Realtor (30 years)
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 35 years
Education: BA in Education, University of Michigan; MA in Administration, Central Michigan University
Previously held elected offices: none
Top goals: 1. Create a positive, inclusive environment: We must determine community needs, seek creative ways to enhance our existing services, and maintain open lines of communication with all Troy stakeholders.
2.  Ensure that budget priorities are aligned with the needs of the community: It is essential that financial decisions are made from an informed position where future growth is balanced in a fiscally responsible way. Currently, Troy has one of the lowest tax rates in Oakland County, and I will work with other council members to maintain that as we work toward Troy’s future.
3. Anticipate the changing needs of residents and businesses within our community: In order to realize our motto, “TROY…City of tomorrow, today!” we need to capitalize on the synergy between our city and our schools. We must think outside the box as we welcome an entrepreneurial culture and move forward.
Visit www.electstevegottlieb.com for additional information.

Ellen Hodorek
Age: 50
Occupation:  Not provided
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 24 years
Education: B.A. Journalism, Michigan State University
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I seek to be a steward of our tax dollars, preserve our city’s stellar services, and protect Troy’s reputation for excellence. I have years of professional experience in both the private and public sectors alongside countless hours of volunteering, so I know I will bring a strategic, fact-based, politically independent voice to City Council. I will protect Troy’s AAA bond rating to ensure Troy’s commercial property values rise. This keeps our millage rate low. I will work with city management to encourage continued innovation, seeking creative approaches to improve our roads, ensure our “Safe City” rating, and keep our Library operating. I will work with council to move Troy forward, embracing the renewed sense of decorum at the City Council table. By working as a community, we will protect our reputation, which, in turn, attracts families and business investment. Please see www.ellenforcouncil.com to learn more.
 

Thomas E. Kuhn
Age: 62
Occupation:  Attorney
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: Since 2001.
Education: BA, MA, PhD- Political Science; JD- Law
Previously held elected offices: Tom Kuhn was elected four times to the Royal Oak City Commission, serving 12 years, prior to moving to Troy in 2001.  He was elected two times to the Oakland Community College Board, serving 9 years, 2 years as Chair.
Top goals: Tom Kuhn believes strongly in fiscal responsibility. He is opposed to any tax increases, and will work to maintain Troy’s quality services in the most cost-effective way. Tom Kuhn will be open and responsive to residents, neighborhoods and businesses. He will listen and respond to citizens’ concerns and interests related to city services, proposed municipal projects and commercial developments. Tom Kuhn will utilize his 20 plus years of experience in local government, to provide knowledgeable and responsible representation. The experience he gained in serving on the Planning Commission, Master Plan Steering Committee, LCC Review and Hotel and Motel Oversight Committee, as well as serving on OCC’s Board for 9 years, with 2 years as Chair, will assure Tom Kuhn’s strong and dedicated service to the citizens of Troy. His involvement with Troy youth sports and Troy homeowners’ association emphasize his concern to assure recreational opportunities and responsiveness to neighborhood concerns.

Ed Pennington
(Appointed to city council December of 2012)
Age: 51
Occupation: Auto body repair facility owner
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 9 years
Education:  After high school I took accounting classes and management courses that have helped me in the business world.
Previously held elected offices: No previously held elected positions
Top goals: While Troy is in a better situation than some of our neighboring cities, we still have issues to address. We need to continue to bring new businesses to Troy, filling vacant buildings. We must commit to taking the necessary steps to ensure the Troy Schools A-plus rating is intact for future generations. We must move a portion of our budget surplus toward our crumbling infrastructure, especially our roads. Repairing our infrastructure is an investment in tomorrow that we must make. I am running for council to finish the job that I have started. When I was appointed ten months ago, I felt a need to restore harmony to a council that had been divisive. We must continue to keep Troy a great place to work and live. For more information … please like us on Facebook at “Vote ED PENNINGTON for Troy City Council.”

Rodger Walters
Age: 56
Occupation: retired machinist
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 30 years
Education:  i went to all of troy schools  i have a g.e.d., went to spring arbor college,
Previously held elected offices: Not provided
Top goals: my goal is letting the people make the decisions, larger goverment body, and reducing the hi pay of our school officials, and giving it back to the people, that will reduce high tax rate for everyone in the district, more police thru fereral grants
Scott Welborn
Age: 42
Occupation:  Social Studies Teacher at Ferndale High School
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 9 years
Education: BA from Pacific Lutheran University and an MS from Western Oregon University.
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: It is important to maintain and improve Troy’s services, including public safety, the library, and infrastructure of the city (roads, sewers, etc…). This takes tax revenues, which can be gathered without increasing tax rates on our families. The key to increasing tax revenues is increasing the occupancy rates of our business properties. According to a story in the Sept. 15th Oakland Press, Troy has a higher office vacancy rate (28.8%) than the bankrupt city of Detroit (27.1%). This is unacceptable. As a City Council member, I will work to aggressively recruit businesses to set up shop here in Troy, and to encourage redevelopment of currently owned business properties that are vacant. As an educator, maintaining an excellent education system in Troy is a top priority. The City Council needs to do all it can to assist the school district and recognize the successes of our students and teachers.

 

Troy School District Bond Proposal

Troy School District County of Oakland State of Michigan
School Improvement Bond Proposition

Shall the Troy School District, County of Oakland, State of Michigan, borrow the sum of not to exceed One Hundred Twenty Five Million ($125,000,000) Dollars and issue its general obligation unlimited tax bonds therefore, in one or more series, for the purpose of paying for the cost of the following projects: Remodeling, equipping, reequipping, furnishing, refurnishing school buildings and other facilities to enhance security and for other purposes; Acquiring and installing technology equipment and technology infrastructure in school buildings and other facilities; Constructing additions to school buildings; and Preparing, developing and improving sites at school buildings and other facilities and the purchase of school buses?
YES
_____
NO
_____
The maximum number of years the bonds may be outstanding, exclusive of refunding, is not more than fifteen (15) years; the estimated millage that will be levied to pay the proposed bonds in the first year is 1.84 mills (which is equal to $1.84 per $1,000 of taxable value); and the estimated simple average annual millage that will be required to retire the bonds over fifteen (15) years is 2.93 mills annually ($2.93 per $1,000 of taxable value). If approved by the voters, the bonds will be guaranteed by the State under the School Bond Qualification and Loan Program (the “Program”). The School District currently has $93,605,000 of qualified bonds outstanding and $0 of qualified loans outstanding under the Program. The School District does not expect to borrow from the Program to pay debt service on these bonds. The estimated computed millage rate required to be levied to pay the proposed bonds may change in the future based on changes in certain circumstances. (Pursuant to State law, expenditure of bond proceeds must be audited, and the proceeds cannot be used for teacher, administrator or employee salaries, repair or maintenance costs or other operating expenses.)