Farmington, Farmington Hills voters to elect mayor, council members

Farmington Press | Published October 13, 2021

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FARMINGTON/FARMINGTON HILLS — In the Press’ coverage area, on Nov. 2 voters will elect candidates for local offices and decide on a public safety millage. Below are profiles of the candidates and the exact language of the millage proposal as it will appear on the ballot.

Candidates were asked, in 75 words or fewer, to state their top goal(s) if elected. If a candidate went over the word limit, (…) replaces the rest of the answer. (I) indicates that the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim. Profile forms were not sent to candidates who are running unopposed.

Farmington Hills Mayor
Two candidates are running for one two-year term.

Vicki Barnett (I)
Age: 67
Occupation: Mayor, Farmington Hills
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills, MI
For how long: 40 years
Online campaign information: Vicki Barnett for Mayor Facebook page
Education: MBA, University of Michigan – Dearborn, 1991
BGS, University of Michigan – Dearborn, 1981
Previously held elected offices: Mayor, Farmington Hills, MI 2019-Present
State Representative, 37th District 2009-2014
Mayor, Farmington Hills, MI 2003-2007
City Council Member, Farmington Hills, MI 1995-2003
Top goals: a. Work with DTE and MPSC to upgrade, repair and rebuild our electrical grid.
b.  Maintain City service levels and AAA bond rating without raising taxes.
c. Review zoning ordinances to promote commercial redevelopment to attract new businesses and families; establish a Redevelopment Board and 2040 Visioning Task Force. d. Maintain ranking as one of the safest cities in America, diversify our public safety workforce and provide quality training to our first responders.
Gina Phillips
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

 

Farmington Hills City Council
Six candidates are running three four-year terms.

Jon Aldred
Age:53
Occupation: Engineering & Product Management
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills
For how long: 21 years
Online campaign information:  www.jonaldred.com
Education: Automotive Engineering and Design, Bachelor of Engineering
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: I will work to resolve our power outage issues by holding our supplier accountable for improved maintenance programs and infrastructure. I support fully funding our Police and Fire departments. I will make best use of our residents’ hard-earned tax-dollars with fiscally responsible city budgets. I’m running because I love this city. I will work hard on council to help keep Farmington Hills a safe and enjoyable place to live, work and raise a family.

Michael Bridges
Did not return questionnaire by press time.

Randy Bruce
Age:  62
Occupation: Neuropsychologist
Municipality of residence:  Farmington Hills
For how long:  36 years
Online campaign information:  Facebook: Randy Bruce for City Council
Education:  BS, MA and Ph.D. degrees from Wayne State University
Previously held elected offices:  Farmington Hills City Council, 2003 to 2019
Top goals: To make Farmington Hills a destination city for families and business, and position us for future growth. Reviewing and updating city ordinances and the master plan to be more forward thinking and modern. We must also invest in technology and infrastructure, to position us to be more competitive with newer cities. Continue to provide for public safety to keep us one of the safest cities in the state, and maintain our financial stability.

Valerie Knol (I)
Age: 51
Occupation: Manager, State and Local Government at Stellantis
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills
For how long: Lived in Farmington/Farmington Hills since 1993
Online campaign information: No answer given.
Education: B.S. from Western Michigan University and a Master’s Degree from Eastern Michigan University
Previously held elected offices: Elected to Farmington Hills Council in 2013 and served as Mayor Pro Tem in 2016.  Previously served on the City Council of the City of Farmington for eight years and served as Mayor from 2007 – 09.
Top goals: A result of COVID is that more people are working from home and shopping online. This means Farmington Hills may have excess capacity of retail and office space. Farmington Hills also has some older, underutilized commercial properties.   We must revise our master plan and ordinances to allow for other uses of empty buildings and continue to encourage compatible, quality redevelopment of these properties in order to minimize blight and increase our tax base.

Jacob Kovacs
Age: 24
Occupation: Business owner of Platinum Tile and Mable L.L.C (Tile Installation Services) and Volunteer Journalist for FBAnews.org
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills, Michigan
For how long: 11 years residence in Farmington Hills
Online campaign information: JacobKovacs.com    
Education: Bachelors in Business Administration Wayne State University
Previously held elected offices: No answer given.
Top goals: Redeveloping city infrastructure (power grid), expanding business development, and maintaining a healthy city budget where tax payer dollars are spent wisely is a must. With your vote I will be able to represent all Farmington Hills residents in an objective manner where we can achieve the top goals that I have highlighted. I desire to build a better Farmington Hills in which our posterity will later inherit from us.

Matt Strickfaden (I)
Age: 64
Occupation: Farmington Hills Councilmember, Custom Home Builder and Gymnastics coach
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills, Michigan
For how long: 50+ years
Online campaign information: matt4council.org
Education: Graduate of North Farmington High School
Previously held elected offices: N/A
Top goals: Strong Police and Fire Departments, continued infrastructure improvements, permanent art exhibits, expanded Parks and Rec, implementation of my Mental Health and Wellness, Cradle to K, Vocational/trade school, Bike Trail expansion and Senior Services Initiatives, paid for through implementation of my 20-year vision for Farmington Hills (FH20XL – VISION) that can be seen at matt4council.org (click FH20XL – VISION).

Farmington City Council
Seven candidates are running; the two highest vote totals will earn four-year terms, and the individual with the third highest vote total will earn a two-year term.

Johnna Balk
Age: 53
Occupation: Faculty Librarian, Oakland Community College, Auburn Hills Campus Library
Municipality of residence: Farmington
For how long: 25 years
Online campaign information: https://johnnafor farmington.com/
Education: BS Chemistry, teaching certificate, CMU; Master of Library and Information Science, WSU
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: -Maintain Farmington’s historic and family feel while weaving in new construction. Balance budget while supporting downtown projects to attract new businesses.
-Inclusivity: Add DEI position to city government plus inclusive wording on city job applications. I will lead through research, data, and listening to people we live with and serve.
-Infrastructure updates to deal with flooding. Planting/maintaining trees, while acknowledging need to be strategic so downed trees don’t keep knocking out power and damaging homes.

David DeLind (I)
Age: 35
Occupation: Engineering/Management
Municipality of residence: City of Farmington
For how long: 6 years
Online campaign information: www.facebook.com/David4Farm ington
Education: BSE University of Michigan, MBA Michigan State University
Previously held elected offices: Farmington City Council
Top goals: a. Ensuring sustainable & effective investment in infrastructure through development of a stormwater management plan including sewer maintenance & green spaces for water retention.
b. Supporting responsible development as my vote shows for brownstone single family homes on the MTC property over high density
c. Working to keep Farmington an inclusive and welcoming community that supports fair representation and services for all residents.
d. Maintaining flexible ordinances will help grow Farmington’s local economy.

Jacob Nelson
Age: 43
Occupation: Federal lobbyist and national media spokesman for a national non-for-profit organization
Municipality of residence: City of Farmington
For how long: 2 years
Online campaign information: www.Facebook.com/NelsonFor Farmington
Education: Bachelors Degree:  University of Michigan; Biology
Master’s Degree(s):  George Washington University; Public Health - Epidemiology
University of Chicago; Public Policy – Poverty & Inequality
Previously held elected offices: None.
Top goals: I want to find ways to fund the implementation of Farmington’s Master Plan without raising taxes on homeowners. I’ll proactively collaborate with the city economic development team to bring new businesses (and new tax revenue) to Farmington. For Farmington to become a go-to destination for Michiganders, it needs a reputation as a safe, equitable and inclusive place for new business, new residents, and new visitors. I can help to make it happen.

Geof Perrot
Age: 41
Occupation: Global Product Manager at Tenneco (Formerly Federal-Mogul)
Municipality of residence: Farmington
For how long: Homeowner & resident for 13 years
Online campaign information: www.facebook.com/geofperrot farmington
Education: Ferris State University
a.  A.A.S. Heavy Equipment Technology
b. B.S. Heavy Equipment Service Engineering Technology
c. Awarded rank of Eagle Scout in 1995 – Troop 387, Saginaw, MI
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals: My top goal is a simple one:  I want our children to have the opportunity as adults to enjoy the quality of life we do today in Farmington. Our beautiful city did not happen by accident. It is the result of having the right people, with the right skills, advocating on the behalf of all Farmington residents.

Steven Schneemann (I)
Age: 53
Occupation: Architect
Municipality of residence: Farmington
For how long: 22 years
Online campaign information:  www.facebook.com/steve4farm ington
Education: Master’s Degree
Previously held elected offices:  Farmington City Council
Top goals: My top goals will be: To bring high-quality retailers and restaurants to Farmington’s underutilized commercial spaces; to keep our AA bond rating intact; to maintain our high-level of excellent  public services (e.g. leaf pick-up, public safety, etc.); to continue to modernize our aging infrastructure (sidewalk, sewers, roads); to successfully complete the MTC residential and Riley Park to Shiawassee Park connector projects; and to successfully complete the Farmington Road streetscape project.

Maria Taylor (I)
Age: 30
Occupation: Managing Editor, The ACHR NEWS
Municipality of residence: Farmington
For how long: Since 1999
Online campaign information: maria4farmington.com
Education: B.A. in English (Alma College, 2012), Associate in Liberal Arts (Oakland Community College, 2010)
Previously held elected offices: Farmington City Council (2017-2021)
Top goals:
-Preserving Farmington’s character as a historic/family community. I support the right development for the right places to enhance (not bulldoze) what makes Farmington unique.
-Boosting our downtown. I’ll see the Farmington Road streetscape to completion and keep working with businesses to bring new solutions for new norms, like the social district.
-Investing in infrastructure to cope with storms knocking out power and flooding streets: “gray” infrastructure (pipes underground) plus “green” infrastructure (drainage ditches, retention ponds).

Cathi Waun
Age: 55
Occupation: Real Estate Broker/Owner City Life Realty
Municipality of residence: Farmington
For how long:12 years
Online campaign information: CathiWaun.com
Education: Bachelor of Science Western Michigan University
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals:
My top goal to promote growth and development aligns with overwhelming citizen concerns over empty storefronts and the appearance of Grand River outside of downtown. Businesses choose locations that are vibrant, have high foot traffic, offer fresh spaces in a variety of sizes and are surrounded by other thriving businesses. New development, and revitalization opportunities will increase revenue and are imperative to; long-term financial viability, maintaining services, replacement of aging infrastructure and attracting new businesses.


Farmington Hills Charter Amendment Public Safety Millage
Shall the Farmington Hills City Charter be amended to allow a renewal and increase to the original voter-approved level of the additional special tax rate for public safety functions of the Fire and Police Departments by authorizing the City to levy a millage in the amount of 1.7 mills, for ten years, starting with the July 2022 levy (authorizing collection of an estimated $6,328,528 in the first year if approved and levied), which taxes are to be used only for purposes of fire and police staffing and equipment to maintain the current levels of public safety services?

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