Voters decide council seats, library and school bond issues

Troy Times | Published October 21, 2015

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In the Troy Times’ coverage area, voters will decide the City Council and mayor’s races, as well as two millage proposals  — one for the Troy School District and one for the Troy Public library — Nov. 3. Following are profiles on the candidates and the exact ballot language for the proposals.

Candidates were asked, in 150 words or less, 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 Mayor
One candidate is running unopposed for a four-year term.

Dane Slater (I)
Age: 64
Occupation: Retired Troy Police Captain  - 35 years experience with the Department
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: More than 25 years
Education: Michigan State University Degree – BS Degree in Criminal Justice
Post Graduate Classes in Leadership and Management
Graduate of Northwestern University School of Staff and Command
Online campaign information: No answer given.
Previously held elected offices:  Mayor, City of Troy
Top goals: Keen oversight of the City budget ensuring that tax-payer dollars are used to provide the services residents expect. City Council must make sure the budget is always balanced and supports our Top Ten Strategies.

Maintaining Public Safety, preserving quality services, continually improving our roads and infrastructure. Trails and pathways is a top priority for our residents, so we are working to develop a realistic 11 mile connection to our parks and the Clinton River Trail. This supports the Move across Troy initiative as we seek safe, alternative ways to move across Troy. Connection, both within the City and the region, defines our vision of Troy; and the major catalyst for this movement is the Troy Transit Center.

Maintaining and attracting businesses to Troy is key to a prosperous future. Redevelopment and business initiatives will increase revenue and restore Troy to the ideal 50-50 business/residential tax base.

Troy City Council
One candidate is running unopposed for a two-year term.

James K. Campbell (I)
Age: 66
Occupation:  Vice President Sales & Marketing – North America
Municipality of residence: Troy, Michigan
For how long:  20 years
Education: B.S. Management – Northwood University
Online campaign information: No answer given.
Previously held elected offices: City Council - Troy
Top goals: If re-elected I will continue to pursue these three items as my priorities: (1) Maintain a strong fund balance and credit rating, (2) Protect private property rights and value (3) Keep Troy moving forward.

The process for maintaining a focus on these items is very clear. Approach every item with fiscal responsibility and sincere consideration for each and every Troy resident. I always attempt to make decisions based on the facts of the issue and not the emotion.

I am proud of the progress the current council has made in making the city of Troy a better place to live, work and play.

I am looking forward to continuing my efforts to Keep Troy Moving Forward.

Troy City Council
Five candidates are running for three four-year terms.

Edna Abrahim
Age: 39
Occupation:  Program Manager at General Motors
Municipality of residence:  Troy
For how long:  39 years
Education:  Bachelors in Chemical Engineering (U of M, Ann Arbor), Masters in Industrial Engineering (Wayne State)
Online campaign information:  http://www.ednaforcouncil.com
Previously held elected offices: none
Top goals: As a program manager, I am skilled in managing multi-million dollar budgets and making decisions based on data, priorities and stakeholder feedback. I intend to take that approach, as your councilwoman, to achieve the following goals:

1. Work with Council to establish a budget that prioritizes funding for the police and fire departments, road improvements, and snow plowing.  In particular, I would like to lead a discussion on getting police staffing levels closer to pre-2012 levels. 

2. More closely partner with the business community to develop innovative approaches to attract new businesses to reduce the 20% vacancy in office spaces. Higher occupancy rates will increase property values which further solidifies the city’s AAA bond rating.

3. Collaborate with residents to develop a cohesive trails and pathways plan that maximizes use of our beautiful parks and green spaces, keeps our families safe, and is fiscally prudent.

Ethan Baker
Age: 36
Occupation: Troy Attorney/Businessman
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 6 years
Education: J.D., Whittier College School of Law, Magna Cum Laude; B.A. Political Science, University of Southern California
Online campaign information: www.EthanDBaker.com
Previously held elected offices: N/A
Top goals:
Fiscal Responsibility—We must be wise stewards of Troy’s coffers and need a council that remembers the “city’s money” is actually the people’s money, spending it accordingly and respectfully with that always in mind. We must make smart choices in budgeting and be cautious to avoid overspending so that we are better prepared for any future economic downturn. 

Community—Troy residents have expressed a desire for a city that is more walkable and has a more vibrant “core” or “heartbeat”. We need to promote development opportunities to create an updated city, incorporating the requests for better walkability, and adding to Troy’s culture and overall sense of community.

Senior Housing — As Troy’s population ages, we need to encourage developers to build viable housing alternatives to prevent a mass exodus from Troy and ensure we acknowledge the needs of our aging population, which has made Troy the great city it is today.

Steve Gottlieb (I)
Age:  61 years
Occupation:  Troy teacher (41 years), Realtor (32 years)
Municipality of Residence:  Troy
For how long:  37 years
Education:  BA in Education, University of Michigan; MA in Administration, Central Michigan
Online campaign information:  www.electstevegottlieb.com
Previously held elected offices: No answer given. 
Top goals: 1. Maintain and improve the positive, inclusive environment that our city has embraced by enhancing communications with all stakeholders.  This includes building on the synergy between the school district and city, such as the recent teacher professional development at City Hall that the City Manager and I developed.

2. Continue to 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 to maintain that. 

3. Address the changing needs of residents and businesses as our city evolves. We must think outside the box as we welcome an entrepreneurial culture and move Troy forward with experienced leadership.

Dave Henderson (I)
Age: 54
Occupation: Residential Realtor, Troy
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 27 years
Education: Automotive Trade School, Some Community College
Online campaign information: www.davehendersontroycitycouncil.com
Previously held elected offices: Troy City Council, 4 years
Top goals: Continue being an advocate for you at City Hall. Family values, hard work, and conservative principles are what guide me every day. It’s not good enough for your elected officials to rubber stamp policy without reading, understanding, and questioning how it benefits the community as a whole, or  whether we can afford something or not. I am an advocate for transparency in government, it’s what we expect in our community. Transparency and honesty is a way of life, not a bonus given when we feel like it’s convenient, or whether government feels we need to know something. Troy has seen great progress in the last 4 years economically. Our businesses are growing, building permits are increasing, and families are getting stronger.  I intend to keep on that path as long as you will have me represent you.

Paul Daniel McCown
Age: 27
Occupation: Sr. Financial Analyst – International Bancard Corporation
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 18 years
Education: Undergraduate: B.A., Mathematics, Philosophy; Masters – Economics and Public Policy
Online campaign information: www.paulmccown.weebly.com 
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals:
Maintain a Robust Budget. Given my professional experience managing budgets and forecasting, in addition to participating in the Troy Financial Ideas Team, I’ve regularly been challenged to find innovative solutions to complex financial problems. I’ll bring this insight to City Council.

Bring a Fresh Perspective. As a millennial, I have unique insight into what makes Troy an attractive city for the youth. I’ve built friendships with many aging people in the community, as well. Finally, my wife wasn’t born in the U.S., so our cultural diversity is near to my heart. These insights and experiences will help me bring new ideas to the table for how to keep Troy attractive to our diverse age and cultural spectrum.
Be an independent voice: I’m not afraid to stand up to the “Business as usual” crowd to make sure the right thing is done for the city and its people.

City Council would be authorized to renew a levy of 0.7 mills for five years for dedicated library funding with the successful passage of the following question:
Shall the City of Troy renew its previously authorized millage of 0.7 mills against all taxable property for a five (5) year period of time, 2016 through 2021, inclusive, for the dedicated purpose of operating and maintaining the library?  0.7 mills are equal to $0.70 on each $1,000.00 of taxable value.  If approved, the additional millage levied will raise approximately $3,203,233 in 2016, the first year it is levied.  Millage revenue would be disbursed to the City for library purposes.  Of this amount, state law requires the capture of approximately $5,042 for Local Development Finance Authority, $52,808 for Downtown Development Authority, and $3,197 for Brownfield Redevelopment Authority purposes. This proposal is authorized under Section 6 of Article IX of the Michigan Constitution.


Troy School District Operating Millage Proposal
This proposal, if approved by the electors, will allow the Troy School District to continue to levy the number of operating mills required for the School District to receive revenues at the full per pupil foundation allowance permitted by the State of Michigan. Shall the limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, situated within the Troy School District, County of Oakland, State of Michigan, be increased as provided in the Michigan Constitution, in the amount of 18.3795 mills with 18 mills being the maximum allowable levy ($18.00 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation), and against all principal residences and other property not exempted by law, by 5.99 mills ($5.99 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation), both millages to be for a period of nine (9) years, 2016 to 2025, inclusive with 17.8795 mills of the above 18.3795 mills and 5.99 mills being a renewal of authorized millages which would otherwise expire on December 31, 2015 and 0.1205 mills of the above 18.3795 mills being a restoration of millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the Michigan Constitution?  These operating millages if approved and levied, would provide estimated revenues to the School District of Thirty Three Million Five Hundred Eighty Three Thousand ($33,583,000) Dollars during the 2016 calendar year, to be used for general operating purposes.