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Madison-Park News voters decide millages for library, city vehicles, road work

Madison - Park News | Published July 20, 2016

In the Madison-Park News’ coverage area, voters will decide the race for Oakland County Commissioner District 20 on Aug. 2, as well as whether the Hazel Park District Library gets an extra half-mill, and whether the city of Madison Heights can renew its vehicle and roads millages. The operating millage for the Madison school district is also up for renewal.

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 their word limit, ( … ) replaced the rest of their answer. (I) indicates the candidate is an incumbent. The answers are printed verbatim.

Oakland County Board of Commissioners District 20
Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination and one candidate is running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one two-year term in November.

David J. Harrell
Age: 53
Occupation: Automotive engineer and small business owner
Municipality of residence: Troy
For how long: 22 years
Online campaign information: www.Da
Education: B.S. Engineering Management
Previously held elected offices: None
Top goals:
• Road Improvements
Our roads were neglected for many years and Oakland County has had to take on many repairs, but there is more to be done.  This will be a budgetary priority for me.  I will work to make Oakland County the leader in road building and maintenance technology.
• Eliminating Excess Spending
I will work tirelessly to prioritize our budget and prevent wasteful spending.  I will treat your (and my) tax dollars as if they were my own family budget.  I have not and will not vote for any tax increases.
• Attracting New Business
Oakland County is a great place for business with a highly talented work force.  I will help attract new businesses and increase the corporate tax base so we can give tax relief to the residents.

J. Karl Jackson
Did not return questionnaire by press time

Gary McGillivray (I)
Age: 64
Occupation: County commissioner and real estate sales
Municipality of residence: Madison Heights
For how long: No answer given
Online campaign information:
Education: Oakland Community College — Law Enforcement
Previously held elected offices: Madison Heights City Council and Mayor (1983 to 2008)
Top goals: County and Local Roads — Recently I  played a major role in setting up a Bi-Party program so that Cities and Villages will have additional dollars for local road projects. We must work toward more durable so they last much longer.
Parks — Nice parks will draw  residents and business to live and work in Oakland County.It’s important to provide the parks, Wave pools, Golf courses,  Campgrounds, Nature Centers and Walking Trails for the families of Oakland County. As a board member of Oakland County Parks, my goal is to create more recreation programs for families.
Economy — I support good programs like Automation Alley and Medical Mainstreet  that have created growth in Oakland County. It’s important to create good paying jobs for our residents and business. We need to improve the lives of the jobless and homeless get back on their feet. If you have further questions, contact me at

Hazel Park District Library Millage
Shall the Hazel Park District Library, County of Oakland, Michigan, be authorized to levy a millage in an amount not to exceed 2.50 mills ($2.50 on each $1,000 of taxable value) against all taxable real and tangible personal property within the Hazel Park District Library district, for a period of ten (10) years, 2017 to 2027 inclusive, for the purpose of providing funds for all district library purposes authorized by law? The estimate of the revenue the District Library will collect if the millage is approved and levied by the District Library in 2017 calendar year is approximately $423,885.00. A portion of the revenue collected will be required to be distributed to the City of Hazel Park Downtown Development Authority and the City of Hazel Park Brownfield Redevelopment Authority.

City of Hazel Park South Macomb Oakland Regional Services Authority
Shall the Authority, presently comprising the Cities of Eastpointe and Hazel Park, also include the City of Wayne, and levy up to 14 mills on the taxable value of applicable real and personal property located within the limits of the Authority for the remainder of the 20-year term, 2016 through 2034 inclusive, and should the vote not pass by a majority then the Authority’s district will continue to include only the corporate boundaries of the Cities of Eastpointe and Hazel Park? If approved and levied in its entirety, this millage would raise an estimated amount of $6,046,684.00 in the City of Eastpointe, an estimated amount of $2,373,756.00 in the City of Hazel Park, and an estimated amount of $4,914,158.00 in the City of Wayne, for emergency services in the first year.

Madison Heights — Proposal R
Shall the Charter of the City of Madison Heights be amended to renew the provisions providing for public residential street right-of-way repair and reconstruction, and related sewer repair and reconstruction, by levy and collection of two (2.00) mills per year for ten years, beginning in 2017? If approved, it is estimated that 2.00 mills would raise approximately $1,605,000 when first levied in 2017.

Madison Heights — Proposal V
Shall the Charter of the City of Madison Heights be amended to renew the provision providing for replacement of vehicles to be used in providing police, fire, street maintenance and other City services, by levy and collection of one-quarter (0.25) mill per year for ten years, beginning in 2017? If approved, it is estimated that 0.25 mills would raise approximately $200,600 when first levied in 2017.

Madison District Public Schools — Operating Millage Renewal Proposal
This proposal will allow the school district to continue to levy the statutory rate of not to exceed 18 mills on all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, required for the school district to receive its revenue per pupil foundation allowance. The remaining .9791 mill is only available to be levied to restore millage lost as a result of the reduction required by the “Headlee” amendment to the Michigan Constitution of 1963 and will only be levied to the extent necessary to restore that reduction.

Shall the currently authorized millage rate limitation on the amount of taxes which may be assessed against all property, except principal residence and other property exempted by law, in Madison District Public Schools, Oakland County, Michigan, be renewed by 18.9791 mills ($18.9791 on each $1,000 of taxable valuation) for a period of 5 years, 2017 to 2021, inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes; the estimate of the revenue the school district will collect if the millage is approved and 18 mills are levied in 2017 is approximately $1,785,600 (this is a renewal of millage that will expire with the 2016 tax levy)?

Oakland County Executive
Two candidates are running for the Democratic nomination and one candidate is running for the Republican nomination to compete for one four-year term in November.

L. Brooks Patterson (I)
Running unopposed

Vicki Barnett
Age: 61
Occupation: Consultant for Emerge America
Municipality of residence: Farmington Hills
For how long: 35 years (I have lived in Oakland County my entire life)
Online campaign information: Vicki Barnett for Oakland County
Education: MBA from University of Michigan Dearborn 1993; BGS from University of Michigan Dearborn 1981
Previously held elected offices: State Representative for the 37th District, 2009-2014, Mayor of Farmington Hills, 2003-2007, Farmington Hills City Council Member, 1995-2003
Top goals: 1) Economic Development (County has lost 16% of its jobs since 2007): Expand focus to include agriculture/urban farming technology; invest in job training; require “clawbacks” of corporate tax subsidies when promised jobs are not created; institute county purchasing guidelines to support women-, minority- and veteran-owned small businesses; support RTA so workers can get to jobs, and to encourage redevelopment around transit hubs and reduce pollution.
2) Poverty (County poverty rate is up 76% since 2005): Expand pre-school education; increase access to health care; improve support for Community Mental Health; invest in programs to end homelessness (average age of homeless person is 8!). 3) Infrastructure and Environment: Test drinking water in schools and child care centers for lead; enact “fix it first” policy for roads and bridges; ban deep injection fracking around county lakes and streams; institute inspection and repair schedule for all private underground transportation pipes.

Mark Allen Danowski
Age: 58
Occupation: Eligibility Specialist for State of Michigan DHHS
Municipality of residence:  Rose Township
For how long: 18 years (32 in Oakland County)
Online campaign information: No answer given
Education: Bachelor of Science in Earth Science and a double minor in History and Coastal Environments from Eastern Michigan University
Previously held elected offices: None
Online campaign information: No answer given
Top goals: My first priority is to revive our middle class through a series of initiatives that will help make Oakland County prominent in the renewable energy industries and create significant manufacturing jobs, the building of the “Small Towns” bike path will create jobs and welcome growth, and the new Regional Transit master plan will provide transportation to allow residents a way to get to and from employment.
My second priority is to reduce costs. This will be achieved by phasing in new county facilities that are self-sustaining smart buildings that use the latest technologies to make them incredibly energy efficient. The initial costs will be offset through energy savings, it will save taxpayers millions in the long run and stimulate job growth.
Lastly I will deal with environmental issues through EPIC a consortium that brings together college research teams and environmental engineers to develop new technologies to protect our natural resources.

Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds
Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination and two candidates are running for the Democratic nomination to compete for one four-year term in November.

Tina Louise Barton
Age: 44
Occupation: City Clerk for the City of Rochester Hills
Municipality of residence:  Springfield Township
For how long: 16 years
Online campaign information:
Education: Master of Arts – Management and Leadership, Bachelor of Arts – Business Administration
Previously held elected offices: None, I’m appointed in my current role
Top goals: Protect the Integrity of Elections - New election equipment is in the process of being certified and considered by the Bureau of Elections.  The Clerks of each county will be selecting the equipment to be used in their county. I am the candidate with years of experience using election equipment and that understands the needs of Clerks, election workers, and communities. As your County Clerk, I will ensure that election laws are followed, voter rolls are secure, and election fraud prevention is a top priority.
Collaboration – I will engage citizens, attorneys, title companies, and employees in discussions about becoming more user-friendly and efficient. I will empower employees to be creative and innovative with solutions.
Fiscally Conservative – More with less is possible when you work smarter, not harder. I will leverage the technological resources Oakland County has to streamline processes and procedures.

Bill Bullard Jr.
Age: 72
Occupation: Consultant
Municipality of residence:  Highland Township
For how long: 42 years
Online campaign information:
Education:  B.A. University of Michigan; J.D. Detroit College of Law.
Previously held elected offices:   Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds; County Commissioner (Chair of the County Commission six years); State Senator; State Representative; Highland Township Trustee & Supervisor
Top goals:   I am the only candidate in the Republican Primary running for Oakland County Clerk/Register who has experience as Clerk/Register. I was a successful Clerk/Register who won six national service awards for new innovative programs. I want to accomplish as Clerk/Register 1.) More electronic transactions--e-filing and e-recording. These transactions are more convenient for the customers and save taxpayers dollars. 
2.) I implemented “Express Deeds” which allows a person recording a deed to walk out of the office in 3-4 minutes with a fully recorded document. I will re-install the streamlined electronic recording system I implemented.
3.) Increased outreach by scheduling more mobile offices and more visits to Farmer’s Markets. Any transaction that can be completed in the Pontiac office can be completed off site. The present Clerk did just a handful of mobile offices before a slight uptick in mobile offices this election year.

Lisa Brown (I)
Age: 49
Occupation: Oakland County Clerk/Register of Deeds
Municipality of residence: West Bloomfield
For how long: 25 years
Online campaign information:  Lisa
Education:  B.S., Michigan State University; J.D., Detroit College of Law
Previously held elected offices: State Representative 2009-2012
Top goals:  1) I want to insure every citizen has access to the ballot. I have held voter registration drives around the county and will continue to do so. I have worked with the State’s Bureau of Elections and L. Brooks Patterson’s senior staff on the purchase of new voting equipment for Oakland County and will work with our municipal clerks to make our selection.
2) I will continue to fight fraud in the Register of Deeds office. I brought Super Index, a free searchable database, and Property Records Notification, a free alert system, the first of its kind in the country, earning an award from the National Association of Counties, to Oakland County.
3) To continue providing accessibility to services by more local office visits and Passport Days (office open on Saturday), and programs I pushed for, like eliminating the fee for Veterans cards, while continuing to cut expenditures.

Michael D. Smith
Age: 35 years old
Occupation: Current Deputy City Clerk for the City of Clawson – prior 6 years experience working at the Oakland County Clerks Office
Municipality of residence: White Lake Township
For how long: for over 35 years – except while attending GVSU for college
Education: Bachelor of Science in Liberal Studies with an emphasis in Leadership & Diversity from Grand Valley State University in 2003. Master of Public Administration from Oakland University in 2008. Post Masters Certificate in Local Government Management from Oakland University in 2011.
Online campaign information:
Previously held elected offices: I was an elected School Board Member for the Walled Lake Consolidated School District from 2010-2013. I have been an elected Precinct Delegate as well since 2008.
Top goals: 1) Elections – I will advocate for no reason absentee voting, early voting, same day registration, and the continue efforts to fight for voters rights and the sanctity of open and secure elections. I will fight to create an Independent Redistricting Commission and to modernize our election equipment.
2) Outreach – I will create a culture that is open, fair, and one that listens to the people, both customers and employees, by reaching out through social media, education initiatives, satellite offices and local visits to increase communication and accessibility. I will push for the expansion of services online while also focusing on decreasing inline wait times.
3) Security – I will research the best practices across the nation to make sure our record keeping efforts are the most up to date, secure and user friendly that they can be to fight fraud and to allow for more transparency.

Oakland County Zoological Authority Renewal MillageVoters will be asked to vote “yes” or “no” on one county renewal millage.

The Oakland County Zoological Authority was established pursuant to Public Act 49 of 2008 and formed to allow for continuing zoological services for the students, residents and visitors of Oakland County. The law allows the Authority to seek authorization from the electors to levy a tax on real and personal property to provide revenue to an accredited zoological institution for this purpose. Accordingly, as a renewal of the previously approved millage authorization which expires with the 2017 tax levy, to continue providing zoological services to benefit the residents of the County, shall the 0.1 mill (10 cents per $1,000 of taxable value) on all of the taxable property located within the County continue to be imposed for a period of ten (10) years, being years 2018 through 2027? It is estimated that if approved and levied, this millage would generate approximately $5,609,562 in 2018.
Shall this proposal be adopted?