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League of Women Voters hosts Farms four


October 24, 2013
GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Three incumbent city council candidates tallied their accomplishments while a single challenger touted her potential during a question-and-answer forum last week sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Grosse Pointe.

The four candidates are competing in the Tuesday, Nov. 5, election for three openings on the Grosse Pointe Farms city council.


Terms are four years.

Seeking seats are, in alphabetical order:

12-year-incumbent Councilman Louis Theros, an attorney;

third-time challenger Elizabeth Vogel, an executive assistant;

16-year incumbent Councilman Peter W. Waldmeir, an attorney; and

incumbent Councilman Martin West, elected from 1997 to 2001 and appointed in 2010 to fill two consecutive mid-term vacancies, is a general insurance agent.

Waldmeir said, “This council has one common goal: to further the best interests of all Farms residents of all ages. We have the lowest millage of all the Pointes and, I believe, the highest level of services and amenities.”

West told the audience, “I hope this discussion helps you differentiate which candidates have the expertise and leadership to represent you for the next four years.”

Vogel said, “What I lack in institutional knowledge I more than make up for in leadership skills and expertise and dozens of other areas.”

Theros said, “We need to retain experienced, knowledgeable council persons who work well together to move our community forward. We have the institutional knowledge to continue to help keep the community the best of the Grosse Pointes and to make it a destination community for those wanting to live in Grosse Pointe.”

“The current council does a good job, but I can do a good job,” Vogel said. “I can infuse a lot of positive, youthful energy in this community.”

“At 49, I still bring youthful energy,” Theros said, joining the audience in laughter.

The forum, Oct. 16, at Farms city hall, is broadcast at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, through Sunday, Oct. 2, by Grosse Pointe Cable TV on Comcast Cable Channel 22 and by AT&T U-verse Channel 99. The league’s local voter guide covering this race is on vote411.org. It is linked to the league website, grossepointe.mi.lwvnet.org. The polls on Election Day are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Challenges

A questioner at the forum asked the candidates to name the top challenges facing the council this year.

“Trying to continue to reconcile flat revenues with increased healthcare costs and increased contributions to infrastructure (and) making sure of improvements at the sewer and water facility,” Theros said.

“I’d like to see us grow our fund balance a little more,” West said.

“We need to make sure everything being

done at the (Kerby Road sewage) pump station is held to a high standard,” Vogel said.

Waldmeir said its important to maintain a low millage with high city services.

“How do we accomplish that?” he said. “We look at joint uses with other communities, collaboration with the other Pointes (and have a) very strong fiscally conservative administration.”

Shared uses

The candidates are wary to approve a joint operation with another community without first projecting its costs and benefits.

“It has to be of common value and interest to the communities,” Waldmeir said.

“We have to put Farms citizens first,” Theros said “We have a good fund reserve, whereas the other Grosse Pointes don’t.”

“We don’t want to be taken advantage of because we sometimes have more resources,” West said.

“I’d like to see those efforts continue,” Vogel said.

Pump station

A questioner asked how to prevent future sewage backups into basements, as happened twice in 2011 in the inland sewer district during downpours.

Vogel had no comment.

“Flooding was due to a loss of electricity both times,” West said.

“We’ve spent over $4 million putting in an additional generator at the pump station,” Theros said. “Also, we’ve had initial talks about partial sewer separation.”

“There was a threatened class action, which the court denied,” Waldmeir said. “Now, there are individual suits. I think we will be successful.”


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