Being elected to the city council was truly an honour. I thank the residents of Rochester Hills, especially from District 1, for giving me the opportunity to serve the city. My fundamental values of Trust, Honesty and Integrity helped me to serve to the best of my ability. Being a Council Member gave me the opportunity to get to know many families and during my tenure I developed some wonderful relationships with many, which I will cherish them for the rest of my life. Had I not been elected to the council I would have lost the opportunity of meeting so many wonderful people. I was truly fortunate. Never, during my tenure, have I received a derogatory email or phone call from any resident. Even when there was disagreement with my thought process or actions residents who have called or emailed on those issues were extremely courteous.
I want to thank all the Department Directors and city staff for their dedication and commitment to the city. During my tenure I have come to know many and not had the opportunity to meet some of them. It was truly a wonderful experience getting to know them, listening to their ideas and sharing with them my thoughts on the workings of the city. Working with them I truly believe and feel as a city we are fortunate to have such dedicated staff.
Being on council meant working with individuals with diverse backgrounds and experience and my thanks to all my colleagues on the council and the Mayor who have worked with me. I have learned a lot from them and appreciate their commitment and dedication to the city. Sadly, we lost a colleague Marty Brennan who was passionate about the city and loved what he did.
I have been part of a collective effort in preserving and enhancing the quality of life in City of Rochester Hills. It was a good journey. My predecessors on the council and previous Mayors have done an exemplary job in creating a remarkable city that we all enjoy today. I have immense respect for them and in my working s on council I ensure d my actions were value added.
Beginning from t he first major vote I had to cast on whether to build a new DPS facility or not and to the last decision I will be making at the last council meeting I always voted as an independent with a clear conscience and no prejudices or biases. It was and will continue to be important to me that before a decision is made that I get educated on the issue to the best of my ability and ensure that the purpose helped many. To me if one person expressed a concern it was my responsibility to pay attention and address it and never miss treat or disrespect anyone.
I advocated for many issues and on many took a strong stance including not voting for a budget that did not address some key concerns such as local road reconstruction; outsourcing 911 – dispatch to the County saving the city $ 750 ,000 a year; amending city charter to move the accounting department from the Clerk’s office to the Finance Department; initiated the ballot proposal with residents to amend the charter for preservation of parks; city wide trash hauling services without adding any additional burden to the city operations and no additional tax to the residents, and promoting recycling; opposing expansion of Tienken Road to five lane between Sheldon and Livernois; tax incentives to support existing businesses an d to attract new businesses; opposing the development of water reservoirs due to lack of a business case, and opposing the development in the parks; recapturing expiring mileages and re purposing those for local roads, changing the status of Van Hoosen Museum as a non – profit private entity. I firmly was opposed to any raise in taxes and when the police millage was placed on the ballot in 2012 I clearly communicated through my newsletter that the millage was an increase. Today it stands to be true that it is an increase and hopefully the new council and the Mayor will not use the approval of the ballot by the residents as an opportunity to raise taxes in the future.
As a council member fiduciary responsibility was one of my key goals to ensure the city stayed fiscally sound. I remember distinctly in 2007 when efforts were being made to ask the residents for a tax increase I made a presentation to the council on how the economy was declining and not appropriate to ask for any new taxes and the negative impact it would have on families declining income. My presentation was not well received at the council and took some strong criticism by a few. We all know what happened since Sept 2008. While I felt it was very challenging to continuously advocate f or not raising any taxes and continue to provide services by increasing efficiencies and containing costs over the years t he impressive thing was the Council, Mayor and the City staff, together achieved the goal of continuously creating surplus budgets and not raise any taxes. Today the city carries an impressive fund balance of over $100 million in different funds, including $28 million in General Fund. It is time the city uses these fund balances to invest in local roads.
I have become passionate of many quality of life issues in the city, such as, the Green Space, OPC, Youth Assistance, Trailways, Van Hoosen Museum and Historic District preservation. I hope to stay engaged with those issues as I move forward.
One of my goals was to keep open communications and as part of that effort I maintained a website, sent newsletters, and responded to phone calls and emails in less than 24 hours. I hope my communications were helpful and educational.
The term limits in our city charter is one that I appreciate and believe in it. While I will miss being on the council the new members coming in will bring new ideas, new thinking and new approaches to old and new challenges. They will serve well and continue to preserve the city in its current form for future generations to come.