Along with deciding on who Michigan’s governor will be and who the state will send to Washington, Lansing, and the courts, local voters will decide on school board candidates, library board members, and a library millage in next Tuesday’s election.
Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. throughout the state. Clerks’ offices throughout the state, including in Belleville, Van Buren and Sumpter, will be open this Saturday to accept last-minute applications for absentee ballots.
Running for two, four-year positions on the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education are: incumbents Victor Hogan and David Peer, as well as Sherry Frazier, Michael Miazga, Ralph Nodwell and Scott Russell (all profiled in last week’sIndependent).
Eight candidates are running for seven seats on the Belleville Area District Library Board. Six of the seven that were appointed to the interim library board by officials in Belleville, Van Buren, and Sumpter, have chosen to run for the permanent position, plus two newcomers.
On the ballot for the district library board are Michael Boelter (Incumbent), Christina Brasil (I), Joy Cichewicz (I), Mary Jane Dawson (I), Elaine Gutierrez (I), John Juriga, Joseph Monte (I), and Harry Van Gelder. All were profiled in last week’s Independent.
Also on the ballot is a request for a levy of 0.7 mill for 12 years for operation of the Belleville Area District Library. The tax would cost taxpayers 70 cents per $1,000 of taxable value of their property or $70 on $100,000 starting in 2010.
The district library agreement passed by leaders of Belleville, Van Buren, and Sumpter last winter includes the directive to pass a millage for operation before the end of 2012 or the agreement would lapse.
The library would not close, but would not be a district library and would operate another way, possibly with fewer services.
On April 17, the library pulled out of the Wayne County Library System and went off on its own. The county system had been charging fees to the Belleville library that the local library felt were unnecessary. Since the library withdrew from the county system, it has saved at least $150,000, according to library board candidate Michael Boelter.
Currently what used to be called the Fred C. Fischer Library is being supported by contributions from the three communities.
Sumpter Township already has a library millage of .7 mill, which would be replaced by the new millage if the voters of the district approve it. Sumpter taxpayers would see no change in their tax bills. The only change would be where the tax money is delivered. Presently, Sumpter collects it and then sends most of it off to the library. If the ballot proposal passes, the tax would go directly to the library.
Current contributions from the three communities are:
* Sumpter Township, $166,588;
* City of Belleville, $70,788; and
* Van Buren Township, $471,407.
Belleville and VBT take their contributions from their general funds.
At recent meetings, officials were asked if taxpayers would get refunds for the amount the municipalities saved by not having to send money to the library from the general funds. The answers were No and that the municipalities would use the money they saved on the library to avoid cuts in other services.
According to an Oct. 11 report on revenue, the library expects a total of $827,933 in revenue this fiscal year from various sources, including the three municipalities.
If the ballot proposal for .7 mill passes, it is expected to raise $1,020,153 when first levied this year, according to the ballot wording.
Literature from the library warns if the millage doesn’t pass, beginning in January it expects less revenue than it had in 2003. This will result in staff cuts at all levels and corresponding cuts in library hours and days open and a 25-30% cut in the book and materials budget.
It may result in fewer public internet
stations as old machines break and cannot be replaced, the library literature warns and, “By 2013, it could mean complete closing of the library.”
Interim library board member Paul Henning, who is not running for the permanent board, said the Fred C. Fischer Library name had to be changed because of 2007 state library law that requires the name of the district covered to be in the name. It was re-named the Belleville Area District Library by the committee that put together the district library agreement that was approved by Belleville, Van Buren, and Sumpter.
Also in the Nov. 2 election, Republican candidate Rob Steele is seeking to unseat 15thDistrict Congressional District Rep. John Dingell, 84, who has served 27 terms in Congress. In 1955, Dingell, at age 29 ran for his father’s seat after his father died in office. Dingell won and is the longest serving member of the House. Democrat Dingell lives in Dearborn.
Dr. Steele is a practicing cardiologist who lives in Ypsilanti. He believes the most pressing issues are excessive government spending, high taxes, health care and government accountability.
The 15th District includes Sumpter Township.
In the 11th Congressional District that includes Van Buren Township and Belleville, Incumbent Republican Thaddeus McCotter, 45, of Livonia is being challenged by Natalie Mosher, a Canton Democrat.
In Congress, McCotter mixed in tough rhetoric against communist China with his support for standard Republican policies like tax cuts. He has been a familiar face as a spokesman for the Republicans. He plays lead guitar in a bipartisan rock and country band and has played for the troops in Iraq.
Mosher is a graduate of Michigan State University and has always worked as a teacher and a non-profit development director. She said she is not a career politician and wants to help put Michigan back on track.
Patrick Colbeck, 45, a Canton Republican and Kathleen Law, 64, a Gibraltar Democrat are seeking to fill the 7th District Senate seat left open by the term-limited departure of Bruce Patterson. They are joined by John Stewart of Plymouth, who served three terms in the House as a Republican. He filed as an Independent after he pulled out of a Democratic filing because he thought Marc Corriveau was going to run. Stewart said he will caucus with the Democrats, if elected.
Colbeck is a management consultant and former aerospace engineer. He is a pro-lifer and supports term limits and a part-time legislature. His top issue is the economy.
Law served in the House from 2003 to 2008. She is a research chemist by trade and is passionate about the environment. She is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University.
Republican Lori Levi, 44, of Canton is seeking to unseat Democrat Dian Slavens of Canton for the 21st District House Rep. seat, which serves Van Buren, Belleville, and part of Canton.
Levi is a small business owner and pro-lifer. She has been an energetic candidate throughout the 21st district, including putting on gun safety programs at the Van Buren Township Hall and attending last week’s VBT Neighborhood Watch forum. She will be handing out candy with attorney Tom DiPietro and Mayor Richard Smith in front of DiPietro’s law office during downtown trick or treat on Friday.
Slavens, 52, was a respiratory therapist at Henry Ford Hospital for more than 20 years before being elected state representative in 2008. She has been a familiar presence at many, many local events and local coffee hours since then.
She is married to Mark Slavens who was appointed Wayne County Third Circuit Court Judge by Governor Granholm in May 2007. He is running for election to the position in the same election.
Both Levi and Slavens say they want to clean up Lansing, but have widely differing view on how to do that.
Republican Pat Somerville, 30, of New Boston and Democrat Deb Kennedy, 56, the incumbent of Brownstown Township, are running for State Representative in the 23rdDistrict, which includes Sumpter Township.
Kennedy was elected to an open seat in the State House in 2008. She incurred the wrath of Sumpter officials for working to stop Toronto trash from being deposited in the Carleton Farms landfill in Sumpter, which brought needed income to the rural township.
Somerville, a University of Michigan engineering graduate, does retail management. He is pro-life and supports Michigan moving to a part-time legislature.