|Anthony Bartolotta, general manager of the Imperial Auto Wash for the past 20 years, has served on the Waterford Township Board of Trustees for the past two years. He is a member of the Waterford Cable Commission, Waterford Youth Assistance Executive Committee, and Watkins Lake Board. Bartolotta is a former member of the Waterford Police Advisory Board and Oakland County Criminal Justice Coordinating Council.|
Anthony Bartolotta is among eight Republicans running in the Aug. 7 primary election for seats on the Waterford Township Board of Trustees. The four Republicans with the highest vote total will advance to compete against four Democrats in the Nov. 6 general election to fill four trustee positions. Township trustees serve four-year terms and are currently paid $10,976 annually.
The following are questions we posed to Bartolotta, and his responses to those questions.
BUDGET: Years of revenue decline prompted by falling home values and other reasons have forced a variety of budget cuts. What changes in township budgeting priorities or processes do you advocate to deal with these hurdles? Where could the township’s budget be trimmed back? What, if anything, in the budget should be held harmless from the budget ax?
BARTOLOTTA: I have proposed contracting out the Waterford police and fire dispatch to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. This would save Waterford $650,000 yearly. Also I would propose changing our retiree health co-pay from the current $2 to $20. These two items alone would save the township over $1 million a year. By bidding out the township Prosecutor’s Office, there is a possible savings of an additional $100,000 per year. In this day and age we have to be creative. I believe nothing should be immune from the “budget ax” as long as it makes good business sense.
POLICE/FIRE DISPATCH: Some on the township board have come forward with a proposal to contract with the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department for police and fire dispatch services as a way to save money. Explain why you do or don’t support the proposal.
BARTOLOTTA: I support this proposal wholeheartedly. I am the only board member that has proposed this possibility to slash the budget by approximately $650,000 per year — making sure, in the process, that all of the dispatchers get picked up by the county. It’s a win-win for the township and the citizens of Waterford.
EMERGENCY FINANCIAL MANAGER: Some people have speculated that the township will be forced to come under the authority of an emergency financial manager (EFM) within the next two years. Please state why you do or don’t agree that such speculation has merit.
BARTOLOTTA: I agree with the speculation that we will be under an emergency financial manager within the next two years if we don’t make changes now. If we continue to operate “business as usual” and not make cuts where they are needed, we will be under an emergency financial manager by the end of 2014. We cannot count on new millages year after year. I wouldn’t ask the people of Waterford to do that, when there is still room to improve the finances internally.
WASTE COLLECTION: Waterford currently has a waste collection system under which each individual resident and business is left to secure their own trash collection service, but it’s been proposed that the township change that by carving up the community into waste collection districts and soliciting bids from haulers to serve those districts. How, if at all, should the township’s current waste collection system be changed, and why?
BARTOLOTTA: I am all for the free enterprise system. I suggest we split off Waterford into four districts: District 1 can only be collected on Mondays, District 2 can only collect on Tuesdays, and so on. This way if your district (pickup day) is Monday, the trash collection agencies can only collect in your district on Monday, whether it be Smith, Waste Management, Allied, etc. You still get to select your company but it limits the days the trucks run through your area.
SUMMIT PLACE: Essentially vacant and an eyesore, the Summit Place Mall has been the subject of a number of proposals for redevelopment. However, there has yet to be a large-scale redevelopment proposal to come to fruition? What is your vision for the future of the Summit Place Mall site? What would you do, if anything, as a township trustee to ensure that vision becomes reality?
BARTOLOTTA: I would like to see some sort of a sports complex become a reality. This would bring in the family-oriented businesses and restaurants. Summit Place Mall has been designated as a planned destination area. Contact with Oakland County Economic Planning and Development would be a start to help get the ball rolling. As a trustee I would be open minded to any ideas a developer had for the area to turn it around.
TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them?
BARTOLOTTA: First would be to balance the budget. I have proposed contracting out the Waterford police and fire dispatch to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office. This would save Waterford $650,000 yearly. Also, I would propose changing our retiree health co-pay from the current $2 to $20. These two items alone would save the township over $1 million a year
Second would be to improve public safety by maintaining the police department with township control. I would want to cut down on the command staff and put command officers back on the streets where they are needed — including, the chief of police — and implement a reserve unit that would save on overtime pay. As officers retire, we can hire part-time officers.
Finally, the blight of Waterford (is an issue). We need more code enforcement officers on the streets. I would like to cross train employees from other departments to serve as code enforcement officers. We can also train citizens of Waterford who wish to volunteer to work as part-time code enforcement officers
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
BARTOLOTTA: Voters should choose me over my opponents because I will be the voice of the citizens for Waterford Township. I am fiscally conservative, and I have a vested interest in Waterford. In just under 2 years that I have been on the board, I have worked hard for the best interests of the Waterford citizens. I have brought to the board a way to save $1 million per year. I have turned a failing business into a very successful business, even through the last few years. I feel a lot of this is due in part to the relationship I have with the citizens of Waterford and that I can relate well with them. I am a neighbor and a friend. I have been in business in Waterford since 1992, and have lived here for the past 14 years. I believe the township board needs someone with different views and a successful business background. I have been quite active in the community on different boards. I have given a lot of my time to work toward improving the township. My record of being a successful businessman for the past 20 years speaks for itself. I know how to balance a budget at work and at home, and I bring that knowledge to the township board and its citizens.