|David J. “Doc” Maloney has served on the Waterford Township Board of Trustees since 2000. He is a current member of the township’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), Parks and Recreation Board, Election Commission, and the Economic Development Corporation. Maloney is a retired vice president/corporate secretary for a commercial construction firm, and was formerly employed as a construction project manger. He is a decorated combat veteran of Vietnam, where he served as a corpsman with the 3rd Marine Division.|
David J. “Doc” Maloney 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 Maloney, 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?
MALONEY: Having worked with the budget for the past 11 years I am all too familiar with the decline in revenues such as the state revenue sharing and the property value reductions. Rising costs associated with health care, wages and pensions have further widened the gap in the ability to balance the budget. We were elected to oversee the management of the budget and to provide an annual balanced budget as mandated by law. Decisions have been and must be made without prejudice. This is the responsibility entrusted to us by the voters.
We have been presented with options to balance the budget which would mean downsizing or eliminating various services. One recent option was to turn over dispatch services to Oakland County. While this would result in a reduction in costs, we still don’t know the impact it will have on service to the community.
I have asked on more than one occasion to look into the elimination of our district court. This is an unfunded mandate by the state of Michigan. If we have to budget over $2.2 million dollars from our general fund and the recovery from fines and fees is down almost 45 percent, then the state should either provide financial assistance from the court equity fund or allow us to discontinue the court.
Another department that we should research is the Assessing Department to see if it would be more viable to turn this service over to the county.
As a resident of this community, I feel that the Parks and Recreation Department and the library are essential to the well being and morale of our citizens, especially during these difficult times, from our youth to our seniors. Unfortunately, these are considered non-essential services and in all likelyhood would be some of the first to see additional cuts in the budget to sustain the essential services such as police and fire/EMS. The facts are, without additional millages or millage renewals, the budget will continue to decrease and difficult decisions will have to be made. Employees of the township have continually made concessions in an effort to balance the budget. We have cut costs by downsizing the staff and consolidating departments. The quality and level of services will continue to decline until revenue funding is restored. Consolidation of services with other communities may be the wave of the future.
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.
MALONEY: I do not at this time advocate the transfer of dispatch to the county. There has not been enough discussion or information provided which convinces me this is in the best interest of the community. We cannot look at just the short-term fix. More information is needed from a financial standpoint to determine how the long-term benefits will impact the budget and the community with regard to services and costs.
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.
MALONEY: As the township board we have worked collectively to avoid what some consider the inevidable. Through due dilligence we have tackled the difficult responsibility of balancing the budget and attempting to project the financial needs of the community in the future, based on current economic indicators. It is up to the board to make those same difficult decisions that an EFM would make, only we do it with the understanding and consideration of how it will impact services. As a trustee, I have a duty to our community to make sure there is no gross mismanagement of funds nor neglect in monitoring the expenses necessary to keep this municipality solvent. I feel this community will avoid an EFM because of the steps taken by our current leadership in projecting costs, relevant to revenue.
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?
MALONEY: I have been opposed to single source trash collection before I was ever elected to the board. The citizens have rejected this idea on more than one occasion. I don’t believe government should intervene between private enterprise and its customers. I feel if a neighborhood is dissatisfied with too many haulers, they should get together and form an association to agree with what is best for their neighborhood, not look to local government to regulate this service.
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?
MALONEY: As a member of the Board of Trustees, I too am appalled at the eyesore the Summit Place Mall has become. The closing of the mall has resulted in less taxable revenue for the township. As a member of the EDC we welcome any viable ideas that would serve to revitalize this area.
Ten years ago there was a proposal to build a waterpark there but the owner was looking to the township to offer a bond issue. After careful consideration, the board opted not to enter into this partnership. Had it done so, with todays economy, we would have been left in a very bad financial position. This is where long-term vision is invaluable and necessary to manage a community. There was a bid to build a ballpark in the area, and this too did not come to fruition. The Waterford Township Board of Trustees is always looking for options to invigorate this area but not at the expense of the taxpayers. Private enterprise has to step up and develop this area. We are willing to work with them but we must still follow the same guidelines that have been set forth for all the other existing businesses, with regard to codes and ordinances.
The closing of stores at the mall is not as a result of local government but due to declining sales, which is dependent on its customers who have all been impacted by this dismal economy.
TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them?
MALONEY: The top issue as I see it is, No. 1, the budget … everything revolves around the money available to continue the quality and level of service the community expects. Revenue sources are being depleted, and without additional funding, the downward spiral will continue.
Police, fire and EMS services must be maintained. The safety and welfare of our citizens is paramount. Cuts in the budget may lead to slower response times. This is unacceptable and must be kept at a minimum.
Community services must be maintained. This includes Parks and Recreation and the library. All work and no play is not a good recipe for bringing in new neighbors or keeping the ones we have. People choose to live in a place because of its schools and the community services available to them. Waterford Township must maintain these resources.
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
MALONEY: Longevity and experience. I live in Waterford because I truly believe in what we have to offer. I have raised my family here based on that pretense. I have put as much into my community as I expect to get out of it. I have a good working knowledge of the budget, the departments of the township and the people who work here. I do the job objectively and without bias. My decisions are made based on the information and facts as presented to me, as well as interaction with the community. I look at it as a responsibility, not a job.