|Richard B. Moody has worked as an assistant fire chief/paramedic in Oklahoma, in addition to being elected as a city councilman and mayor there. Moody also previously worked as an adult education teacher at Eastern Oklahoma County Vo-tech. He is currently the president of a Waterford homeowners association.|
Richard B. Moody is among five Democrats running in the Aug. 7 primary election for seats on the Waterford Township Board of Trustees. The four Democrats with the highest vote total will advance to compete against four Republicans 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 Moody, 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?
MOODY: Every line item of the budget needs to be looked at in detail. Our budget problems were not an overnight problem and this is not an overnight solution, but something that needs immediate attention along with changes. My experience as an operations manager/profit and loss budget manager/human resources manager will be a benefit to the township. We must continue to reach out for state monies that are available along with grant monies. We currently are surrounded with financial disaster in areas close to us. I do not want to see what is happening in Pontiac or Detroit have a negative impact to our community also.
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.
MOODY: We have seen the affect of budget shortfalls take a huge toll on our staffing levels, not only in our Township Hall number but in our major (fire and police) departments also. All township employees are working hard and taking the extra steps to overcome the day-to-day work loads. I DO NOT SUPPORT THE MOVE TO OAKLAND COUNTY. I believe a tighter look at the P/L along with researching other avenues can resolve this issue. Why do we look at this as a way to save money when we should be looking at ways to make money?
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.
MOODY: We must have a balanced budget to stay in business ourselves. This will require creative ways to balance the numbers and maintain our township services. I have been a firefighter/paramedic and then assistant fire chief. I know what it is like to be understaffed. We must work with our planning department and community businesses to find ways to bring economic growth to the township. I’ve also been an elected councilman and elected mayor, experienced in government budgets and operations. Operate the township like a business, with tough decisions, to obtain these goals. I believe with the right leadership we can prevent an EFM takeover.
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?
MOODY: Currently being the president of a Waterford homeowners association, I personally see the advantages of having districts for the waste collection. We currently have five different trash haulers coming in an out of our subdivision. This is a huge traffic load on our streets, and we all know that the Road Commission is seeing budget shortfalls also. This does not mean that companies would go out of business but they would better serve their designated areas. I believe this would also create better pricing. I would not be opposed to a detailed look to see if this would work for Waterford … maybe/maybe not. I am open to further consideration.
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?
MOODY: Again, I believe that creative thinking and working with the planning departments and businesses alike, we can come up with incentives to bring businesses to Waterford Township. Since we do not own Summit Place Mall, obviously it would take their management/ownership working together, along with planned development opportunities, for future growth. The ownership of the Summit Place Mall is the key player here and they need to step up their offers also. What are they doing to encourage filling the mall corridors?
TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them?
MOODY: The biggest issues facing Waterford is, the economy effecting budget controls, business growth, and cutbacks in township services. We have got to come together as one to accomplish this — involving our department managers for budget controls, community involvement from our business leaders, because they are the core of the finances, and listening/involving our citizens for fresh ideas. My experience and background will bring this to the table. Running the township takes community involvement also.
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
MOODY: We need newer ideas, different experiences and sometimes just changes to make improvements. I commit to work diligently towards the goals that I know you and I both share for our citizens, employees and businesses alike.