|Brien R. Worrell is the owner of Brien’s Services, a landscaping company, and a graduate of Grand Valley State University and Penn State University. He is a member of the Milford Rotary Club and a committee member for Cub Scout Pack No. 315. He was first elected to the township board as a trustee in 1992 and served on the Zoning Board of Appeals from 1996 until 2003.|
Six candidates — Randal Busick, Kevin Lawrence, William E. Mazzara, Anthony Raimondo, Dale R. Wiltse, and Brien R. Worrell — are competing in the Tuesday, Aug. 7 Republican primary election for one of four trustee spots on the Milford Township Board of Trustees. Since there are no Democrats running in the primary election for a trustee position, the top four vote-getters will earn a four-year term on the township board that pays $150 per meeting.
The following are questions we recently posed to Worrell, and his responses to those questions.
BUDGET: All municipal governments in Michigan have faced difficult budget scenarios over the past few years, as declines in property values have produced a revenue stream that can’t keep up with various rising costs. 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?
WORRELL: The only room I believe that we have to cut any further would be non-essential line items. Essential items, such as our police and fire (departments), I believe are “hold harmless” (expenditures) and should not be touched at this time. I do plan to manage the budget by keeping our costs down while keeping our taxes low. I do not support any tax increases. In these tough economic times, I believe it is the government’s responsibility to manage its budgets with fiscal responsibility and to look out several years in the future, not just the year that is in front of it at budget session. As an example, at the past budget session we were already discussing what would be the projected funds for the year 2015.
TAX ABATEMENTS: A few years ago the township board rejected a request from a business seeking to extend an existing nine-year tax abatement for another three years, creating a 12-year abatement. The request was nixed due to the township’s own fiscal challenges and uncertainty at that time. With property values at or near the bottom of the trough, when would you be comfortable granting new or extending any existing tax abatement agreements?
WORRELL: I believe we should consider each request for a tax abatement on its own merit and, when the request comes in, we would have to consider the township’s budget and long-term economic forecast. I would only be comfortable granting a new tax abatement if it would benefit the township and township citizens now and in the future.
A UNIFIED MILFORD: The idea of somehow merging Milford Township and Milford Village is an issue that crops up every few years. If you’re opposed to any kind of merger, please justify maintaining two separate municipalities given the level of consolidation and shared services already in place and the potential for saving taxpayer dollars through a complete consolidation. If you are open to a merger, state whether you prefer merging under the city form of local government, or dissolving the village and making it part of the township.
WORRELL: We certainly have a great working relationship with the Village of Milford and cooperate in several areas. I believe both governments serve a purpose and can benefit with combined services, such as negotiated private contracts for waste hauling, joint fire and police protection, and liaisons for our committees.
TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them?
WORRELL: Maintaining our stable township government within these tough economic times — keeping within our budget and listening to citizens as they address issues to the board.
Maintaining our Master Land Use Plan to preserve our way of life within our community — following and fighting to preserve the Master Land Use Plan.
Increasing road improvements. As our economy improves over the next several years, we need to make an investment into our major assets, such as roads — encouraging more cooperation with the county and lobbying the state for more funds toward our roads.
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
WORRELL: I ask that voters support me over the other candidates because as a Milford Township board trustee for the past 20 years, I have the experience and am familiar with the township issues to make a difference. I have also conscientiously serve the township and have a 99.7 percent attendance record at all of the regularly scheduled meetings. I have addressed all the questions and concerns brought to me. I am a local business owner and I see our community every day as I drive our local roads and visit many locations within our township and village. I have an open mind to all issues as I review them and listen to the concerns of the citizens of the community so that I may address their needs.