|Don Green was first elected Milford Township supervisor in 2000 after serving a four-year term as township trustee. He has been treasurer of Huron Valley Youth Assistance since 2004, a member of St. Vincent de Paul since 1990 and has served on the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments Executive Committee since 2010. He is a member of St. Mary Church and a member of the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion.|
Mike Glagola, Don Green, Jeff Lewis and Ric Mueller are competing in the Tuesday, Aug. 7 Republican primary election for Milford Township supervisor. Since there are no Democrats running, the winner of the primary election will earn a four-year term that pays $71,623 annually.
The following are questions our staff recently posed to Green and his response to those questions.
LEADERSHIP: As supervisor, at what point do you believe you should disregard public sentiment, and cast a vote on an item based on your own knowledge and feelings about how an issue impacts the greater community?
GREEN: After serving as township trustee for 4 years and as township supervisor for 12 years, I have learned that when a property owner is passionate about something, they believe they are the majority. As supervisor, I need to evaluate each issue for the good if the whole community. Will it benefit the majority? What will it cost? What is the impact on the future of our township? Each decision made is based on fact and analysis — not emotion.
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?
GREEN: I have watched over the township budget for 12 years. In each year, I have added money to the fund balance. Accounts have been setup for roads, land acquisition, retiree health care, and others. Adding a little to these accounts allows us to have a fund available to use as needed for various items. As our revenues decrease and costs increase, less money is available for the various accounts, roads, land acquisition, etc. Essential services will be maintained. Non-essential services will be adjusted to limits allowed by funding. Some programs may be eliminated. All these decisions are made by the township board. Fees may be adjusted to reflect the actual cost of the particular service.
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?
GREEN: Over the years, the township has issued tax abatements to a few companies, such as General Motors, General Bearing and Shupan – T.O.M.R.A. There have been a couple companies that applied for a tax abatement — one was denied, another withdrew their application. To satisfy the agreement on an abatement, the township drafts a contract with requirements (such as number of new employees and future hirings). If requirements are not met, the abatement could be removed. The reason for non-compliance must be proven to the township board. Until property values stabilize, future tax abatements will need to be carefully reviewed. It would depend on the type of facility and the number of new jobs created in the township and what the cost would be to the township to monitor each business.
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.
GREEN: Milford Township has a very good relationship with Milford Village. We have partnered on projects over the years, such as the landfill, safety grates at Moore Lake, senior transportation, and police and fire departments. Cityhood was a question that came up. Is there an advantage to cityhood? The facts pointed out there is no advantage to become a city. State law does not allow different taxes for different areas of a city. The same holds true for becoming a township. The extra services provided at present by the village would be a special assessment (district) rather than a tax. If a merger were to take place, the township (form of) government would be my preference.
TOP ISSUES: What are the three most important issues for the township, and how do you propose to address them?
GREEN: No. 1, roads. Everyone needs to get from point A to point B safely and efficiently. The county maintains our main roads. As a voting member of the Federal Aid Committee, I was able to get the Milford Road reconstruction moved up to 2014. The state is looking at different funding mechanisms for road construction and repair.
No. 2, property values. By maintaining our zoning (larger lots) property values will increase. Milford is a destination because of the vibrant downtown, recreational facilities, Huron River access and our rural atmosphere. Maintaining what we have is important for every member of the community. Public safety, the Senior Center, cemetery and recreation are some of the essential items.
WHY YOU? Why specifically should voters choose you over your opponent?
GREEN: I have 12 years experience on the job. This job far exceeds the budget and monthly meetings. I know the history of all the current issues. I have weathered the storms (declining revenues) and still maintained a good fund balance. I have worked with residents and businesses to resolve their issues. I am highly respected by my peers, both locally and throughout the state.