Candidates: City should pursue new regional agreements

City commission candidates said consolidating services a necessity as funding base erodes

BIG RAPIDS — With two weeks until election day, city commission candidates are making final campaign efforts to collect votes.

Two commissioner seats and the mayor position are up for election on Nov. 8. Four Big Rapids residents — Lynn Anderson, Ed Burch, David Grimwood and Tom Hogenson — are seeking election as commissioner, while incumbent Mayor Mark Warba runs unopposed.

Anderson was elected commissioner in 2007 and is seeking a second term. If reelected she will be term limited from office in 2015.

A former city mayor, Burch, is looking to return to the commission. Elected in 1999, Burch led the commission for eight years. He is seeking a commissioner seat this time around because he doesn’t want to challenge current mayor, Mark Warba.

This is the first political campaign for Grimwood. After serving in the U.S. Navy for 10 years, he worked several jobs in the Big Rapids area to support his family. He hopes to bring a new voice to the commission if elected.

Hogenson alos is looking to return to the commission following a two-year absence. He served as a commissioner for eight years before being term limited in 2009. Per the city charter, he was not eligible to run again until this year.

Due to a conflict with state law, only Hogenson’s name will appear on the ballot. Anderson, Burch, Grimwood and Warba are each running write-in campaigns.

In an effort to help voters see where candidates stand on various issues, the Pioneer posed six questions to the four people vying for the two open commissioner seats. Their responses will be published in the days leading up to the election. Answers were limited to 100 words.

This is the first of six installments.

With Big Rapids’ state revenue sharing facing a more than $500,000 cut this year, the city is looking for ways to save money. There is a push from Gov. Rick Snyder for city, township and county governments to pursue more regional agreements, with the goal of saving money and eliminating duplicated services.

PIONEER: With state funding being reduced at all levels and seeming to continue to do so for the foreseeable future, do you think the city should pursue more regional agreements with county and township governments? Or is the city better off keeping certain aspects in-house, allowing the city more control?

Lynn Anderson

LYNN ANDERSON: The city has to pursue more regional agreements. Duplication of services is obviously not cost-effective. The city is doing much to explore these options. However, a distinct line must be drawn to maintain the integrity of the City of Big Rapids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Burch

ED BURCH: I believe the only viable course is to continue to work together and to consolidate when possible for the good of the entire community.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

David Grimwood

DAVID GRIMWOOD: For now, the city should keep things in place. However, it is time to start examining the benefits of regional agreements. With things changing so rapidly in so many areas, the city should keep all options on the table for the future prosperity of Big Rapids.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Hogenson

TOM HOGENSON: Regional agreements can provide a way to work toward common aims, reduce overall expenses for some projects and create a shared sense of ownership and accountability for key outcomes. These agreements should be undertaken with a clear understanding of any potential loss of autonomy or control which might be part of the agreement. This implies a professional approach to negotiation and problem solving coupled with mutual respect and a common sense of purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

For video profiles of the candidates and to learn more about the upcoming city election, visit www.bigrapidsnews.com.

Tuesday afternoon, watch City Manager Steve Sobers and Clerk Roberta Cline explain how to vote in a write-in election, as well as watch Lynn Anderson talk about her candidacy in a Pioneer online exclusive interview.

Videos for candidates will be posted each day this week: Tom Hogenson on Wednesday, Ed Burch on Thursday and David Grimwood on Friday.

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Posted by Jonathan Eppley

Jonathan Eppley is news editor for the Pioneer. He designs and copy edits the Pioneer daily, and manages staff in the evening. Eppley joined the Pioneer staff in 2010. He can be reached at (231) 592-8357 or at jeppley@pioneergroup.com.

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