GARY PATULSKI: The difference between Beaton, Cote and Fenstermacher

TO THE EDITOR:

Recently, the Manistee News Advocate directed questions to incumbent city council member Ed Cote and his two challengers — Kathy Fenstermacher and Lynda Beaton — all of whom are vying for the seat in District 2, and I noted significant differences in their replies.

While each candidate discussed streets, Beaton was the only one who spoke specifically to local streets and described the important difference between a local street where the majority of residents reside, and a major street being a primary through-way.

Is this because, as a real estate agent, she has a better understanding about how poor local streets adversely affect property value?

Unless local streets remain in the forefront of council attention, street funding will be concentrated on major streets only.

FY 2016-17 funding of $427,000 is specified in the City’s Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) as being for major streets. This is substantially less than the annual $600,000 required to maintain a status quo on streets.

The CIP indicates no identified funding for repairing local streets for FY 2017 through FY 2021. The only funding committed to local streets is for the few streets being repaired this year — which includes only one street on the city’s north side, that being the street on which Mr. Cote resides.

Mr. Cote stated that “when the State of Michigan releases their road funding for distribution, Manistee’s anticipated sum, we hope, will be in the area of $600,000 or more.” However, I wish to advise Mr. Cote again, that state money only benefits major streets.

Ms. Fenstermacher refers to a road committee, which did an excellent job in “finding monies” for road repairs. Is she referring to recommendations made by the Ad hoc Street Committee?

Should monies be considered found when the committee’s two recommendations (i.e. to increase the oil and gas spending rule from 4 percent to 4.5 percent, and that at least 2 percent of the annual general fund money be spent on streets) are both rejected by the council?

When asked about important issues facing the city, neither Cote nor Fenstermacher mentioned the Ramsdell Theatre or City Marina which will be subsidized $268,830 (which includes $90,000 for operating and $178,000 toward debt) and $40,000 respectively in FY 2016.

In addition, the marina will receive a $60,000 cash advance in FY 2016, and the city has committed to subsidize the Ramsdell debt through FY 2027.

Only Lynda Beaton mentioned the Ramsdell Theatre and City Marina as items which need to be addressed and which are included in what she would like to accomplish if elected.

In comparison, Mr. Cote mentioned completion of a beach project as a concern needing to be addressed, and a city-wide survey as a desired accomplishment.

On Nov. 3, the voters in the City of Manistee have a choice to vote for complacency or hope for change.

I believe hope for the future is with Lynda Beaton.

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