How many years have you been a resident of Ann Arbor?
BFA - University of Michigan
Professionally, I have worked for 18 years in business operations effectiveness roles for a global consulting company. I have a deep appreciation for complexities in large organizations and the need to have management that is efficient and accountable.
My education (BFA - University of MI) has provided me with the skills to communicate, collaborate, creatively approach challenges, and listen. I have served on the NYCS Board of Managers and more recently, the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre Board of Directors. This service has taught me the importance of working toward a shared vision, particularly among those with diverse histories and perspectives.
My top priorities for the city include pedestrian and cyclist safety, affordable housing, and protecting our environment. The main challenge for all of these priorities is finding dedicated, reliable sources of funding.
While some gains can be made through increased efficiency, staff has determined that services will decline unless new revenue can be generated. The cost of services are simply rising faster than revenue received. In the coming years, we need to identify adequate, consistent, and fair sources of funding to move forward on community priorities, or even maintain current service levels.
Most imminent are Infrastructure maintenance, regional transit improvements, unfunded needs in the area of pedestrian and cyclist protection, and affordable housing for the workforce. All of these are important, but also related to our challenge of costs rising faster than revenues. As a council member, I will fight to not only continue providing the basic services that are at the core of the city’s success, but also to improve upon them and make Ann Arbor an even greater city for our children and others who want to live and work here.
I believe council has started to move in the right direction in terms of reinforcing our financial position. However, I would very much like to see a better sense of cooperation and shared vision on issues like the amount of revenue necessary to serve our residents and identifying a funding source; or defining a path toward addressing the tens of thousands of people (and growing) who drive into the city every day for work, yet do not pay taxes or have reasonable housing options. Like any organization, council needs to agree on a vision and strategies that will get us there.
I believe council has been passing responsible budgets and doing the best they can with the resources they have. I would like to see more attention paid to service and cost benchmarks relative to peer communities to see if we can find more cost savings.
Without raising taxes or implementing an income tax, the only revenue that will help stabilize the city’s finances will come from new housing construction. If the community can agree on where new housing is appropriate, it can help address our workforce housing shortage, maintain current service levels, and allow investment in areas such as pedestrian protections and water quality.
How many years have you been a resident of Ann Arbor?
BA, Ohio Wesleyan University (1975)
An Ann Arbor resident for 40 years, I’ve served on City Council and actively participated in a wide range of community organizations. Those experiences have taught me a great deal about the 2nd Ward – neighborhood issues, concerns, priorities – and city government. I’ve learned city government works best when it’s transparent, inclusive and rigorously debating policies/priorities. I’ve learned residents (reasonably) expect their tax dollars to be spent wisely and their council member to be responsive. In my six years on Council, I’ve worked hard to meet those expectations and ensure city government is efficient and accountable to residents.
My top goal remains providing timely, effective constituent service. I’ll continue to listen, work with neighbors, and proactively address 2nd Ward issues. A second key goal is to re-focus city spending on what you’ve told me are your priorities - infrastructure re-investment and improving neighborhood safety/preserving neighborhood character. I’ll collaborate with my council colleagues on several specific goals 1) continue school pedestrian safety improvements 2) implement Nixon Road traffic improvements 3) expand downtown parking capacity to meet demand 4) address city’s $78M unfunded pension liability and 5) implement election reform.
I see three 1) addressing the Gelman plume issue and developing/implementing long term plans for recycling and the MRF 2) adding sufficient parking capacity downtown to meet rapidly increasing demand. The system’s at capacity now. Demand is expected to grow significantly (860 spaces by 2019) and capacity shortfalls would risk the continuing economic growth/vitality of downtown. 3) growing responsibly. Ann Arbor is highly attractive to new businesses and developers. That strong demand allows us to achieve the economic growth we need AND insist on developments that are compatible with their surroundings and complement the character of our city.
Council’s prioritizing pedestrian safety at schools resulted in significant improvements. I’d like to see Council’s sensitivity to neighborhood quality of life issues extended further to include greater consideration of potential impacts on neighborhoods in all our policy-making. I support added density downtown/along major commercial corridors, but believe the city’s efforts to increase density in single-family neighborhoods risks compromising their nature/character. Council also should more carefully consider the adequacy of supporting infrastructure (roads & traffic, parking, storm water capacity) before approving new development projects.
Spending should reflect the broader community’s priorities, not the priorities of elected officials. You’ve told me your priorities 1) invest in infrastructure including streets, sewers, parks, traffic improvements, streetlights, downtown parking, school pedestrian safety and 2) improve basic services, especially neighborhood safety. I’ll continue my efforts to shape the budget to reflect those priorities. We don’t need - and many can’t afford - higher taxes. Instead, we must prioritize and improve taxpayer value/ service delivery efficiency through technology, strategic partnerships, and consolidation. Consulting budgets could be reduced.