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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Sault Sainte Marie, City of Mayor

The following candidates are running for Mayor of Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan. The mayor presides over the city commission, with a voice and vote that is equal to others on the commission. He has no veto powers.Note: Eric Welch is a write-in candidate.
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    Ray Bauer Founder, Soo Brewing Co., 1668 Winery

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    Anthony Bosbous Mayor

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    Eric Welch Self Employed

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Biographical Information

Why do you consider yourself the best candidate for this position?

In terms of economic development of the city, what do you see as the greatest opportunities and challenges over the next two years?

What is your opinion of the proposed low-to-medium income housing project for downtown Soo? How do you think this would impact the city?

As a 12-year member of The City Commission, I have shown more vision and energy than the current Mayor. We agree regularly, but have disagreed greatly on several issues both over the years and recently. To name a few: He voted to sell the I-500 Track to a fake developer with fictitious credentials. I strongly opposed that. He voted for the most costly package to renovate City Hall ($5 million). I held my ground and voted on the least expense ($2 million less). He pushed for the coming roundabout. I believe the money would be better spent fixing our existing streets. Recently, he appointed two City Commissioners who were already on the ballot in the coming election, taking the decision away from the voters. I feel the voters should decide. I have a track record in the private sector as someone who started his own business six years ago and now employs 16 people. I believe The City must do better if we are to compete for job creation and development, and that I can lead that progress.
I have been the City Commission liaison to both the Economic Development Corporation and the Downtown Development Authority for 12 years, and I say the biggest opportunities for immediate growth lie with projects that are already underway. I am a firm believer in “economic gardening,” an entrepreneurial approach that seeks to grow the local economy from within, like I have at Soo Brewing Company. LSSU and War Memorial as well as Precision Edge, R&B, Hoover and other local manufacturers are our best bet because they are already so heavily invested in the community. The next frontier is the waterfront. The Federal Government controls most of it, but we need to take what’s left and craft a plan for a working waterfront, since there seems to be a clear need, and incorporate mixed-use development and public/recreation use, because those quality-of-life amenities are part of what keeps people here. The challenge: getting people to "buy into" progress. The answer: Look in the mirror.
The Claremont Trucking Building has been largely unused for decades. Every study we’ve seen says the key to a revitalized downtown lies with increased population density. The Woda Group has a good track record with developments as close as Menominee and in many other states. Much of The Soo’s working class will qualify for this affordable housing. A lot of people were excited when Meijer opened, but how much do those employees earn and where are they supposed to live? Osborn Commons means $12.8 million in development. If someone wants to spend $12.8 million on market-rate housing, I’m 100% for it, but because there’s not, we have to admit there is no shortage of development opportunities in this town. It’s not up to the government to tell developers what their target market should be, because it’s THEIR money. We either say “yes” to development, or we don’t. Parking will be more difficult in that area, but that’s not a problem that can’t be overcome.
I consider myself the best candidate for Mayor of the city of Sault Ste. Marie, I have been the longest serving Mayor (since 2001) of this fine community. I've lead the commission in a positive, forthright, honest, courteous and transparent manner providing the kind of leadership that builds on consensus and problem solving. I have the experience, proven performance and home town values that represent this great community. As Mayor, I supported the expansion of War Memorial Hospital, the Lake Superior State University Sim Center, the Lake Superior State University Center for Fresh Water Research and Education (CFRE). Member of the management team which developed Sewell Avery Community Action Center and Avery Square, and many more projects. I'm a Lake Superior State University Graduate, served in the Army National Guard, American Legion Post #3 member, Unity Way past Board Member for 30 years, past school board member and other various boards and organizations. I ask for your vote
I believe the greatest economic opportunity is the development and building of the new Sault Lock! This would bring tremendous economic stimuli to the community. A second super lock would grow housing, transportation, retail and grocery, material handling and aggregate volume to name a few. Another opportunity is the continued development of the EDC, manufacturing and industrial base, Smart Zone development, and to assist in growing wealth in our community. The CVB, Sault Events, DDA, Chamber of Commerce all working together to bring tourist to the area and providing more jobs. The Redevelopment Ready Community Program Certification, which supports the community revitalization and the attraction and retention of business, entrepreneurs and talent. Michigan Main Street Development - Select Level activities.

Some challenges we may have would be additional business owners participation in the Façade Restoration Program and to provide more youth activities in our area.
The WODA Developments "Osborn Commen" Project of "Affordable Housing" in the Maloney Alley area would be beneficial to our community. This project of retail and residential spaces will transform a blighted area of over 30 years. The project will pay a "Pilot" (Payment in lieu of taxes) and an additional $15,000/yr. Municipal Services Agreement to the city. This is low to moderate income housing development funded by MSHDA (Michigan State Housing Development Authority). These projects exist throughout Michigan, and are vital to strengthen the housing stock in the communities where they exist! I voted no initially on this project. The company had committed to building 7 "Market Rate" units as part of this development,. They were not able to keep this commitment and only provided 2 market units. I felt it was very important to send a message to the WODA Group that "Market Rate" Unit Housing is also important to our community. SInce, three developer groups have shown interest.
I consider myself the best candidate for the position of Mayor of Sault Ste. Marie because, while I am the owner of a small business that has been rooted in the Soo for over 25 years, my business does not run with the need for a continuous local client base or steady stream of patrons like a store or bar/restaurant. Thant being said, I hold no loyalty or allegiance to any other individual or business. This gives me the ability to really affect positive change and bring new ideas that will benefit the community as a whole without the worry of losing clients or sources of revenue. I am not a Republican nor am I a Democrat. I am an Independent and an individual. I do not believe in the two party system of government because, in my opinion, all that does is separate us into two opposing groups that are not in the mindset to make things better for everyone. The world, this community, and all of life are not black and white. We live in a great big gray area and this is where I thrive.
Two great opportunities that we have are the miles and miles of beautiful waterfront that hold endless possibilities and we are the third oldest city in the country. Our tourism should be built around those things, similar to other areas that boast a proud heritage. As for challenges of economic development I see the hindrance of a mentality of “this we’ve how we’ve always done it” and the inherent resistance to change as major contributing factors of the stunted growth of our city. Another challenge that I have noticed has to do with the landlords, business owners, and homeowners who refuse to have pride in what they have. There are not any incentives to bring this town up to the quality and beauty that was in the past. Instead of positive incentives or assistance we are threatened with fines and undo enforcement or forced to pay high prices for permits to improve our properties. We need to reinstill a greater sense of personal and communal pride.
Well here’s the thing, my understanding of that housing project is that it is subsidized housing and NOT section 8 housing. This means that there will be some income based apartments but not all of them. The fact of the matter is that we live in an impoverished community with a huge need for income based housing or quality rentals in general. With the property being right downtown affords those with transportation issues better access to the downtown area. This could be a good thing for some of the shops, Post Office, laundromat, etc. and the unit itself will bring revenue through taxes and utility use at a minimum. However, if the property is mismanaged and turned into a slum then that would be a very bad thing. This can only be avoided with positive oversight and early enforcement. Unfortunately, only time will tell what the future holds. If I remember correctly, the West Pier Apartment project was also met with a level of uncertainty.

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