Change Address

VOTE411 Voter Guide

Gladstone City Commission-4 year term {_getChooseLabel(this.selections.length)}

  • Joshua L. Godfrey (Non) Concrete Plant Manager

  • Darin S. Hunter (Non)

  • Ken LaVigne (Non) retired

  • Candidate picture

    Dave Nemacheck (Non) Retired local small business owner and manager

  • Candidate picture

    Joe Thompson (Non) Electrical/Instrumentation Supervisor

  • Candidate picture

    Steven Viau (Non) Small business owner

Change Candidates

Biographical Information

What changes would you make to the city budget to improve the city's financial stability?

What are your suggestions for dealing with the city's underfunded pension plan?

What are your top three (3) infrastructure issues that should be addressed by the city?

What do you think the relationship should be between the City and and Downtown Development Authority?

How would you implement and finance the North Shore Plan?

Campaign Phone (906) 241-4766
Age 33
Biography As a husband and father of two I am looking forward to serving with the same hard work and dedication I have given as a Volunteer Firefighter for the last 14 years and current Training Officer. I'm looking to bring a new generations view to our wonderful city.
Education K-12 Gladstone schools 2 years Bay College EMT Basic/ Fire Schools & Certs
Facebook page
There are many things in the city budget where improvements could be made. A budget committee would be required for a full review of where the most improvements could be made. Some changes that come to mind is the constant repair to the brick road work on main street that could be converted to black top for a longer lasting surface and would cost less in annual repairs. There is also many occasions where private contractors are hired to do jobs in which our already employed city workers, if supplied with the proper tools and training, could do these jobs saving the city of the financial burden in the long term.
One of my suggestions for lowering our city's underfunded pension plan would be looking into a pension lump sum buyout program. The buyout would be a lump sum payment at a reduced rate that would ease the long term commitment to the pension program. Those who take a lump-sum payment would also agree to financial management classes.
I believe the top 3 infrastructure issues that our town faces is our ageing and deteriorating water supply and drainage system, our deteriorating road ways within the city, and our aging and inadequate data and technology services.
The City of Gladstone and the Downtown Development Authority should have a good working relationship. Our goals are one in the same, To make our city more beautiful and attractive for new potential business in our area and to drive more consumers to do business in our town.
The North Shore Plan should be implemented by studying the best potential residential, commercial, and recreational fits for our community. Coming up with the best fits for our residents and visitors to enjoy while attracting new business to bring more commerce and jobs to our beautiful little town. With Gladstone having a proactive plan to attract the right business to the north shore project possible credits and tax incentives for businesses to develop the area and contribute to its beautification and outdoor projects would be one viable option into funding the project.
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Campaign Phone (906) 420-8125
Age 83
Biography American Legion Gladstone Post 71 Elks Lodge 354
Education Gladstone schools Graduate manager training Fort Lee VA manager at Danly
We must look into the budget see if somethings we could do with out. We must think about our citizens They need to know that they are doing what is right for the city Balance the budgets in all department.
People around town think it should come out of general funds or park and recreation. No one working in the city should worried about there pension

My suggestions for dealing with the city pension plan got come from either general funds or cut money from
streets streets streets
. There must be a relationship with the citizens and the DDA We need a partnerships with citizens
Next hearing I will to see what it is about. I miss the first hearing.
Campaign Phone (906) 241-7194
Age 75
Biography Born in Bessemer. Married with 3 daughters. Moved to Gladstone in 1969 to run Northern Motors. Owned and managed Heynssens-Selins for 30 years. 2 years experience on the Gladstone City Commission.
Education BBA and MBA degrees from the Ross School of Business-U of Mich.
Gladstone City finances are limited to the reality that one mill only generates $100,000. That puts the burden on cost savings, the possible use of more volunteers, and petitioning for more grants and donations.

We have started purchasing good, used vehicles for Public Works, and should continue this practice. We should also explore the possibility of combining supply purchases with other cities such as Escanaba. Electric and water rates are competitive, and should remain so.
The city currently has over 5 million dollars in department fund balances. Although these balances are critically important, current and past department managers have assured me that approximately half of that amount could be, if necessary, used to deal with this problem. These balances grow at the rate of over $300,00 a year.
By far our most pressing infrastructure problem is our streets. We should appraise the condition of each street in the city and give property owners a time table as to when necessary improvements will be made. We were told by retiring Electric Dept manager Mr. White, that our electrical system is up to date. Water and sewer improvements should be made when streets are improved. Many sidewalks are turning to gravel, and property owners should be notified to replace them. We should also improve the signing to the campground. Some visitors have difficulty finding it.
The City and DDA must continue to work together to improve and facilitate buildings, streets, sidewalks, and infrastructure within the district. The DDA has the advantage of capturing all of the tax increases, and can apply and receive grants and donations that the city cannot.
The North Shore land is now available for sale and development. The City has done a good job of getting all property owners to agree to sell. This property is now advertised state wide on different web sites, and hopefully a developer will surface soon. I think that the City and potential developers should share the cost of implementing and financing such a project. MSU has done a good job of giving us a model that can be used for development of this land.
Campaign Phone (906) 420-1338
Age 55
Biography Born and raised in Gladstone Michigan Family owned Dick's Star Market Gladstone. College Grad. USAF Veteran 7 years. 30 + years in the Electrical/Electronic profession. Currently employed by Verso Paper.
Education Gladstone Area High School Bay De Noc Comm College Northern Michigan Univer
The city is financially stable with the exception of MERS. There is no stability with MERS because of the very short funding schedule they have forced on us. It is no fault of the city. The current commission and interim city manager Buckman put into place a pension stabilization fund to try and help stabilize the effect of MERS payments on the City’s budget. We also, through contract negotiations, helped to reduce the effects of the OPEB obligations of the City. The only change I would make is to formalize the stabilization plan with a formal policy.
As part of the current commission we and Interim City Manager Buckman have put in place a pension stabalization fund to help with increasing payments to MERS. The pension fund is somewhat volatile in that many factors contribute to its funding level and stability. We have no control over how MERS invests our money or how the stock market will impact our MERS funding level. My suggestion is that we continue with the stabilizatio fund to help level the out the peaks in the year to year payments so that the years where payments reach high levels it doesn't cripple city operations. The more money we can put into the stabalization fund the better but it has to be part of our yearly balanced budget.
As part of the current commission we and Interim City Manager Buckman have put in place a pension stabilization fund to help with the increasing payments to MERS. The pension fund is somewhat volatile in that many factors contribute to its funding level and stability including MERS themselves. We have no control over how MERS invests our money or how the stock market will impact our MERS funding level. My suggestion is that we continue with the stabilization fund to help level out the peaks in the year to year payments so that the years where payments reach high levels it doesn't cripple city operations. We need to have a stable budget from year to year; the budget needs to be stable. The more money we can put into the stabilization fund the better but it has to be part of our yearly balanced budget.
The DDA and the City need to work hand in hand to maximize the benefits to City. Some propose doing away with the DDA. This would be a very costly mistake. The DDA brings a large amount of money into the city that would be lost if the DDA was to be eliminated. The DDA has funded many infrastructure projects that would not have been possible without the money they capture from taxes. I believe the DDA is currently on a good path that is aligned with the best interests of all of us that live in Gladstone. They have been directly responsible for many road projects that most likely would not have been done without their funding. The ACT 51 money the City receives from the State is just not enough to do the needed road projects in Gladstone.
My plan would be to continue on the path already established. The City, working with the DDA, should continue to market the North Shore and seek investors and grants to implement the plan already proposed. Some of that work has already been completed in conjunction with Michigan State University. There are now some good visualization of what the area could look like and a good plan for its use. The next step is to find investors that are interested in a project of like this.
Campaign Phone (906) 241-7494
Age 63
Biography Active member in the following organizations, Sons of the American Legion Gladstone Post #71, Gladstone Little League board member, President of the Delta County Landlord Assoc., UPCAP Resolution Services Mediator, Compliance & Safety Officer of Spotlight Express and Officer of the Delta Coin Club.
Education Escanaba Schools Graduate. Studied at Northern Michigan University & Bay
Long term economic stability is attained through prioritization; it is vital to understand the difference between essential, nice to have, and nonvalue added services. We must employ a strategy that focuses on only investing in services that provide added value to our community. Additionally, we must instill trust and confidence amongst our citizens; this can be accomplished through active listening, feedback and transparency within the community. Furthermore, we must not remain complacent, it is important to seek out new opportunities to combat increased fiscal responsibilities. We must never obligate funds prior to conducting thorough cost benefit analysis, risk assessments, and engaging local community members. Bottom line up front, I will vote based off integrity to the community, which means balancing fiscal obligations with the concerns of our citizens.
(2015-16 audited Pension Liability total $7,230,184.00) As a commission, we must come together collectively to explore potential solutions and develop a mitigation strategy to the city’s underfunded pension plan. We must apply a proactive approach to resolve the situation promptly, if we fail to take corrective actions budgetary constraints will be amplified in the future. Without a doubt, this will require meticulous evaluation of the Michigan Employers Retirement System (MERS) to assess viable options. We must go into discussions with an open mind to potential solutions. History of our pension plan has demonstrated the status quo will not resolve the issues we are faced with. We must serve as a change agent to protect our community, which will require identifying suitable alternatives, assessing current/future legacy costs, determining impacts on operations, and the current capacity of our revenue stream.
1) Streets (Our city has approximately 48 Miles of roadway) It is imperative we maintain our roadways in the most effective and efficient manner to preserve the safety of our citizens. Implementing the Pavement Surface Evaluation and Rating (PASER) system into our operation and maintenance plans will provide much needed insight to tackle current and future street repairs. PASER will provide vital data to make informed decisions on behalf of the entire community. Some key advantages to utilizing the system are as follows: • Generates condition index for all roads within the city (risk matrix) • Enables development 5 year/10 year plans • Tracks previous projects and can be utilized for trend analysis • Easily adaptable to meet city goals

2) City Facilities As Benjamin Franklin once said, “Failing to plan, is planning to fail.” This concept should be applied to every project or process we embark on. However, we must do so by utilizing a S.M.A.R.T, specific, measureable, attainable, realistic and time bound approach. Our Capital Improvements Plan would be one of the primary areas to focus on. Communicate and review this data frequently.

3) Conservation and Preservation (13 city structures) Preventive Maintenance (PM) is an essential component to safeguarding all of our cities infrastructure and equipment. Instituting PM policies will provide a baseline for maintenance and repair actions of our limited critical resources. Standards will establish work prioritization to ensure we are investing financial resource at the most opportune time to maximize the lifespan of facilities and equipment. All too often infrastructure repairs are executed on a just-in-time basis which leads to costly restoration projects and unexpected expenditures. We must take an approach that focuses on needs versus wants, in doing so, the city of Gladstone will reap the benefits of a stable financial plan well into the future.
The relationship between the city and Downtown Development Authority (DDA) must be comprised of common shared goals. Communication between Gladstone’s citizens, Commission and DDA board will be the key to success. The mission and vision of each entity should be known and clearly communicated to establish shared community values. We must collaborate across the spectrum to form partnerships, fulfill priorities, and expectations of our citizens, businesses and tax payers.
As mentioned previously, proper planning is one of the most important factors to executing projects. Prior to making a decision I would evaluate the following factors: • Identify social and economic factors that influence development • Develop a Risk Management Plan to identify, assess, control, and mitigate risks • Establish a working group with community members, shareholders, investors, customers, and owners to solicit input • Create a baseline to assess earned value (EV), planned value (PV), return on investment (RoI), and milestones • Research historical data on similar projects and utilize applicable resources (i.e. Michigan Economic Development Corporation) • Lastly, develop a strategy that consists of “pay as you go” on all future projects to eliminate tax hikes and fees logo


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