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Columbia Township Supervisor

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  • Robbert M. Elrod

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    Ray T. Kuzminski

Describe your qualifications and experience for this office and explain your reasons for running. How would you be an asset?

Due to our current circumstances, what are the most important challenges facing our community, and how do you propose to address them?

How well is our community meeting the needs of people facing economic challenges and what more needs to be done?

What kinds of policies will you pursue to promote social and racial justice in our community?

What do you see as the most pressing issues with the police and fire departments?

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When I moved here over thirty years ago, I visited Board Meetings to find calamity and arrogance playing out. I later became a Trustee and started to change that. Then after becoming Supervisor (2004 to 2008) it became apparent there were many hidden problems with the Assessing, Fire and Police Departments that I corrected! Numerous media and elected officials approved of my damage control techniques in those difficult times! Since leaving, I have found that the calamity and arrogance has returned. Our residents deserve a better Columbia with transparency and integrity. There have been examples of direction, zoning favoritism & questionable invoicing on the part of leadership that should have never happened. I want to change that. For the most part regular everyday residents don't know how a township works, as I have proven in the past with my communications skills, I have the ability in clear & concise words that our residents can understand. We need better leadership in Columbia.
The Covid Issue has made it our 'Pearl Harbor' of our times. No matter Covid will have an effect for a long time on how we interact with each other as well as with our livelihoods, employment and economics. There appears to be a cavalier attitude by many officials to 'wait and see' what the federal government is going to do for us. There should be an immediate review of Budgets in progress to reduce spending as well as the foresight to do the same with upcoming Budgets. At the time of this writing many retailers, small businesses and manufacturing are shutdown by executive order as well as our education system. We should be developing policies and procedures to allow those to reopen as soon as possible while minimizing the Covid threat. Opening up the economy is the driver for us to return to normalcy. We at the local level do not have the time or the will to see the continued gridlock happening in Lansing. We have to find ways to either eliminate or reduce those hostilities!
While the greater portion of our Columbia residents have transitory employments whether it be in Jackson, Lansing or Ann Arbor, we have to have access to mid-range pay scale employers wanting to make Columbia there base of operations for the remaining residents. Columbia is a benefactor of a high level power grid that is only used four weekends a year! That with the existing infrastructures we already have in place is conducive in encouraging business development in Columbia! With a little reorganization of our zoning we too could have two developmental business parks in Columbia for employment for our residents! One only has to look to nearby Manchester and Tecumseh to see how their business parks coexist with the community. By promoting such economic development it would also increase our taxable base while also bringing in support businesses and retailers. More information on FACEBOOK: Kuzminski for Columbia Supervisor.
Many years ago in Columbia, we had citizens on the Police and Fire Boards. While it became too political, the committees were disbanded. I believe it is time to reconsider such Boards to even include citizens representation on the Township Employee Committee. It is too easy for elected officials to govern by one's opinion and attitude without ever hearing from the residents. I believe by having such representation it would bring another voice to the table to address such topics that department managers might not want to hear. Here in Columbia we are privileged to have many recently retired corporate and business leaders who could contribute their knowledge. While the words 'sensitivity training' may bring up adverse feelings about law enforcement in general, I feel there should be a better understanding of what and why a police department does what it does before the sides are involved in an adverse event. Perhaps we should start such communication with our residents to promote unity.
Back in 2000, I was the Committee Chairperson responsible for the then millage and the spec'ing of a new fleet of fire trucks which replaced ones that were in use since 1976 and should last until 2028. At that time we mandated that the fire department set aside set dollar amount annually for when we need replacements. The setup has worked well so that township taxpayers will not have support another whole fleet replacement millage. FIRE PERSONNEL. In as far as pressing issues, a volunteer department has always been a problem filling those positions with qualified candidates wanting to serve their community. It is a simple fact that people are more mobile now whether it is with their full time employment or moving to a more feasible employment. Furthermore with what we are experiencing with Covid and its limitations, it brings new unexpected training and procedures to tend with. Those unexpected items will have an economic toll. POLICE: (see 'social' box above)