2018 Voter’s guide pt. 2

Editor’s note: Earlier this month, The Citizen e-mailed questions to candidates in Atlas, Brandon and Groveland townships.
Candidates were limited to 30 word responses. Incumbents (I), Republican (R), Democrat (D), No party affiliation (NPA) and Green Party (GP).
Ortonville Village Council President (choose one)
Name: Coleen Skornicka (NPA)
Age: No answer
Years in village: 26
Number of village meetings attended in last year: 11 council, 31 other
Education: Business Management, Project Implementation, Marketing
Occupation: Retired, manager in government programs, currently operate my own corporate businesses
Would you support a village sewer project? No, our residents do not support a sewer initiative or want higher taxes..
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? The DDA drives business improvement initiatives. I’d review its information and base my decision on the potential for success.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? I believe transparency already exists. Records are available online, OTV or at the office. Others, a FOIA request is processed according to federal procedures. Meetings from all public entities should be recorded and available.
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Name: Tonja Brice (NPA)Tonja Brice.BWjpg
Age: 45
Years in village: 23 in the community, 18 as a village employee, 7 as a resident
Number of village meetings attended in last year: 12 regular meetings, 42 meetings total.
Education: Library Tech AS, Integrated BS with concentration in Education, Psychology and Criminal Justice, and currently earning a BS in Psychology.
Occupation: Academic Resource Assistant, Village Council Trustee, Election Inspector Chair, Planning Commission member, Homebound Teacher, and Church Secretary. My passion is service to others.
Would you support a village sewer project? Yes, a business funded sewer project for the business district, allowing the businesses to enhance their own sustainability, with the condition that there is zero cost for the residents for the project.
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? Dialog, plan and implement with the DDA, current and prospective business owners, as they navigate the challenges of our current infrastructure. Pursue county and state resources for attracting best fit businesses.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? By sharing timely Village video, agendas, minutes, and reports from meetings on multiple media platforms. Sharing the Master and Capital Improvement Plans with prioritized long term goals and paths to obtain them.
Ortonville Village Council 4-year term (choose three)
Name: Larry Hayden (NPA)hayden_pic_2018.jpgBW
Age: 59
Years in village: 30
Number of village meetings attended in last year: 3-4 Council meetings; also a current member of Planning Commission
Education: BS in Information Technology
Occupation: IT Systems Analyst
Would you support a village sewer project? Citizens do not want an expensive village wide system, but failing septic systems are a health concern. My support would depend on cost, funding, design, and area of village served.
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? Collaborate with the DDA and Mainstreet to identify and develop business opportunities that are viable with the current downtown conditions. Support initiatives by the business community for downtown improvements.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? Ensure all public records are archived in electronic format, and make all appropriate public records available through our Village Internet site.
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Name: James A. Webb (NPA)James Webb.epsBWW
Age: 81
Years in village: 34
Number of village meetings attended in last year: no answer
Education: no answer
Occupation: retired police officer
Would you support a village sewer project? I am not in favor of a village sewer system because of cost, smell and previously proposed grinder-type system
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? The business community should make proposals to the village council.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? Transparency should be a given, but a monthly newsletter would help to keep residents informed, especially on costly issues and proposals
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Name: Pat George (NPA)Pat G Photo.jpgbw
Age: 69 yrs young.
Years in the Village: 25 yrs currently in the village, plus 10 yrs on Bald Eagle Lake.
Number of meetings attended in past year: None, but if elected, I’ll be a regular attendee. I have attended meetings in the past on issues that interest me.
Education: Michigan State – Masters in Secondary Education plus BA in Business & Finance.
Occupation: Teacher, Brandon High School 28 ½ years – taught Business & Computer classes. I retired in June of 2015.
Would you support a village sewer project? No, but I do support our citizens in maintaining their existing septic systems on a regular basis.
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? Improve our neighborhoods: 1) Clean up our air quality – it stinks! 2) Enforce village speed limits. 3) Contract with one full service trash hauler, instead of having six.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? List important council agenda items in the Citizen newspaper’s Brief section in advance of the next meeting date, so that all residents are informed beforehand.
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Name: Anthony Graybill (NPA)Anthony Graybill.jpgBWW
Age: 35
Years in village: 3
Number of village meeting attended in last year: 0
Education: College classes for business management, no degree yet. Certifications and licences for fire fighting and paramedic.
Occupation: Firefighter/paramedic at Oxford fire department.
Would you support a village sewer project? Looking to the future, I do support the possibility of a water and sewer system for the village.
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? I believe that improved infrastructure would help to bring business, as well as make the village a more desirable residential location, which could help to keep and attract local commerce.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? Along with the FOIA request form that is available on the website, a frequently asked questions page could help to improve transparency for common inquiries.
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Name: Ana Cole (NPA)Ana Cole.jpgBWW
Age: 39
Years in village: Less than one. I recently moved to Ortonville this past May to live closer to my sister.
Number of village meetings attended in last year: I attended my first in September; I also have watched some on YouTube.
Education: I attended Oakland Community College; concentrating on a degree in Landscape Horticulture.
Occupation: I am a grounds keeper and horticulture maintenance manager.
Would you support a village sewer project? As of today, I am too under informed on our sewer issues to establish an educated opinion on this matter.
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? I would like to bring in revenue with specialty businesses that are locally owned/operated, recreational attractions and festivities.
How would you improve transparency for all village records? I would like to see that all records were easily accessible and comprehensible to the residents via the village office and their website.
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Name: Mark A. Robinson (NPA) (I)Mark Robinson.jpgBWW
Age: 58
Years in village: 29
Number of village meetings attended in last year: Approximately 12
Education: College & specialized engineering training
Occupation: Continuous Improvement Specialist / Engineer in the Aerospace Fastener Industry; US Army veteran
Would you support a village sewer project? No
What would you do to improve business in the downtown area? We have the DDA to work with new business and currently several of the businesses are doing very well! This is only a portion of what I am focused on in the Village.
I have supported the following in the past year: Street repaving, sidewalk repairs, new street lighting, radar speed signs and my suggestion that is in the final stage, which is skirting around dumpsters.
How would you improve transparency for all village records?
We have recorded meetings & minutes available online and available from OTV. Earlier this year I had suggested that OTV also included recording meetings from Planning Commission and DDA.
Brandon Township Trustee (choose one)
Name: Jayson W. Rumball. (R)Jayson Rumball.jpgBWW
Age: 40
Years in Township: 37
Number of Townships meetings attended in last year: I have attended several meetings in the past year. I have attend well over 100 meetings, workshops and sub committee meetings since 2012.
Education: Bachelor of Arts – Olivet College (Business Administration/Risk Management) and Juris Doctor – Thomas M. Cooley Law School (Business Transactions).
Occupation: Owner/Partner at Rumball & Wojtkowicz, PLC – Business/Estate Planning Attorney with office in Ortonville. I’m also the Brandon HS Golf Coach.
Would you consider a township sewer district for businesses and lakeside property owners? Please explain plan. Yes. I would listen to and explore any sewer opportunities presented for lake property/business owners (if they choose to pursue it). Utilization of sewers on M15 could greatly increase our tax base and provide employment opportunities.
What would you do to improve and attract new business in the area? As trustee, I would work with the planning and zoning commissions and any business owners (Not Box Stores) interested in Brandon Township/Ortonville as a home, to see what we could do to help them in choosing our community. I recently (June) moved my Law Practice to Ortonville, so I know very well how important planning and zoning issues can be, in a business decision to move to a community.
What would you do to attract new residents to the township? I would be a great community steward between Brandon Township, Village of Ortonville, DDA, Fire/Police Departments and many of our social clubs to all work together to make the best Brandon we can be. I am currently a BGYA Board Member, President of the Ortonville Lions and a Master Mason at Ortonville Masonic Lodge #339 F&AM. When we all work together toward common goals, our community is ultimately more attractive to potential new residents.
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Name: Marisa L. Prince (D)Marisa Prince.jpgBWW
Age: 41
Years in township : 4
Number of Township meetings attended in last year: 9 in-person, all via OTV / YouTube
Education: BS Engineering, Georgia Institute of Technology MBA, Wayne State University
Occupation: Former Automotive Quality Manager, Current Loving Mother of 3, Future Brandon Trustee / Public Servant
Would you consider a township sewer district for businesses and lakeside property owners? Please explain plan. Yes, I consider this to be very important for Brandon. The current lack of sewers adversely affects our schools and businesses, and it stifles our community. We needs leaders who can think like engineers and are forward thinking for this project – like myself.
What would you do to improve and attract new business in the area? The Master Plan limits big box retail development, but we can support smaller retail and dining in Brandon Township. Many people travel from S. Oakland to visit Berry Farms here and cut their Christmas Tree each year. Many residents would like small town comforts such as fast casual fresh dining and a coffee shop.
What would you do to attract new residents to the township? Many families move to our community because they are craving more space, peace, safety, privacy, and they want a place to raise their children. We are an attractive area for families choosing all methods of schooling. We can tweak our website and signage, we can improve walkability.
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Brandon School Board (choose three)
Name: Sarah Leoni (NPA)Sarah Leoni.jpgBWW
Age: 42
Years in district? Do you have children in the district? 7 and yes I have two children in elementary school
Number of school board meetings attended in last year: As a busy mother I have only been to 4 board meetings but I watch them on YouTube and review the minutes online.
Education: BA in Physics
Occupation: Yoga Instructor
What would you do to attract new students to the district? We can attract more students by offering more competitive and unique opportunities to students, i.e. electives and extra curricular activity.
How would you improve the educational climate in the district? It’s time to review common core math and evaluate standardized testing.
What are the top three issues facing the district in the next six years? The top three issues facing our district are declining enrollment, attracting and keeping great teachers and staying fiscally responsible.
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Name: Bob Eisiminger(NPA) (I)Bob Eisiminger.jpgBWW
Age: no answer
Years in district? Do you have children in the district? no answer
Number of school board meetings attended in last year: Vce president of Barndon School board
Education: no answer
Occupation: no answer
What would you do to attract new students to the district? My focus will continue to be on keeping Brandon kids in Brandon. We do this by doing a great job every day and continuing to invest in our kids.
How would you improve the educational climate in the district? Trusting teachers, recruiting and retaining the best staff and working together are all essential. I learned in 4 decades of teaching and coaching that we need TEAMWORK, TEAMWORK, & TEAMWORK!!!
What are the top three issues facing the district in the next six years? Recruiting & retaining the BEST TEACHERS, being RESPONSIBLE STEWARDS of taxpayer dollars and continuing to IMPROVE THE STUDENT EXPERIENCE in Brandon. Our best still lies ahead of us.
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Name: Susan Tower (NPA)Susan Tower.jpgBWW
Age: 50
Years in district? Do you have children in the district? Moved into the district in 2016. I have 3 boys that have been in the district since they started kindergarten. Lucas is 14, at the BHS. Will is 12, at BMS. Liam is 10, at HSE.
Number of school board meetings attended in last year: Physically attended 2 meetings, review all meetings online.
Education: I have a degree in Law Enforcement
Occupation: Licensed Paraplanner for a Private Wealth Advisor with Ameriprise Financial. Been with the company for 16 years.
What would you do to attract new students to the district? Work with township to drive construction for affordable housing for younger families. Encourage school of choice with mandatory attendance on count days.
How would you improve the educational climate in the district? Increase elective choices to gear towards vocational careers, start languages at younger ages, increase physical activity in the middle school and elementary schools. I would like to explore partnering with local unions for skilled trades and have mentoring and apprenticeships set up for recommended graduates.
What are the top three issues facing the district in the next six years? Enrollment, infrastructure, budget.
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Name: Sarah Allen (NPA)Sarah Allen.jpgBWW
Age: 37
Years in district? Do you have children in the district? 8 years in the district with 2 children attending Oakwood Elementary
Number of school board meetings attended in last year: I have attended all recent meetings with a total of 11 meetings and special meetings and all missed meeting minutes have been read and reviewed.
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration, Associate in Business Management, Associate in General Business
Occupation: Bookkeeper for construction companies and I work on a local flower farm; past experience as an Office Manager in the construction industry
What would you do to attract new students to the district? We need a strong public relations and advertising campaign to show the unique quality of amazing families we have in this town who support each other. Brandon is about families!
How would you improve the educational climate in the district? I would foster relationships between parents, students, staff, and community groups to ensure positive student school experiences and support for student success.
What are the top three issues facing the district in the next six years? Competitive teacher wages which are currently the lowest in the area, unifying the community, and focusing on maintaining and increasing enrollment which affects our financial stability
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Name: Diane Salter (NPA) (I)Diane Salter.jpgBW
Age: 58 years
Years in the District? Do you have children in the district?: Over 22 years. I love it here! I have been involved in our schools since 2000. Whether room mom, on the PTA/PTO or participating in school activities and committees. Two children that graduated in 2014 & 2015. Son, Jacob is in the nursing program at Grand Valley. Daughter, Ella is in the PharmD program at University of Toledo.
Number of school board meetings attended in the last year: Over 25 Board meetings and workshops in the last year. Attending our meetings is important, necessary and invaluable as we work to best serve our students, district and community.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Michigan State University, MCOLES certified law enforcement officer. I am assigned complex, extensive investigations involving serious allegations and crimes that require continual training.
Occupation: Currently a Special Agent with 36 years in Law Enforcement. I have experience as a criminal investigator, command sergeant and training officer. I have also worked criminal intelligence and narcotics.
What would you do to attract new students to the district: Our focus should be on retaining Brandon School District residents. We need to keep our focus on learning. Student and teacher achievements build, keep and attract students to our district.
How would you improve the educational climate in the district: Keep money in classrooms. Support our teachers who strive to educate, highlight and encourage student achievements. District visibility, active listening, transparency and board connections to community/staff improve our schools.
What are the top three issues facing the district in the next six years: Student learning, safety and fiscal responsibility.
Our students must learn. Teachers must be able to teach. Our schools must be safe and secure. We must be conscientious stewards of taxpayers’ money.
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Name: Melissa Clark (NPA)Melissa Clark.jpgBWW
Age: 37
Years in district? Do you have children in the district? 4 ½ years
Number of school board meetings attended in last year: 1. However, I do read the unofficial minutes so stay apprised of what is going on.
Education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Northwood University
Occupation: Firm Administrator.
What would you do to attract new students to the district? Showcasing and marketing our school district. Emphasis that we are a community; a family; a team. For us, Brandon beat out districts like Utica and Romeo. That community feel made the difference.
How would you improve the educational climate in the district? Communicating with our educators with where they stand; what they need. Our job on the board is to make sure our district’s staff is getting the resources and tools they need to teach our future. Plain and simple.
What are the top three issues facing the district in the next six years? Retention of our Educators and Staff; Positive Budgeting; District Growth