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De Witt Township Trustee, 4-year term

De Witt Township Trustee, 4-year term, vote for 4

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  • Candidate picture

    Johanna Grace Balzer
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    David J. Fedewa
    (Rep)

  • Stephen C. Musselman
    (Rep)

  • Brian Ross
    (Rep)

  • David Seeger
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

What makes you more qualified than other candidates for this office?

Do you support raising taxes as a way to pay for road improvements? Yes or no, please explain.

Are you comfortable with the structure and scope of local government? Yes or no, please explain.

Related to government structure, what would you change?

What are the three most important issues facing the city/township and how would you address them?

As property tax revenue and state aid decline, is it appropriate for the county to assume a larger role in providing services to city/township residents? Yes or no, please explain.

What city services do you consider most vital?

What city/township services are least vital and can be trimmed to lower expenses?

Are you current in all tax, alimony and child support obligations? Yes or no. If no, please explain.

Hometown DeWitt Township
Education Bath Community Schools Lansing Community College - Associate in Arts Michigan State University - B.A. in Social Work
Family Married 46 years to husband Ron, two married daughters and four grandchildren with number five due in Januray
Professional Experience Retired as Associate Director with more than 25 yeas with a non-profit, faith-based international agency. Previously employed with the City of East Lansing and the State of Michigan
Political Experience Elected to the DeWitt Charter Township Board of Trustees in 2012. Currently recording secretary for the Clinton County Democratic Party. Past chair and vice chair of the party.
Serving since 2012 on the township board has given me a wide perspective on the working of local government. Serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals, Election Commission, Corridor Improvement Authority (Business 27), Capital Improvement Plan Committee, new ad hoc Senior Committee, and the Building Stronger Communities Council (a network of Clinton County health and human services agencies) as well as its Steering Committee has given me insight into the needs and wants of our citizens of all ages as well as business owners. I also attend the Clinton County Township Officers Association which gives me insights on how other jurisdictions are addressing issues.
No. DeWitt Township does not have a special millage for roads, and I do not support one. Our staff has applied for and received grants and matches for road work. Regional cooperation with other entities has helped us save tax dollars. Budgeting has been carefully done to provide road fund improvements over the coming years.
Yes. DeWitt Township is ranked among the top places to live in the U.S. There is always room for improvement and new ideas, but overall, we're doing quite well.
Local officials should have more leverage regarding the maintenance of manufactured home developments. A new state law was passed to address this issue, but then altered so it's not much stronger than what we had before.
1. Infrastructure issues - Careful planning and budget development such as what our Capital Improvement Plan attempts to accomplish are pro-active on current and developing needs. I serve on its committee. 2. Balance in development - Growing a local economy while maintaining a neighborhood friendly atmosphere has its challenges. Open meetings where citizens can express their concerns and talk with developers has been helpful. I listen to local people's concerns and attempt to balance what is legal, practical and positive when conflict occurs. 3. Senior housing - we need more housing for active seniors looking for smaller, less maintenance homes. I serve on this ad hoc committee.
No. They have their own budgetary challenges meeting countywide statutory, social, and infrastructure responsibilities.
Public safety is our number one concern. We need to provide adequate funding and public support for our police and fire departments. It is vital that we keep our sewer system in good working order so that we don't have overflows into the Looking Glass River or elsewhere in the township. Southern Clinton County needs to upgrade and keep this system in excellent working order for health and quality of life concerns. We are also working on roads, sidewalks and pathways to keep our citizens safe when walking and driving. Our non-motorized trail system is in the process of giving our residents a safe place to walk for health reasons, shopping, dining, or utilizing local services.
I would be sorry to see any of our programs/services trimmed, especially when we've carefully budgeted to maintain them. We could lower funding to our recreation program, but it would then have to slash programs for our children and youth, which are very popular with our citizens and important for attracting and keeping residents currently and into the future.
Yes. Our taxes are always paid promptly. I have no alimony or child support obligations
Hometown DeWitt
Education D.M.D. Washington University, B.S. Michigan State University
Family Married to Mary Jo Fedewa for 34 years. We have 3 children, Elizabeth, Allison & Brian, all graduates of DeWitt public schools.
Professional Experience I have owned and operated a family dental practice in DeWitt since 1989. I have served on the DeWitt Township fire department since 1992 as a volunteer firefighter, Lieutenant and currently as an auxiliary support staff member.
Political Experience I have never held any elected political office.
I believe that all of the candidates running for a trustee position are well qualified, and some of them have been serving our community for many years. Having said that I believe that I would bring an outsiders view to the board and offer some fresh new perspective. I feel that I have been given a good deal of common sense and that is a commodity in short supply in our governments at all levels.
Yes, our roads are vital to the movement of people and goods and are very important to our life style. Our roads are in need of repair and replacement that no individual persons or businesses can afford to pay for. Therefore, since we are all able to use our public roads then a tax paid by the collective whole to maintain these roads seems to be the best solution. I feel that a sales tax on over the road fuels (both gas and diesel) is the right answer since those that use the fuels the most are likely those that drive the most and thus use the roads the most. It also seems fair to add a tax on electric vehicle charging for those vehicles not buying fuels.
I feel that DeWitt Township's government structure and scope are the right size for our community. Township officials and employees are for the most part able to put a face with a name and be responsive to our citizens.
I feel that the biggest obstacle in our local government is that they are stuck in the rut of "well that's what the book says", and are afraid to think outside the box to find a better solution. I am not sure if that is because they are unwilling or unable to "fix the book" to more accurately reflect the needs of our community.
1. Stagnant tax revenue streams need to be improved by increasing the number of new homes, apartments and condos to attract new citizens to our community. DeWitt Township needs to simplify the procedures for small business owners to develop new businesses within the township. 2. Increasing cost of government. We need to continue to improve and add new cooperative agreements with neighboring communities for services such as police and fire, as well as non public safety services such as DARA, SCCMUA and possibly building inspections. 3. With the ever increasing run volume faced by our fire department it has become increasingly necessary to fund full time firefighter positions.
While in some circumstances a county wide approach makes good sense such as 911 dispatch services, there is just too much of a difference in population densities between many parts of Clinton county that regionalization of services at the county level may not always be the best approach. Each idea needs to be evaluated on its own merit and have the" common sense" test applied to see if it should be pursued.
Without a doubt Police and Fire. When someone is in any kind of trouble, the call to 911 is the lifeline that can sometimes literally save their life. We are so fortunate that we have top tier Police and Fire departments ready by virtue of training and equipment and personel to provide the best in public safety. The citizens of DeWitt township should sleep well knowing that help is only a phone call away at any time.
Our current and past board members have put us in a good financial position, and have worked very hard to provide the best services at the lowest cost, however each line item on each budget should always be evaluated in light of is this something we need or just want. Certainly any item that is not entirely justified in its budget needs to be eliminated. For example, funds used for a substantial number of community pride signs placed throughout the township, and landscaping in the median of business 27, may have been better spent elsewhere.
YES in all tax obligations. I have never had any obligations for either alimony or child support.
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Hometown DeWitt Township
Education B.A. degree from Michigan State University - 1980
Family Married 31 years to my wife Margaret. Three (3) Children: Rachel, Bridget, and Luke
Professional Experience Served 37 years in the water and wastewater profession for both government agencies and private industry.
Political Experience Served 10 years as DeWitt Township Trustee. President of Michigan Water Environment Association. Chair of Clinton County DPW. Chair of MDEQ Board of Examiners. Vice Chair of the Southern Clinton County Utilities Authority Board. Secretary - Next Michigan Develop Corporation (economic development).
I have already served for over 10 years in the position of DeWitt Township Trustee, and have the actual experience of serving the public. I am a good listener. I believe that I have served and will continue to serve the best interests of the residents and businesses of DeWitt Township. I have a long standing practice of conservative fiscal responsibility. I have extensive knowledge and experience in the environmental and utilities profession. I will listen carefully to our residents, weigh all available options, consider prudent alternatives, and ultimately carry out the wishes of the residents and business owners of this great township as I have for the past 10 years.
No. I am not for simply raising taxes to accomplish this work. I believe the Township collects enough taxes from our residents and businesses. I am more about finding alternatives to raising taxes - like bonding for roads - spreading the cost out over time. If we pay for 40-year roads with a 20-year bond issue (at historically low interest rates), we can accomplish substantial road improvements, while preserving our current level of taxing (without an increase). This type of debt is both reasonable & sensible. Yes, fixing roads costs money, but it shouldn't always mean increased taxes. Good roads are necessary for our residents for commuting, travel, emergency services, and commerce.
Yes. Our Township implements only reasonable regulations, without undue burden to our residents or businesses. Our local government does a fantastic job of connecting and communicating with our residents (through the Township newsletter, social media, email blasts, etc...). The "structure" is appropriate. The scope is limited and reasonable. I am comfortable with our current structure and scope.
I would like to continue to streamline the property development process. Our great township staff always works hard to eliminate duplication, to remove obstacles for businesses trying to locate within the Township, while eliminating unnecessary steps and paperwork in the development process. We already do a good job of this, but staff is always looking for simpler, better ways of conducting the business of the Township.
1. Maintaining a strong Police and Fire presence. This is key to a safe community and reason other quality-of-life issues can thrive (providing safe neighborhoods, parks, roadways, and waterways). This will insure the Township continues to be a great place to live, work, recreate, and raise a family! 2. Continuing to maintain a business friendly environment within our Township, but one that is harmonious with the rural and residential nature of our community. This is a good balance. 3. Continuing to improve relationships with other local units of government, sharing resources whenever practical, reducing duplication of services, while saving considerable amount of money (DARA, SCCMUA).
No. Services are always best kept at the most local level possible. The County already does a fine job of providing fiscally responsible services to all County residents. But it makes good sense that DeWitt Township should continue to provide services for our local residents and businesses. Several years ago our property tax revenues did decrease. But through intentionally constrained budgets and prudent spending practices, we have still been able to add modest funding to our reserve levels. Additionally, our Township Manager and his team have worked hard over the past 9 years to find approximately $2,000,000 in grant funding.
- a strong police and fire presence in the Township - continuous improvement in the reliability of our infrastructure - water & sewer systems; roads - continuing investment in economic development in the region, particularly in and around our Airport and in the southern tier of the township. A strong economic base will help insure our future financial stability. - continued strong management of Township's finances - continued sensible use of taxpayer money (to help keep taxes as low as possible).

I honestly cannot think any services that should be trimmed. As a Township we are also constitutionally limited to the types of services we are required to provide. We are a lean organization. If it's not important to our residents - we aren't providing it.
Yes, I'm current with all taxes. I do not pay (nor have I ever paid) alimony or child support.
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