Ovid Township Supervisor, 4-year term

Ovid Township Supervisor, 4-year term, vote for 1

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  • Gregory Palen

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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 Ovid, MI
Education Ovid Elsie High School (graduated 1971) University of Michigan (graduated 1975)
Family wife-- Sue children-- Megan, Meredith, Brock grandchildren-- three boys
Professional Experience Mich Livestock Service, Inc (partner 1978, owner 2015) aAa/Weeks Breeding Guide (associate since 1994)
Political Experience President, village of Ovid Downtown Development Authority (2001-2015) Supervisor, township of Ovid (since 2012)
In the last four years as ex-officio member of the Board of Directors, have assisted in the stabilization of the Ovid-Middlebury Emergency Services Authority, currently revamping ambulance coverage for our district. Selected new township Assessor, completed a full review of all township parcels for more accurate property tax assessment. Have restored township road maintenance and repair to full expenditure levels.

However, I do not feel I am extraordinarily qualified for this office, merely brought a lifetime of farm business experience and an attitude that Board meetings should be inviting to resident participation to our township government.
At the local level, state sales tax revenue sharing is what drives local townships' ability to restore local roads. County road commissions proactively seek changes to the state road tax funding structure and we appreciate their cost sharing on local road construction.

At the state level we need to get past "politics as usual" which will collect a tax for roads and then divide up huge pieces of it for special interest groups that ultimately reduce what can be applied to roads. Voters are willing to pay the cost of road and bridge restoration, and the fuel tax on road users is equitable for road maintenance. The legislature has to honor voter desires for this to be dedicated solely.
Townships are the basic building block from which all other government levels are based. Our purposes and responsibilities are clearly defined and we have decades of experience at fulfilling those at statutory levels of taxation. State sales tax revenue sharing is thus dedicated to infrastructure maintenance.

Voting residents of specific townships may have specific goals beyond what is required of townships. The mechanism for achieving those goals is to place your initiative on the ballot and let voters agree.
The various local forms of government need to be more proactive in challenging the encroachment of state government into local freedoms. Townships depend on Michigan Townships Association and dialogues with local legislators to state the case for local decision making and local responsibility.

The states as a group need to then focus their efforts on reigning in an out of control federal bureaucracy that has gone beyond its original federal purposes to dictate regulation and added overhead expense to state and local government and as a result hamper the economy in its need to grow, while proscribing the freedoms and individual initiative of the citizen.

Reformulating our emergency services so that our current levels of service are sustainable while possible improvements can then be implemented.

Establish a positive working relationship between the new City of Ovid and the remaining Township of Ovid from which it came in November 2015.

Insure timely retirement of the debt on our Township Hall, built in 2007, and insure its maintenance as a long term asset for the community..
We live in a frugally managed county that has avoided spending beyond our collective means. This also represents the style of management of the townships cities and villages within our county-- most county commissioners having done service with township or city boards first. The county is open to needs of the townships but waits for their signal that help may be needed, thus nobody "gets their cart ahead of the horse", so to speak. Insisting on funding the most basic systems first, being cautious with new initiatives and avoiding duplications of effort across layers of government is the best way to manage limited tax revenues.
As a rural township, our focus is on roads, sheriff's department access, fire and ambulance coverage, and fair property assessment.

In our neighboring city, you have more services available which township residents generally do not seek.
Our township hall has not been staffed to a level that would encourage daily access. We are seeking to use internet and other communication technologies to maintain accessibility to township officials without an added secretarial and receptionist burden.

The key to success of this is to elect officials who are concerned they be accessible to real needs of our residents and taxpayers.
My wife and I have remained married for forty years, so there are no alimony obligations. My children are all grown adults and self-supporting taxpayers so there are no child support obligations. We pay all tax obligations within the initial "penalty free" periods to avoid complications.

Our choice of careers may not have enriched us monetarily but we could always pay our bills and we did the best we knew how to insure our children did not start their adult lives with student debt and unrealistic goals.

It is not how much you make, it is the choices you make in spending that determine whether you can be a responsible citizen in fulfilling the social obligations represented by taxation.