County Commissioner (Ingham County / 1st District) - 2 Year Term - Vote For Not More Than 1

County Commissioner (Ingham County / 1st District) - 2 Year Term - Vote For Not More Than 1

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  • Louis Cascarelli

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    Victor G. Celentino

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Biographical Information

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

Should the county spend more on parks? Yes or no, please explain.

Is the quality of county roads acceptable? Yes or no, please explain.

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 county government? Yes or no, please explain.

To promote efficiency and lower costs should the role of county government expand and the role of city and township government shrink? Yes or no, please explain.

Related to government structure, what would you change?

What are the three most important issues facing the county 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 county residents? Yes or no, please explain.

What county services do you consider most vital?

What county 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.

The county now levies seven special millages for issues such as healthcare, juvenile services, the zoo and parks and trails. A new millage is proposed for animal control services, and discussions are underway for a new jail, which could result in a millage. What is your position on the taxation level for services in Ingham County? Which millages would you propose eliminating? Would you support new millages, and if so, for what services?

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Hometown Lansing Township
Education Associate Degree; LCC 1987: Bachelor Degree; Olivet College 1991: Master Degree; Western Michigan University 1998. Diploma; Waverly High School 1984.
Family Single; 3 nephews; Phillip Celentino; James Roath; Andrew Roath. father Arthur Celentino; brothers Art (Amy) Celentino; Richard Celentino. sister Cindy (Jim) Roath.
Professional Experience Special Education Teacher; Lansing K-8 STEM Academy (former Dwight Rich Middle School) Lansing School District, Assistant Voter Registration Clerk, Lansing Township 1989-1991.
Political Experience Ingham County Commissioner District 1 (2001-present). Lansing Township Trustee (1992-2000); Precinct Delegate; Ingham County Democratic Party (1984-present). Member: NAACP; Italian American Club of Lansing; Former member, Lansing Twp. Westside Water Committee; Member; Ingham County Law & Courts and County Services Committee. Member; Capital Region International Airport Authority Board. Member; St. Gerard Catholic Church.
Campaign Website
I am completing my 16th year on the Board representing District 1. During my tenure I have served in many leadership positions. Presently serving on the County Services and Law & Courts Committees. I served as Chair of the Board of Commissioners in 2004, 2006, 2014. My extensive experience has given me the ability to develop sound public policy and set the level of services for our residents. Whether it's been working hard to increase airline usage, arrival of American Airlines, or involved in regional projects like Potter Park Zoo and 911 Dispatch centers has demonstrated my leadership skills to get things accomplished. I want to continue representing the citizens of district 1.
Ingham County citizens passed a trails/parks millage in 2014. The Ingham County Board of Commissioners developed a procedure for the disbursement of funds for our Countywide trail system. This summer I supported the resolution which authorized approximately one million dollars for the maintenance of our trail system, which includes East Lansing, Meridian Township and the City of Lansing (Lansing River Trail). I also supported the expenditure of $541,000 for identified projects for our County Parks (Hawk Island, Burchfield, Lake Lansing).
The quality of County roads can always be improved. As a Commissioner which represents District 1, I was instrumental in the resurfacing of Waverly Road in 2006. Due to many factors, weather being one, Michigan roads, including Waverly, are always in need of maintenance and resurfacing. According to the Ingham County Road Department, portions of Waverly Road should be resurfaced again in 2019. Many secondary roads are in great need of repair/resurfacing. I support the County's role to partner with our local communities within our jurisdiction to offer 50/50 funding match when maintaining the secondary streets.
I believe the state legislature has a responsibility to focus on this issue and pass a comprehensive policy on funding our roads. WIthout the legislature addressing this issue, local governments are being forced to address this without the assistance of our state government. Many local units of governments have passed road/sidewalk millages (for example Meridian Township and Lansing Township) in order to address the deteriorating roads. I support their efforts. I supported the road/sidewalk millage in the community I reside in, Lansing Township.
The structure of county government seems to meet the needs of our citizens. The Ingham County Board of Commissioners just underwent a strategic planning study which identifies the different needs and goals of county government and which goals are a priority for Ingham County. Ingham County does not operate under a County Executive form of government. The Controller/Administrator is appointed by the Board of Commissioners. The legislative and executive branch of the county is governed by an elected Board of Commissioners (14). The Controller/Administrator oversees the daily departmental operations of Ingham County. The position is accountable to the Board of Commissioners.
In order to promote efficient and lower costs, I am a proponent of regionalism. Instead of looking at shrinking/expanding the size of our cities or townships, I support regional cooperation between our local units of governments to enable us to effectively work together when providing essential services for our citizens. Ingham County has participated in regionalizing different services. The services Ingham County has successfully participated in include the regionalization of Potter Park Zoo, the 911 Dispatch Centers, and most recently the trail system within our county.
I believe the current structure in place does a fairly decent job of meeting the governmental needs of our citizens. We can always identify ways to increase the efficiency of delivering services and providing constituent services. One area that could be reviewed for county structural purposes is the number of years in a term for County Commissioners. Having the legislature look at four year terms instead of two year terms would match the other elected offices (Countywide offices have four year terms).
Developing the 2017 budget. Developing a balanced budget while continuing to provide our citizens with efficient services. The review of the Jail and District Court renovation study. Working with all stakeholders when making the best decision for our Jail/District Court. Continue to implement the Ingham County trails/parks millage. Working with other municipalities as we move forward with the process of maintenance/expansion of our trails and the enhancement of our County parks. I will continue to be a proponent of regional cooperation between local units of government to encourage working together to efficiently provide essential services for our citizens.
A majority of Ingham County's revenues are based on property tax and state revenue sharing. Ingham County has a 2016 operating budget of $221,650,988, of that amount the County's General Fund budget is $81,415,592 which supports the level of service we provide the citizens of Ingham County and also the funding of our departments. As we approach the 2017 general operating budget with a deficit, the County must maintain the level of service we provide before we can assume a larger role alone. I would support cooperation between local units of government working together to effectively provide services on a regional level, for example the successful Potter Park Zoo regionalization.
I believe human services programs are vital county services. Programs which affect health care for our citizens along with affecting our youth and senior citizens are considered crucial when addressing the needs of our citizens of Ingham County.
When looking at lowering expenses or making prudent cuts when balancing the general operating budget, each department's requests are reviewed. The level of services for discretionary programs should be reviewed first. Some requests (capital improvements, personnel, etc.) may not be as vital for that particular department at this time, and therefore could be denied funding. In the past, all departments have taken their share of cuts.
Ingham County's general operating millage is 6.3512. This millage is set by the Board of Commissioners and has remained the same. Our special millages are only adopted by the vote of our citizens. These millages support the programs which address the issues our citizens support. I will continue to effectively utilize the taxpayers' money and to keep the operating millage at the current rate. I am also in favor of reviewing the effectiveness of the special millages (for example the farmland preservation .14 millage). After the review of the health care millage, I supported reducing the millage to match the revenue needed for the program.