The four candidates vying to fill three seats on the Royal Oak City Commission— Sharlan Douglas, Diane Hargan, Jeremy Mahrle and David Poulton — agreed to answer five questions submitted by Patch readers, with Royal Oak Patch choosing the questions.
The City Election is Nov. 5.
Below are the answers to a question from Nate McAlpine, who asked:
"What is the most important thing you would like to accomplish if elected?"
Sharlan Douglas: I think Royal Oak is going in a good direction and a majority of the voters I’ve talked with over the past four months agree. Home sale prices are increasing. Our property tax revenue will grow a little, year after year. The police department will reach its ideal level of staffing. We’ll replace some playground equipment, we’ll rebuild tennis courts. Those incremental improvements won’t necessarily be visible from day to day.
My “accomplishment” will be being part of the commission team that maintains that momentum.
Diane Hargan: I would like to be part of finding a long term solution to our unfunded liabilities. This problem is bankrupting cities across America and until resolved will continue to be a huge financial threat to all of us.
Jeremy Mahrle: As a candidate who is deeply involved in the community, there are a number of important things that I would like to see happen in Royal Oak. A few that come to mind as I write this:
I would like to see a satisfactory development at the I-696 property, the gateway to our city. I would like to see Royal Oak be a partner in the construction of the Michigan World War II Legacy Memorial at Memorial Park so we can better honor our WWII veterans before it is too late. As I mention above, I would like to see the development of our downtown park and the continued implementation of our non-motorized vehicle plan. The tough decision will be surrounding the financial realities of these goals. We must do what we can, with what we have.
We need to our neighborhoods strong and safe, responsibly grow and diversify our downtown, and protect our community assets like the Public Library, the Senior Center, and the Farmers Market. If we do this, I will consider my time as your City Commissioner a success.
David Poulton: My plan is to ensure that Royal Oak is economically self-sufficient for many years to come. It is a priority of mine to maintain a small and modest budget surplus every year, to build on that surplus annually and make it a healthy reality into the future. I do not want taxpayers held in the balance, so they are the only line of recourse when issues of emergency or health and safety arise.
- As our city's demographics continue to change with a smaller and older population (many young families move to outer ring suburbs when the kids show up) what is your 10 year vision for the city? With that vision what are your strategies and tactical ideas to get us there? Click here for answers.
- Royal Oak still has a half dozen outdated and dangerous motels that are havens for parole absconders. Do you have a plan on disposing the remaining? Click here for answers.
- How are you going to address the problems with rats throughout the city? Click here for answers.
- Some citizens, myself included, are concerned that in recent years the City Commission has been majoring in the minors. The dog ordinance, the human rights ordinance, the fence ordinance for examples. What is your opinion on this? Regarding your opinion how does that get implemented in the coming years? Click here for answers.