Candidate Profile: Marjorie Banner Seeks Northville Township Treasurer Seat
Who do you plan to back in the election?
Here's the first in our series of our profiles of the candidates for Northville Township treasurer.
In our Q&A profiles, we asked the same questions of each candidate. There are two Republicans running for the seat in the Aug. 7 primary - Marjorie Banner and Karen Woodside.
Below are Banner's replies. She seeks to replace Richard Henningsen, who is not seeking re-election. The winner of the primary will also win the November general election, as there is no Democratic challenger. To view our interviews with the candidates for supervisor, see our previous story.
Q: Name and profession
Marjorie F. Banner, legal writer/journalist/paralegal. Self-employed for 24 years as a contractor for JAS Publications, now ALM, an integrated media company providing specialized business news, primarily legal and commercial real estate.
Q: Number of years a resident of Northville Township?
Q: Educational and/or military background?
B.S. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Post-graduate certification, Long Island University, Long Island, NY
Q: Why are you running for office?
I feel an obligation to give back to my community. Northville is a municipal gem in southern Michigan and I want it to remain that way, aesthetically and financially. The Township has managed a stable financial course over several rocky economic years. I believe continuity on the board is necessary to stay that course, and I offer that stability and leadership. We need to continue responsible financial projections, 5, 10, and 20 years into the future, provide our residents with the best in services, and seek growth opportunities – primarily technology or light industrial – to provide a broader tax base for this community.
Q: What are the biggest issues facing the township that you hope to address? What are its biggest successes that you hope to continue?
The economy has been the biggest issue to face not only Northville Township, but the state and nation, as well. We are not out of the economic rut and will continue to face difficult decisions in the next few years, specifically as it relates to our millages which expire in 2013 for public safety, shared services, and our general operating funds. Public safety is using up its fund balance and changes will need to be made to address that issue. My goal is to keep services high as our residents expect no less, and do it for the most reasonable costs possible. Certainly the clean-up of our Seven Mile Property as well as some forward movement in maintaining and developing the park is necessary, as is the decision about whether or not to purchase Scott Correctional Facility. We must look to develop the Five Mile Road corridor, and make use of the partnerships with Plymouth Township and Wayne County for that endeavor. Another major issue will be what to do with deteriorating roadways. Even though they are the responsibility of Wayne County, we cannot let our infrastructure crumble underneath us, and need to begin some planning and/or advocating in that area.
I consider the fact that Northville Township is one of the best places to live in the metropolitan area to be its biggest success. That success encompasses our planning, zoning, fiscal stability, our public safety/services, shared services commitments, hardworking commissions, outstanding public schools, and our community’s ability to think and plan ahead, specifically in regard to our purchase of the Seven Mile Property and its potential for keeping Northville Township “on the map” of most desirable places to live. This community required elected officials who are responsible and responsive, dedicated, experienced and capable. I believe I have those qualities.
Q: We've reported quite a bit on developments at the Seven Mile property, the former psychiatric hospital, and at the Robert Scott Correctional Facility. What do you hope to see done with the Seven Mile Property and Robert Scott Correctional Facility?
The Seven Mile Property is in its initial phases of clean-up. The power house and maintenance buildings will be taken down this summer due to a $200,000 EPA grant. Clean-up is a must. We have entered into a contract to maintain the frontage of the property and the University of Michigan’s commitment to build a new medical facility on the commercial portion of the property begins a new phase in which we can capture tax revenue to begin the demolition of the main buildings. It will not be done overnight, but there is light at the end of that tunnel. After that, a well-thought-out, phased development, with long-term operational and maintenance planning with public input should follow.
As for the Scott Correctional Facility, Northville Township is in the process of doing its due diligence regarding its possible purchase. It is the last of the institutions which have dominated our landscape and compromised our tax base. It would be irresponsible to say that the Township should buy the site before we know the ramifications for doing so – whether it can be renovated, torn down, what the salvage opportunities are, or what the property is worth. If the financial figures are favorable, I want the Township to buy the site, rather than allow Wayne County that opportunity, or the state to sell/auction if off as it did the Seven Mile Property. If the Township purchases the former prison, it will retain control over zoning and what will eventually be placed on the property. It should be a taxable entity compatible with Community Park which surrounds it on the west and north, and our technology park and residences to the east.
Q: Anything else you would like to briefly add?
If I am the next township treasurer, it will be necessary to create a greater presence for Northville Township at the state level, ward off unfunded state mandates which deplete our local funds, seek a boost in our bond rating from “AA” to “AAA,” provide transparency in the use of your tax money, continue to seek anti-annexation legislation, and maintain the checks and balances mandated in our ordinances for collection and dispersement of taxes collected. In addition to future expectations, I will continue to lead the work of Thayer’s Corner Nature Area, the Historic District Commission, and the drive for long-term development of the Seven Mile Property.
For more election coverage details, see our Northville voter guide.
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