Candidate Profile: Symantha Heath Seeks Northville Township Board of Trustees Seat
Who do you plan to back in the election?
Today, we continue featuring a series of interviews with the six candidates vying for one of four seats on Northville Township's board of trustees.
Symantha Heath is seeking re-election to the board. She's one of five Republican candidates running in the Aug. 7 primary. In our Q&A profiles, we asked the same questions of each candidate.
Q: Name and profession
Symantha Heath. I have been a practicing attorney since 1994. I am a founding partner of the law firm of Elkouri Heath PLC and I’ve been a business owner for 18 years. During that time I’ve experienced the same financial challenges as a majority of Township residents. While other firms in our area were laying off employees we were able to leverage the use of technology and smart business practices to maintain both our employees’ jobs and a high level of service for our clients. As a result I have the experience necessary to reduce our unnecessary expenditures. I am currently serving my second term as President of the Wayne County Family Law Bar Association, where I have served on the Executive Board for five years and where it has been my goal to make the legal system more accessible to Wayne County families. I am also a member of the Northville Chamber of Commerce and remain committed to being involved in the development decisions that affect our community.
Q: Number of years a resident of Northville Township?
Q: Educational and/or military background?
I have a Bachelor's of Science degree from Western Michigan University and a Juris Doctorate from the University of Detroit Mercy.
Q: Why are you running for office?
I’m running for Northville Township Trustee because I am a concerned citizen and as a resident of Northville Township. I think it is important that our Trustees and other Township board members work hard to lower our taxes while prioritizing our quality of life, funding for our police and fire departments as well as protecting our property values. I will take every opportunity to improve the Township’s efficiency by the use of technology and common sense to eliminate unnecessary expenses. I believe that my success as a business owner will serve as a guiding principle to keep Northville taxes low and provide premium services to our residents.
Q: What are the biggest issues facing the township that you hope to address? What are its biggest successes that you hope to continue?
1. The 7 Mile property, formerly known as the Northville Psychiatric Hospital: Now that we have purchased this property how do we expedite cleaning it up & make it usable while minimizing the cost to do so? As a Northville Township Trustee, I will make it my priority to locate additional funding to address rehabilitation and cleanup of this property, including selling any viable building materials currently located on the site, pursuing Brownfield redevelopment grants and prior to approving any further commercial development near the site will investigate the possibility of obtaining commercial contributions towards the property’s cleanup and optimization.
2. Protecting Vital Services. I will preserve our tax revenue to fund top priority items such as our fire and police departments. All of the Township’s expenditures should be carefully reviewed and scrutinized to determine how we can deliver the same services more efficiently and for less. One option would be to provide interested citizens the opportunity to receive their tax bills and other notices by email instead of regular mail. Offering this option has the potential to reduce the postage and paper costs currently incurred and give our residents a more efficient cost-effective alternative to the current methods. This option would not reduce the services available and has the potential to save the Township thousands of dollars in postage, labor and paper costs. These cost savings can then be utilized to fund the police, fire and other essential services.
3. Our roads both the condition and current level of congestion. As Trustee I will seek funding from all available sources to repair our roads and look into options we have as a Township to mitigate the current level of congestion. I do not envision any additional taxes for this purpose. We already pay a significant amount of our tax dollars to the county, state and federal governments. I will make it my priority to get more of the tax dollars we currently pay back to our township and stop being a “donor” district. In addition, prior to approving any future land development, I will carefully examine how the proposed development will affect our current concerns regarding our roads.
I want to continue to encourage collaboration with neighboring communities to save money and improve services. We currently collaborate with the City of Northville for Parks & Recreational Services, Dispatch and our Senior services however I think that we should continually look for additional opportunities to improve our services and save money.
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, formerly known as the Northville Psychiatric Hospital: This property must be cleaned up and made safe and usable for our residents. However, I’m concerned about the exorbitant price tag associated with the Master Plan. It must be made a priority not only to rehabilitate the property but to do so in the most efficient and cost effective way possible.
Robert Scott Correctional Facility: If by purchasing this property tax revenue can be realized & we can rid ourselves of the current eyesore, purchase should be considered. Prior to making any decision there needs to be an analysis of:
- The appraised value of the property and the “real” value to the Township this must take into account the considerations below:
- What additional costs are incurred if we acquire the property i.e., landscape maintenance, security, expenses to demolish/dispose of the building materials, environmental hazards the Township (instead of the State) would be responsible for cleanup of upon purchase? Can these costs be passed on to a new purchaser?
- What is the estimated time to sell the property and can we sell it and make a profit?
- Intangibles: what is the value to township residents in controlling the use of this property, would Township residents prefer Township over County control?
Q: Anything else you would like to briefly add?
This balance of prioritizing funding, protecting our property values and quality of life can occur only if we have board members willing to roll up their sleeves and take a hard look at every expenditure and decision we make as a township. I will take every opportunity to improve our efficiency by the use of technology and common sense to eliminate all unnecessary expenses. As a business owner in these tough times, I have learned how to do more with less, and leverage the use of technology to build my business. I believe that my success as a business owner will serve as guiding principles to keep Northville’s taxes low and provide premium services to our residents. I am the mother of three children ages, 13, 8 & 8, have been married 19 years and we reside in the Township with our dog, Lucky. Due to my commitment to encourage my children’s interests, I’ve gained knowledge and experience with the many Northville community, recreational and civic programs and have been an active member of the Northville Parent Teacher Association, a Girl Scout Co‑Leader, involved in the Northville Soccer and Lacrosse Associations, Music Programs, participated in the Library Millage & Northville Mother’s Club.
For more election coverage details, see our Northville voter guide.
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