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Vacant Storefronts, Tax Proposals Take Center Stage in Chesterfield Debates

Chesterfield Township candidates running in the November election squared off Thursday during debates at Municipal Offices on Sugarbush.

Attracting business and were priorities Thursday during Chesterfield Township candidate debates.

In a series of taped segments in , township candidates spoke of their accomplishments and their goals if elected in November. The and The Voice newspaper sponsored the event moderated by .

Clerk

Challenger called for transparency in government and reduced spending while incumbent emphasized the need to lure businesses to the community. 

"I believe we can lower taxes and still provide the same services," Berry said.

Uglis said she's been working with township planning and zoning employees to help bring in business. She said she would like to see converted to a dog park at the Sugarbush entrance and a veterans' cemetery at the Donner entrance.

"I would like to see our township have its own zip code," she said, adding "we need our own identity."

While Uglis said she believes the community is business-friendly, Berry disagreed.

"We have an recently," she said of litigation between the township and a local business.

Treasurer

Challenger said she will push for education advances, technology strides and commercial and residential growth if elected. 

"When you hear the slogan: , I want you to think: Choose Chesterfield," she said.

Incumbent pointed to strides in the Treasurer's Office, including efforts to accommodate struggling seniors.

While Elliott says the township doesn't succeed in business relations, Hartman disagrees. 

"I believe we are friendly to businesses," Hartman said.

She noted  and  as examples.

Trustees

Six —, , , , and —participated in the debate. Tom Scott and John Grivas were absent. 

Many of the candidates spoke of the need to pass the proposed police and fire tax hikes on the November ballot to ensure public safety. When asked what the board would do if voters rejected it, Bell said the township would have examine financial options like grants and pay raises would not be feasible, but added, "I don't know what choice we have other than pass the millage."

Police Chief Bruce Smith , he expects major departmental cuts—such as losing at least 17 officers—on the force.

Anderson called for the township to keep police and fire services as opposed to contracting through the Macomb County Sheriff's Office.

"Chesterfield fire and police must remain under township control," he said.

Joseph said the next board needs stronger leaders who challenge expenses and bring fresh problem-solving ideas.

"I think the current board has really done nothing to make sure we don't come back to voters in another four years," he said of tax increase requests.

DeMuynck, whose background is in law enforcement, says this board examined all the options before putting the matter on the ballot.

"We have not done excessive spending," he said.

Gagleard, a Tea Party conservative, said she was outraged as a resident when the three top-elected officials requested last year when there financial hardships were on the horizon. They but noted the raises would have been for the new board.

The candidates also discussed filling vacancies, attracting business to the community and enhancing recreation.

"We have a lot of empty storefronts," Nelson said. "I think when businesses thrive, people are attracted to come here."

He also said the township should aim to create bike paths.

Four candidates will be elected to the board in the general election.

Check back with Patch for coverage of other debates, including candidates running in Macomb County races. Keep up with this story and others by following us on Facebook

Kathy Elliott September 14, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Thank you to the Anchor Bay Chamber, The Voice, Comcast, Chesterfield Township and The Patch. To learn more about Kathy Elliott go to the website www.ElectKathyElliott.com
Linda Hartman September 14, 2012 at 04:03 PM
I also want to thank the Anchor Bay Chamber of Commerce and The Patch,The Voice and Chesterfield Township. Keeping a balanced budget, with the fiscal challenges we faced with poor economy and reduced property, income tax collection, which are main sources of revenue to local government we reduced costs without cutting services, and even increased efficiency. These results refelect the cumulative hard work and combined dedication of our township staff and board. You may learn more about Linda Hartman at www.electlindahartman.com
kidcat24 September 14, 2012 at 09:25 PM
So nice to see small government republicans running that have lived on government jobs.
kidcat24 September 14, 2012 at 09:30 PM
I'll stick with the Democrats since I know that Snyder transferred 1.8 billion taxpayer dollars to the billionaire "job creators" from our schools, fire departments, and police departments and now we're being asked to pay higher taxes to keep these services. Thanks Snyder. I'm still waiting for those Bush tax cuts to create jobs and pay off our national debt.........it's been about a decade now.
larredc September 15, 2012 at 11:55 PM
Please kid....don't talk anti republican and national debt when the dem we have as president now has doubled the national debt in 3 1/2 yrs and the economy is worse than before he borrowed our childrens future from China

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