Current and former council members vie to be Saline's next mayor
After 12 years under the leadership of Mayor Gretchen Driskell, Saline residents will be voting for a new mayor Nov. 6.
Moving forward, Marl said that facing the ongoing economic downturn is Saline's biggest issue.
"As property values have declined, so has city revenue been reduced while the need for public services has remained the same or even increased," said Marl. "As mayor, I would be committed to going through every possibility in looking at ways for the city government to be more efficient and save precious taxpayer dollars."
Law, a 12-year resident of Saline who is married and has a daughter, sees financial stability as a tough challenge for the next mayor and city council.
"Key to this is putting a cap on spending," said Law. "Projects that we would like to do will have to wait until our financial house in in good shape."
He believes that the personal property tax is an issue with possible serious ramifications.
"The elimination or reduction of the personal property tax without a measure to replace it or prop it up would place a heavy strain on the city's financial basis," said Law. "I am in favor of giving businesses the ability to grow and compete without additional taxation, but not without ensuring that cities and towns also thrive and survive."
Law believes that the city must continue to promote its business areas.
"Not just those that are most visible such as the downtown area, but also those businesses on the east and west side of the city," he said.
Law suggests promotion via the city website, in newsletters and on cable television. Law, who served on the Saline Council from 2004-2011, spent 16 years in radio news and then became a certified elementary school teacher.
Marl was first elected to the City Council in 2008 and was chosen mayor pro-tem in 2011. He has worked as a legislative aide since 2005 and has served on the Saline Area Schools Historic Preservation Foundation, the Saline Area Senior Center Executive Board, the Evangelical Homes of Michigan board of directors, and is congregational president of St. Paul United Church of Christ in Saline.
Marl believes that supporting public safety services, both financially and with sound policies, is a big issue facing the city. He says that if elected mayor, his focus will remain working toward a vision for the community.
"Residents deserve a government that works first on core city services like public safety, on fostering an environment that will help businesses thrive, and most importantly on making Saline a better place to be," said Marl.
If elected mayor, Law says that he wants to hear from the citizens of Saline on issues and concerns.
"I also want council to have a more detailed discussion of various issues that come to us," said Law. "I would want council to think creatively when it comes to talking about matters concerning the budget, business development, and ways to allow citizens to have more opportunities to invest in their community with very little government intervention."
Both candidates expressed respect for what Driskell accomplished during her tenure as mayor.
Law says Driskell was pivotal in building a strong relationship between the city and its advocacy group in Lansing, the Michigan Municipal League. He says that she has been a strong supporter of business and the subsequent growth of companies locating in Saline.
Marl says that he appreciates what Driskell has been able to do to benefit Saline.
"She deserves a great deal of credit for partnering with the Saline Historic Downtown Alliance, which led to the state granting Saline the Main Street Community designation," said Marl. "Her understanding of the importance of emphasizing economic development has moved our city forward."
Lisa Carolin is a freelance reporter for AnnArbor.com.