Home Election 2016 Vote: Meet the New Buffalo City Council candidates

Vote: Meet the New Buffalo City Council candidates

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This week New Buffalo Times asked New Buffalo City Council candidates about Fountain Square, the Master Plan and the city manager position. Please note that answers are NOT edited nor proofed, they are unread until published. It is the hope that this effort will serve the community well. If a candidate chooses not to answer, it shall be noted.

BARBARA ANDERSON
My name is Barbara Anderson and I am running as a Write In candidate for New Buffalo Township Treasurer.

I am 52 years old and have been married to my husband John for 31 years. We have lived in the township since 1985 and have two grown children, Bryan age 25 and Courtney age 19.

I am currently attending Lake Michigan College for my Associates degree in Business with my major being Accounting. I have been in the accounting field for over 25 years. I worked with my husband and his sister Margaret at Topp Press, before closing it in 2010. I also worked for New Buffalo Area Schools in the BASE program and the high school kitchen before going back to school myself.

I chose to run for this position because of my accounting and business background but also because as Jack Rogers said back in 2004 when he was first running for the treasurer position “We are due for a change.”

One item I would like to change is the township employees get a monthly payment of $721 if they do not need the health insurance. This to me is wrong, we have township residents that are struggling to pay for their own health insurance coverage but yet part of their taxes are going to someone who doesn’t need health insurance because they are already covered.

The money we get from the Local Revenue Sharing Board is only good for another 15 years, we need to make sure that ALL residents are benefiting. There are some residents that do not have township water or streets that are paved and maintained.

Are there some sewer lines that need to be maintained that we could fix and not have to burden the residents with paying the bill?

The Corridor Improvement Authority is a good thing if we can make exit 1 and exit 4 more welcoming. But it also has to benefit the residents not just the out of town people who come to visit. In addition it should not be an added expense for the township residents.

I hope you will consider me for the New Buffalo Township Treasurer, when you vote on November 8th.

ROSE DUDIAK

ROSE DUDIAK
ROSE DUDIAK

My name is Rose Dudiak and I am currently your New Buffalo Township Supervisor seeking re-election.  My name will not be on the ballot so I am reaching out to you to write it in.  I have been passionate about serving as your Supervisor for the last 8 years and would love to continue doing so.  I have lived here my entire life and have nearly 20 years of dedication to our community.

A big part of my decision to run as a write-in candidate was my desire to achieve more for us in the next few years.  I would like to see an Armed Forces memorial where the State Police Post stood, along with a commuter parking area with it’s proximity to I-94.  I am also involved in the Corridor Improvement Authority.

Over the next few years we can bring in some workforce housing near Exit 1 and clean up and develop the area around Exit 4.  I hope to also stay on track with the Berrien County Road Commission and keep our road repair program going.  This will give our community the best roads in the area.

I don’t feel a lot of change is required. We have a very dedicated and knowledgeable staff that helps our board keep things running smoothly. We have been able to get business done, maintain relationships with our neighboring communities, and truly tried to keep the needs of the Township residents at heart.

We have accomplished so much in the last 8 years that I am very proud of, like the new Township Hall, beach markers that give GPS locations for the Coast Guard in emergencies. and curbside recycling available to all of our residents free of charge, but there is a lot of work left to do.  I would appreciate the opportunity to be part of that.

Again, I would appreciate your write-in vote on for New Buffalo Township Supervisor November 8, bearing in mind that each and every vote counts!

One item I would like to change is the township employees get a monthly payment of $721 if they do not need the health insurance. This to me is wrong, we have township residents that are struggling to pay for their own health insurance coverage but yet part of their taxes are going to someone who doesn’t need health insurance because they are already covered.

The money we get from the Local Revenue Sharing Board is only good for another 15 years, we need to make sure that ALL residents are benefiting. There are some residents that do not have township water or streets that are paved and maintained. Are there some sewer lines that need to be maintained that we could fix and not have to burden the residents with paying the bill?

The Corridor Improvement Authority is a good thing if we can make exit 1 and exit 4 more welcoming. But it also has to benefit the residents not just the out of town people who come to visit. In addition it should not be an added expense for the township residents.

I hope you will consider me for the New Buffalo Township Treasurer, when you vote on November 8th.

PETE RAHM
Please introduce yourself including:

Peter Rahm, married 41 years, wife Sue. Three grown married daughters, six grandchildren

Retired from the Michigan State Police in 1998 after 28 years of service

– What position are you running for New Buffalo Twp Trustee

– Current employment
Broker/MI and IN/Owner of  Three Keller Williams Realty offices New Buffalo, St Joseph, Michigan City,

– How long have you lived in the New Buffalo Township? Been a resident of New Buffalo Twp for 40 years

– How does your background qualify you for the position you are seeking?
Being currently on the Board has provided me with valuable experience in helping run the Twp and my community involvement gives me a good insight on what direction the Twp should be heading. Reelection

– How many Township Board meetings have you attended in the past year?
Regularly

– How do you see the Corridor Improvement Authority benefitting the Township?
The CIA will capture tax  monies from the increase in property values and this will help us enhance the entry points to the Twp starting with Harbor Country Drive, exit 1.   We must  landscape and improve the look of Exit One so there is no doubt to visitors that it is one of the New Buffalo exits. We need people to exit and enjoy our Twp. Secondly we must work closely with the City of New Buffalo’s Downtown Development Authority. If both are successful both Municipalities will reap the benefits of increased Tourism.

– What are the top priorities that you wish to accomplish for the Township?
We must continue to use the money that we receive from the LRSB wisely and do what ever we can to improve conditions in the Twp. We need to be address the deteriorating roads in the Twp and work with the County to resurface them.We must continue to take the money received from the LRSB and place it in good interest bearing accounts and continue the excellent financial status the Twp has.

– What changes do you hope to accomplish?
Continue to be Financially Responsible and to use the Gift money from the Tribe for the betterment of the residents of New Buffalo Twp.

PAUL D. OSELKA
I am Paul D. Oselka and I am running for re-election to the position of New Buffalo Township Clerk. I was elected in 2008, and re-elected in 2012. I have served as New Buffalo Township Clerk for the past eight years.

I have lived in New Buffalo Township all of my life (62 years), except for 11 years that I lived in the City of New Buffalo.

I own and operate Pajay, Inc., which is an excavating company which specializes in underground pipework for municipalities (sewer, water, storm piping). I have owned and operated Pajay, Inc. as an excavating company since 2003. Prior to that, I owned and operated Oselka Construction as an excavating company from 1976 to 1997.

I believe that my education and experience in business, along with living in the local community my whole life gives me excellent qualifications to serve as New Buffalo Township Clerk.

Along with the excavating businesses, I also have done residential and commercial building construction. I have banking experience as well, having served on the board of directors at Alliance Bank in New Buffalo for 10 years, the last two years as Chairman of the Board. I graduated from Western Michigan University with a BBA in business management.

I believe that the most important thing that I offer to the township is the understanding that as a township official you have a fiduciary duty to always act in the best interests of the township and its residents. Every decision that any township official makes must start with that in mind. I can honestly say that every decision that I have made and voted on during my eight years as clerk was what I thought was in the best interests of the township and its residents. I also believe that I have good common sense.

I am running for re-election as township clerk because I want to continue the progress that the township is making with improving the roads, sewer, and water systems that benefit all of the township residents. I believe that I can help guide the township in wisely using the funds that we have available from the casino revenue.

I have attended all of the township meetings this year, and in the eight years that I have served on the township board, I have never missed a regular meeting, and attended all but one or two special meetings.

The corridor improvement authority should be a benefit to New Buffalo Township by capturing future tax increases that would normally go to Berrien County. These funds can then be used to improve and enhance the corridor along Harbor County Drive which will make it more attractive to visitors and businesses that may want to locate along this corridor.

The top priorities that I want to help the township accomplish:
POLICE PROTECTION: I believe that it is very important to keep the police protection that New Buffalo Township currently has which provides 24/7 coverage for our residents. This police coverage benefits all of our residents and the police presence is a deterrent to crime. It is a public safety benefit that is important to all of our residents. If an emergency arises, our local police can respond very quickly to help. When you need the police, you want them to respond as soon as possible. Prior to the current police coverage that we now have, township residents would have to wait for a state or county car to be dispatched which could take a long time if no cars were nearby.

ROAD IMPROVEMENTS: Jack Rogers and I have been working with the Berrien County Road Commission to maintain and improve the county roads in New Buffalo Township. We are establishing an annual fund from the casino revenue and have a 10 year plan to upgrade all of the county roads in New Buffalo Township.

SEWER , WATER, AND DRAIN IMPROVEMENTS: I believe that it is important to continue to provide sanitary sewer, township water, and drainage improvements to areas in the township that want and need it. I would like to see the township be more proactive in helping our residents that need sewer, water, or drainage get new lines installed to get them the services they want and need. The township could use some of the casino revenue to help get these items accomplished.

I believe that I have earned the trust and respect of the township staff, and wish to continue to support them in their work for the township. New Buffalo Township is fortunate to have excellent people working for it. The office staff, the water superintendent and water department, the fire chief and fire department, the building department, the planning committee, the parks committee, the election workers, and all of the other committees that I have worked with are all working in the best interests of the township and doing an great job. It is an honor to work with these fine people and I wish to continue to support them and always work in the best interests of New Buffalo Township and its residents.

MICHELLE HEIT

MICHELLE HEIT
MICHELLE HEIT

My name is Michelle Heit and I’m running for New Buffalo Township Supervisor. I am currently a self employed, small business owner in the township. I have lived in the township for 22 years on property that has been in my family (Siegmund family) since 1855.

I have served on the township board and the planning commission for the last 3 years and I have learned a lot. I’ve seen what really works in our township and what I could do better.  We have excellent department heads and staff and I am looking forward to working with them to help make the township a great place to live.  As Supervisor I plan on improving communication among the staff to improve the services we provide.  I have chosen to run now because this is a crucial time for the township.  With the possibility of changes in the Local Revenue Sharing Board it is critical that we work to continue to provide police protection for our residents.  Public Safety is a vital part of our community and I am committed to making sure our police and fire department  have the proper tools and training they need.  I am also committed to continuing the work of our Corridor Improvement Authority project.  With the training and certification I received as a member of the Planning Commission it will assist me while serving on this board.   I have attended every Township Board meeting this year.

Our board has discussed creating a Veterans Memorial Park located where the former State Police Post was located.  I will work to make sure this becomes a reality.

The Corridor Improvement Authority is a great project for the township. It will esthetically improve Exit 1 and Exit 4 which will bring more business and people to the area.  This will provide more business for our local businesses within the Corridor, and it means tax revenue staying local to be invested in our community.  This will also enhance the area around Exit 1 and provide more opportunities for business owners and residents of the Township.

If elected I want to work closely with the Berrien County Road Commission to make sure our roads are improved and maintained.  I also want to work with the Road Commission to improve the intersection at Red Arrow Highway and Townline Road and make it safer.   I will ensure that we continue to provide  great public safety services within the Township.  My plan is to  meet  with Home Owner Associations and community members to see what concerns and suggestions they have.  It is important to find out what the people of New Buffalo Township need and value. I am thankful for the support I received on August 2nd winning the primary and  would appreciate your continued support November 8th.

JUDITH HANDLEY ZABICKI

JUDITH HANDLEY ZABICKI
JUDITH HANDLEY ZABICKI

Hi, My name is Judith ‘Judy’ Zabicki and I am running for your New Buffalo Township Clerk. I’ve been married to David Handley for 34 years and we have two adult daughters. David is a life long resident of New Buffalo Township and I have lived here for 18 years. I am currently a New Buffalo Area School Board member since 2010 and Secretary of the Board since 2013. I was formerly your Twp Clerk fro 2000-2004. I’m retired from the Michigan State Police after serving for 20 years. I look forward to serving you.

I have chosen to run for office again because of some of the issues that have come before the current board. I do not agree with the current boards vote to sue The Pokagon Fund. Suing a our local charitable organization and wasting over $180,000 of taxpayer money was wrong and nothing was gained from it.

The current board also voted to give themselves an 81% pay raise while not requiring themselves to be in the office everyday.

The current board also voted to offer health insurance benefits to all employees, which is good, however for those that do not need these benefits, because they currently have them through a spouse or previous employer, they give them $721 per month with is over $8,500 per year. This is taxpayer money given because they don’t need benefits! I believe this is wrong and if elected will vote to repeal this practice.

Although I have not been to any meetings a this past year I keep apprised of actions taken by the current board and am familiar with township operations.

I believe the Corridor Improvement Authority will be a nice welcoming addition to our area.

I would to help communication with all local municipalities. I want to make sure that our Fire Department is well funded and has the tools it needs to continue to protect our taxpayers.

I would like to get Dial a Ride to service our area as there are residents who have expressed a need for this service and have asked for it with no results.

After evaluating current procedures only can recommendations be made for changes, however I will vote to repeal the stipend given to those not needing health benefits. There are residents who are on fixed incomes and struggle to pay their taxes, but can’t afford their own health care.