Laurie Puscas Runs for District 2 City Council Position

Twenty-two-year resident and mother of two Laurie Puscas is running for the District 2 seat on Rochester Hills City Council.

Puscas, 51, has a background in banking and owns a small business, Independent Expressions Photography. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Central Michigan University and a second major in journalism from Oakland University.

“After covering the cities of Rochester and Rochester Hills for a number of years while contracting as a writer for The Oakland Press, it became apparent to me that the Rochester Hills City Council was no longer operating as representatives of the residents,” she said. “The council has demonstrated a consistent voting bloc deterring real deliberation and costing residents money. Our country was founded on checks and balances and I believe these same principles should be adhered to locally.”

A Republican, Puscas is a member of the Mayflower Society. Her campaign Web site is www.puscasforcouncil.com; she also author of  www.iepointofview.com.

Puscas has extensive community volunteer experience. She was appointed to the board of Community Media Network, where she served as treasurer. She has also served as co-chair of the Rochester Community Schools Steering Committee for a new high school and as PTA president. She is a member of the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce and St. John Fisher Parish, where she taught catechism. She has been a volunteer/fundraiser for Paint Creek Center for the Arts and the Rochester Symphony Guild.

WHAT’S YOUR TOP PRIORITY, SHOULD YOU GET ELECTED?

“The obvious answer would be to deal with the future economic challenges facing the city. However, I believe our ability to address the opportunities and issues coming down the road starts with an effective leadership team. My top priority would be to help transform the council into a highly effective governing body that respects and encourages citizen input, makes independent decisions and addresses a diverse set of ideas.”              

WITH CITY REVENUES FALLING, WHAT ARE YOUR TOP FUNDING PRIORITIES?

“Rochester Hills is no different than the State of Michigan. We need to focus on delivering key services at an acceptable level to the residents.  That includes police, fire and roads. City governments have a bad habit of focusing cost cutting on core services to induce voter support for new millage proposals. We need to streamline essential services and cut those that are not absolutely necessary.”

THE CITY REDUCED ITS POLICE FORCE BY THREE OFFICERS IN 2011 AND PLANS TO DROP ONE OFFICER IN 2012 AND AGAIN IN 2013. DO YOU SUPPORT THIS STRATEGY? IF YES, EXPLAIN. IF NOT, HOW WOULD YOU FUND THE COST OF MAINTAINING POLICE STAFFING?

“Public safety is a critical service. I do not support eliminating police officers without cutting deeply into other elements of the budget first. As an example, the city currently matches employee 401K type retirement accounts at a rate of 15%, which is out of line compared to the public sector.” 

UNDER INTENSE PRESSURE, THE COUNCIL RECENTLY BACKED OFF A PLAN TO BUILD A WATER RESERVOIR AS A WAY TO CONTAIN WATER COSTS. WHAT, IF ANYTHING, SHOULD THE CITY DO ABOUT RISING WATER COSTS AND DEMAND FOR WATER?

“The plan to build water reservoirs should never have reached the point it did. The city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in money and city resources moving down a path to borrow against our capital reserves and spend nearly $20 million, without any credible business case. The city should cooperate with the county on regional opportunities and promote conservation through education.”       

IF THE CITY’S DEER POPULATION REBOUNDS AND CAR/DEER ACCIDENTS RISE BACK TO PREVIOUS LEVELS, WHAT (IF ANYTHING) SHOULD THE CITY DO ABOUT IT?

“The city’s initial attempt to address this issue with deer culling was a disaster regardless of where you stood on the issue. Gunfire during rush hour in the heart of the city defied all common sense.  Creating a committee to examine the issue and make recommendations was very productive. I suggest we keep that committee active, promote new involvement and examine their recommendations. The council needs to respect the expertise and input of committees.”              

THE CURRENT RECESSION IS EXPECTED TO LAST FOR SEVERAL MORE YEARS. IN THE MEANTIME, WHAT SHOULD THE CITY DO ABOUT INFRASTRUCTURE, SUCH AS ROADS AND BRIDGES?

“This is a serious issue facing the city and state. It would be easy to just say spend more money. The right answer is to right-size the city budget as much as possible, assess to what level that will support roads and bridges, and then size the gap. At that point, the voters will need to make an informed decision as to what level of road support they are willing to provide.”          

THE CITY’S GREEN SPACE MILLAGE WILL EXPIRE IN 2015. AT THIS POINT, DO YOU SUPPORT ASKING FOR A RENEWAL?

“Yes. Metropolitan Detroit has gone through one of the most difficult economic periods in its history. As the region recovers, there will be winners and losers. Rochester Hills can and needs to be one of the winners. We can achieve that by maintaining the heritage and character that makes the city a premier destination to live and raise a family.”       

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE ROLE OF A COUNCIL PERSON?

“The role of a councilperson is to represent the residents in the decision making while providing key input into the budget process that provides basic and necessary services such as police, fire and road maintenance.”

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

“Residents need to be treated with dignity and respect when they attend council meetings. The disrespectful and patronizing behavior of a number of council members over the last couple years has been appalling.

“We need to value the input and recommendations of those serving on boards and commissions. The trend has been to remove individuals who are not in full agreement with the status quo.

“I look forward to serving the residents of Rochester Hills as an independent voice for the people and appreciate their support and vote on August 2 and November 8.”

Comments

  1. Jorge M. Ipina says

    I do not understand. You are against raising taxes, but you support the renewal of the green spaces tax.

    You seem to be not well informed about intergovermental issues. Most of the infracture; like roads and bridges in Rochester Hills are the responsibility of Oakland County and the State of Michigan. Perhaps a better aproach would be to optimize city relations with these funding sources for those expenditures.

    An issue that perhaps you could address is how to increase the city tax base, bringing more people and industry into Rochester Hills. Another initiative would be, how to coordinate more services with the City of Rochester and thus share mutual expenses.

    Also, why do we pay some city workers for 8 hours of service when they only work 7 to 7.5 hours a day?

    Thank you.

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