Michael Webber Runs for re-election for Rochester Hills City Council

Michael Webber seemingly came out of nowhere four years ago to win an at-large seat on Rochester Hills City Council. Now finishing his first term, he is seeking re-election.

“I decided to run for re-election to the city council because I want to continue to be a part of the solution in order to move our city forward,” he said. “While I am proud of the record that has been established over the last four years – multiple-year balanced budgets, single waste-hauler program, job growth and low unemployment – more work needs to be done to move our city forward. I know that my experience and background can help with those challenges.”

Webber, 33, is a 22-year city resident. He is an Adams High School graduate who went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Michigan State University, where he was a Michigan Political Leadership Program Fellow. Currently working as an insurance agent with Nickel & Saph, Inc., he previously spent nine years working as an aide to several state legislators, most recently as chief of staff to Rep. Marty Knollenberg.

A Republican, Webber is a board member of the Rochester Area Jaycees and member of the Rochester Regional Chamber of Commerce, where he is the president of the Legislative Committee. In addition to serving on various city-council committees, he is currently the council’s representative on the Rochester Older Persons Commission Governing Board. 

His campaign Web site is www.webberforcouncil.com.

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

Maintain Fiscal Discipline: The city has moved to a multi-year balanced budget and we have increased our bond rating to AAA. This long-term financial planning helps us to understand the financial challenges ahead and address them now.

“Economic and Job Growth: While we maintain the second lowest unemployment rate in the state, we must continue to emphasize job retention and growth. In 2010 alone, Rochester Hills was able to welcome 27 new businesses that produced 1,200 new jobs in our city and brought with it more than $60 million in new investment.”   

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

“My top funding priorities will remain public safety (both police and fire) and roads. As a member of the citizen-led police and road funding committee, I have been an active participant in trying to find solutions to these growing budget challenges.”

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?

“As a member of the city council during the 2011 budget discussions, I actively opposed the three-officer reduction. I ultimately did support the total budget, but I was in the minority on the officer cut straw-poll vote. I do not support further reductions in 2012 and 2013 because I believe it will have a more significant impact on services than the 2011 cuts. As a city we need to reduce travel expenses and other non-essential expenses in order to keep the officer positions.”

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 council, after conducting a feasibility study regarding water storage, decided not to move forward with the engineering of this project because of the uncertainly with DWSD, the lack of a regional water authority, and ultimately the lack of viable locations within our community. I do not see this issue coming back up in the future. I think we need to continue the conservation campaign and work with DWSD and with the new regional authority, which Mayor Bing put together in February, to make sure that suburbs like Rochester Hills are treated fairly regarding water and sewer rates. 

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?

“As a member of the Deer Management Advisory Committee, I have been a part of a citizen-led committee that has studied this issue and offered recommendations to the city council. There has been a great education campaign and other ideas that have come out of the committee. While the population has risen, the car accidents have decreased due to these efforts. Should both rise, the committee will have to discuss the numbers and offer a recommendation to City Council on what to do.”

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?

“Regarding major roads and bridges, the city needs to continue to work with the Oakland County Road Commission and the State of Michigan to acquire proper funding for these road projects. The city does not own many of these major roads and bridges, so we must work with others to do work on them. I am proud that we have so many projects being done or ready to be started in our community – like Crooks, Walton, Adams, and the Avon/Livernois bridge projects. Regarding local roads, we only have money at this time for winter maintenance and some rehab throughout the summer months.”

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

“I think that the proposal has been a success and the council has been able to purchase some great properties that will always be protected as green space in our community. I would want to see what residents say regarding putting a renewal on the ballot for 2015, but I would certainly be open to it if the support was there.”

HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE THE ROLE OF A COUNCIL PERSON?

“The role of a council person is one of representative of all the people. That is certainly not easy in a community of 71,000 people with competing views. I try to listen to the viewpoints of every resident who submits an opinion on a subject and then make the best decision possible for the majority of residents in Rochester Hills. Not everyone will be happy with some of the decisions made, but I can promise that I have studied every single issue and listened to every single viewpoint before casting a vote on a particular issue.”

WHY ARE YOU THE BEST CANDIDATE?

“I am the only candidate in the at-large race that has served on the city council or on a city-council committee. I have state government experience as well as city government experience. I have worked with budgets and I have worked on complex issues. I have grown up in this community, I have been educated in this community, and I serve this community through service projects. I would be honored to continue to serve on the city council.”

ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO ADD?

“I am very proud to have been elected to serve on the city council four years ago and to have the continued support of so many residents within our community. I am also proud to have the endorsements of many proven leaders that represent us: Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson, Sheriff Michael Bouchard, Clerk Bill Bullard, Commission Vice Chairman Jeff Matis, Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett and City Councilman Vern Pixley.”

About Tom and Ann Gendich

Founders of Rochester Media. Looking to provide great local news to all people in and around Rochester and Rochester Hills. Send them a note at [email protected].

Comments

  1. Catherine Tingley says

    How do feel about bringing oil/gas drilling to the Rochester Hills area?

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