By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
RIVERVIEW – Five candidates are vying for three four-year terms on the City Council in the Nov. 3 general election.
They include incumbents Andrew Swift and James Trombley, along with Bo Schimers, Donald Capezza and Betty Priskorn.
The Downriver Sunday Times sent each candidate a list of questions. Selected answers are given below. A response was not received from Schimers.
Why are you running for the City Council?
Swift: Riverview has great people, great services and a great future. Having a proven track record of community service and fiscal responsibility, I would like to remain a contributing member that guides our community to a safe and secure future.
Having spent eight years on the (Riverview Community School District) Board of Education, serving on several boards and commissions in addition to the last four years on council, I’ve been lucky to work with many members of our community.
I’ve always been one to participate in the decision-making process and not let those with special interest dictate the changes.
Trombley: This is my hometown. I grew up here and discovered that this is a great community.
When I married and started a family, I decided that this was where I wanted to raise my daughter. This city has been great to me and my family. We love it here, and I want to repay for the wonderful quality of life we have here by serving on the City Council.
I have already had the privilege of serving on council for the last 12 years, and would appreciate the opportunity to continue to represent all of our citizens for another four years.
Capezza: Having previously served on the Riverview City Council for 15 years, I wish to once again serve my community.
Priskorn: I would like the opportunity to contribute to the city and residents during these challenging economic times.
What makes you well suited for the position?
Swift: My ability to work with others to accomplish whatever the goal may be. I am the type of person who likes to get things done without a need for kudos afterward. As those who watch our council meetings know, I’m not a big talker during the meeting, but I work hard for our community behind the scenes.
I can also recognize when a job is done well. The Riverview staff is hardworking and are forward thinkers; our community should be proud of them. Also, as president of the Kiwanis of Riverview, I know there is a need in our community that the city cannot provide.
Trombley: I have been on council for 12 years and have been strong advocate for the residents of the city. I have not been afraid to stand up for a resident who needs my help. I believe in being accessible to our residents and accountable for my decisions. I believe in open government that is fair for all.
Capezza: Over 35 years of community service, having served on many important boards, commissions and committees both elected and appointed has provided me the experience and background necessary to again be a viable and effective councilman.
Priskorn: I had a tremendous experience as a councilperson in Riverview for 10 years and feel I had an impact on moving the city forward, along with the rest of the council. There would be no learning curve for me, allowing me to jump in and start work with the rest of the council, the mayor and city manager.
What do you feel is the most urgent issue facing the city of Riverview at this time, and what do you think the city council should do to address the issue?
Swift: With the decline in property values comes the decrease in tax revenue collected. This reduction will require a substantial decrease in our 2010-11 budgets. We have already started planning for the decrease and looking for alternative ways to finance nonessential activities. My priority is to maintain a safe and secure living environment. One thing I would not support is a tax increase.
Trombley: Like every other municipality in this state, declining state shared revenues has placed extreme financial pressure on the city’s general fund. Our City Council and administration must find ways to sustain our services to the residents while balancing our budget.
We will achieve these goals by continuing to watch our spending closely, getting the best value for our money and making the most of our enterprise operations, such as the golf course, landfill, the methane plant and the telecommunications tower. We must do all of this so that we do not have to raise taxes. Having gone through 12 budgets thus far as a councilman, I am well prepared and committed to achieving these goals and continuing the great traditions that have made Riverview a wonderful place to live and raise a family.
Capezza: With home values declining because of bank foreclosures, the taxable value on homes will also decline, which will mean a loss of tax revenue. This is a major concern. We must continue to search and find new and more cost-effective ways to provide city services.
Priskorn: The decreasing revenue coming into the city is the most pressing issue. Residents are reluctant to see any decrease in staffing or in city services and also do not want to pay more taxes. It is a challenging issue all of the cities are facing right now.
I would like to pursue federal grant opportunities for the city and look at ways the city can increase revenue with the business enterprises that are currently in operation.