There are four candidates running for positions on Saline City Council. They are incumbents David Rhoads and Dean Girbach and Sal Randazzo and Janet Dillon. Walter Shwayder’s name will appear on the ballot, although Shwayder has withdrawn from the race.
City residents can meet the candidates at a forum held at 6:30 p.m., Thursday, at Liberty School.
In this article, Janet Dillon answers the questions of The Saline Post.
Name: Janet Dillon
Family Status: Married with 3 school-age children
Education: Paralegal Certification. Saline Leadership Institute
Career Experience: Paralegal, 1988-2000
Government Experience: None
Volunteer Experience: Chairman, Parish Faith Formation Commission, Parish Council Member & General Volunteer, St. Andrew Catholic Church; General Volunteer, Knight of Columbus, Saline Council; Event Chair & General Volunteer, Saline Area Schools PTAs/PTOs; General Volunteer, Saline Main Street.
Why are you running for election?
My family and I are proud to call Saline home, and plan to remain in the community for many years. It's that commitment that inspires me to be dedicated to Saline's future. Saline is a great place to live and I want to ensure that it continues moving forward for a prosperous tomorrow.
Why should Saline voters elect you?
My vast volunteer experience within the Saline community has given me a better understanding of the strengths and shortfalls of Saline. I have been very successful in roles of leadership as well as following a team approach to complete tasks. In my past work experience as a paralegal I learned that compromise is the key to progress. In my current role as wife and mother, I understand the situations that affect and impact families.
Describe your approach to solving problems and making decisions.
I believe that prior to making any decision, a plan of action needs to be created. A definitive anticipated result or goal needs to be established. Every decision will have an action and a reaction and preparation for both is the key an effective outcome.
What does “good government” mean to you?
Good government is effective, responsible and proactive. It must be accountable to its constituents as well as to the job duties. A commitment to work hard, work smart and work together is imperative.
Name a few things Saline does very well. Name a few areas where Saline needs improvement?
Saline is a great City. Its strengths lay in its well-maintained cityscape and various free events which help to forge a greater sense of community and pride for residents. Saline offers a small town charm in a safe environment.
Saline is not an exception to facing challenges, but with thoughtful planning it will persevere. A pivotal part of the equation is the need for Saline to develop a stronger and larger business and housing presence. Expansion could reduce the taxpayer’s burden without having to compromise on city provided services and amenities. In planning, Saline must also focus beyond the Downtown area.
The longtime community newspaper gave away to a regional paper. The hospital closed. There’s continued pressure to consolidate services. The message from the economy and state government seems to be, maybe Saline isn’t viable as a distinct community. Maybe Saline is just part of the Ann Arbor metropolis. Is Saline viable as a distinct community? Does being a distinct community even matter? And if it does, what should be done to keep it that way?
Saline is an entity separate and distinct from Ann Arbor. It will never be a large urban city and comparisons are ill-fated. Saline needs to embrace its small town charm and style. Being part of a community is why people live here. Residents want to know each other’s names and meet up at local businesses or events always feeling welcome.
What kind of growth, if any, would you like to see for Saline. How does the city achieve that growth?
Saline needs to grow in its longevity, by making itself a long term destination for residents and businesses. Saline must continue to maintain the small town charm while promoting development and growth.
The city recently raised taxes and homeowners now pay almost twice as much in city property tax as they did in 2002. The city has identified $470,000 in sidewalk issues and $5 million in road improvement needs over the next five years. How can the city meet its infrastructure needs without overburdening residents?
Saline must build its tax base to ease already overburdened residents. At the same time, the city has a responsibility to the taxpayers to be prudent in how and for what tax dollars are spent.
What steps can the city take to help ensure the development of a vibrant downtown?
Saline needs to expand its business base to fulfill those needs of its residents which are currently being met outside of the community. By providing business diversity it will draw community members to shop and dine locally.
It is my hope to see Downtown US12 as a vibrant business district that is supported by a community that embraces its local allure. We cannot change that Michigan Avenue will always be a major thoroughfare running through the middle of our town. What we can do is explore options and opportunities to shape our Cityscape and foster a safer and better way of incorporating Michigan Avenue into our city.