PETOSKEY – The race for Ward 1 City Council seat in Petoskey features two new candidates as longtime councilor Kate Marshall leaves her seat at the end of her term.
Declan Akins is a 2019 Michigan State University graduate who lived in Petoskey for 10 years after moving to the city with his family and returned after graduating from college. He is a risk advisor for State Farm and is currently earning an MBA from Oakland University, according to his LinkedIn profile online.
“I will work to make Petoskey a place where future generations want to live,” he said in a statement. “Vote for me on November 2 and build a city for your children and grandchildren to thrive.”
Tina DeMoore is a lawyer and sits on the executive committee of the Emmet-Charlevoix Bar Association. She previously served as the president of this organization and was also a member of the Petoskey Public School Board of Trustees. She has lived in Petoskey for 40 years and graduated from Michigan State University Honors College before earning her law degree from Wayne State University.
“My commitment to the residents of the city is that I will be well prepared, listen and consider all points of view, make evidence-based decisions, exercise critical thinking, use my voice constructively, and spend money wisely. taxpayers, ”she said.
The citizens of Petoskey in the first quarter will decide between the two candidates on Tuesday at the polls.
Below are the responses from both candidates on the issues facing the city, based on the prompts provided to them by email.
On tackling housing, labor, income and other socioeconomic disparities in the community
When asked to identify a potential strategy that could help address community housing, labor and household income shortages, Akins focused on financial incentives for private businesses.
“I think an important step that the city council can take is to use the resources offered to our city to encourage economic growth,” he said. “One example is the development grants offered by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation that are not used by the city. We can use this money to incent private businesses to invest in affordable housing and better paying jobs.
He identified affordable housing as one of the most important issues for him.
DeMoore said that “the housing crisis and persistent social inequalities” are key challenges to be addressed.
She highlighted the continued search for a new city manager as a step to help resolve these long-term issues, and urged due diligence in finding a qualified candidate.
“The successful candidate must have the required training and experience in addition to being a good ‘fit’ for our city,” she said. “The candidate should also provide leadership / support to city council members to develop evidence-based policies that most effectively use limited financial resources and that specifically target defined positive outcomes regarding housing and associated issues that come under the jurisdiction of the municipal council. ”
On Petoskey’s commitment to renewable energy 2035
DeMoore said the transition to 100% renewable energy “is a key priority” to ease reliance on fossil fuels and reduce emissions. She highlighted the local effects of climate change, such as fluctuating water levels, erosion of shorelines, and damage to city infrastructure like the Little Traverse Wheelway.
“Over the next 2-4 years, energy conservation methods, investments in renewable energy infrastructure such as electric vehicle charging stations, and the promotion of the Voluntary Green Pricing program which allows customers to Petoskey to purchase up to 100% of their energy use from renewables would progress. this goal, ”she said.
She also recommended continuing to work with the Michigan Public Power Agency, which organizes energy resources in municipalities, to facilitate the transition to renewable energy. In addition, she said that buying locally reduces energy consumption.
Akins also encouraged the city to continue to take proactive steps to switch to renewable energy.
“It is very important for Petoskey to be a leader in the field of renewable energies,” he said. “I think a major step would be for the city to study the best methods to achieve its goal and spend more time considering more feasible options.”
On the role of advice in economic development
Akins said city policy is a crucial part of the economic health of the community, and has mainly emphasized a spirit of collaboration between city government and local business interests.
“The city government makes or breaks economic development,” he said. “If business owners can’t work with local government, the economy is stagnant. We need a city council that both works with businesses and keeps people’s interests in mind. ”
DeMoore stressed the importance of balance in economic development decisions, and said officials should be careful not to overlook community character and the quality of life in the city. Policies should both promote “a dynamic economy throughout the year and generate interest in investment,” she said.
“Balance is essential because it is precisely these unique elements of community character that drive investment, visitors and residents to Petoskey,” she said. “In specific circumstances, regional collaborations, public-private partnerships and / or other cooperative alliances as well as increased efforts to mobilize state and federal resources / grants could be considered to further promote economic development and a regional economy. thrives all year round. ”