Paul Rogers threw his name into the ring for State Senate. From the Argus
A Howell City Council member is entering this year's race for the state Senate seat representing Livingston County.Paul Rogers, who served as the city's mayor from 1997-2000 and has spent more than a decade on the council, said Sunday in a news release he's entering the campaign to succeed term-limited Sen. Valde Garcia, R-Marion Township
"Over the past six months, I have had numerous local community and state leaders contact me about giving consideration to pursuing the state Senate seat," Rogers said. "I've given this decision much thought and feel that I have the qualifications, the time, and commitment to fill this important role."
Also vying for the seat is former state Rep. Joe Hune, who was term-limited out of office in 2008 after serving three two-year terms in the state House.
Paul's not related to Mike or Bill, but a lot of people think he is. He's also spent a lot of time in Howell city government and has some name recognition. That makes this an interesting race.
I already endorsed Joe Hune when he decided to run. That hasn't changed. Joe still has my vote. I don't know Paul Rogers and met him once or twice. I did vote for him on council when I lived in Howell, but I'd have trouble supporting him over a more fiscal conservative candidate for state senate after this. Nothing personal, but this decision is troubling to say the least.
From the Livingston Community News archives
Howell residents will see their summer taxes increase by 1 mill when bills go out July 1. The increase, which brings the city's tax rate to 15.9443 mills, was approved by City Council members 6-1 on Monday after a brief public hearing.
The increase will amount to $1 for every $1,000 of a home's state equalized value, or half of a home's worth. It will generate $211,109 in revenue.
Taxes can be raised without voter approval because the city collects just 14.9443 mills of the full 16.017 mills it's allowed.
But Councilman Tom Malloy told colleagues the time wasn't right for a millage hike given the state's depressed economy, rising foreclosure rates and mounting job losses. But a majority of board members agreed the grant and federal stimulus money now available necessitated a summer start for Phase I of a planned $22 million three-year citywide street, sewer and water improvement project.
"The numbers are just too good," City Manager Shea Charles said. "We have not seen this amount of money available (for local infrastructure improvement projects) in a long time, and I don't know if we'd see it again."
The low cost of labor, combined with the state's low-interest loan programs and federal grant money made available under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, weighed in Councilman Paul Rogers' decision to support the millage increase.
"It's going to be painful," Rogers said, "but it makes sense for us to get ready for when the economy does pick up." He said foresight now will help city leaders draw investors in the future.
Michael Bartkowiak, who is challenging incumbents Rogers, Dawn Cooper and Scott Niblock for a city council seat in November, asked board members to wait until the economy turned around before imposing a tax increase. He was the only resident to attend the public hearing.
"Other than him, I have not heard from anyone in opposition to the 1 mill this year," Rogers said.
The city's ongoing street improvement plan to improve 34 miles or roads was initiated 15 years ago and funded mainly through grants. Most of the repairs left in the 11 miles left to fix don't qualify for federal and state funds because they are local roads.
Phase I will improve 4.3 miles of road at a cost of $7.6 million. Construction should begin in mid-July.
"It'll be a nightmare getting around the city, but when it's all said and done, it will be a big boost for the city," said Rogers, noting that other road improvements have resulted in neighborhood improvements along affected streets.
My question for Paul is this. If by raising taxes at the state level, opens up money from the federal swine trough, are you going to vote for that? Are you going to vote for the gas tax increase if it comes up in Lansing? How much does that revamping proposal of Howell's downtown (with the Grand River/MI ave roundabout) cost? My guard is up here, and it is due to taxes and spending.
When it comes to taxes and spending, I can count on Joe Hune making the right decision. Joe opposed the MBT, taxes on insurance premiums, gimmick budgets that later failed, as well as increases to the services and income taxes. Joe's proven himself as a fiscal conservative, and will have my vote.