My name is Garrett Grier 1st Ward City Council. I’m 29 years old and was born and raised in Milford. I graduated from Milford High School in 1999 and went on to attend Elon University. I graduated from Elon in 2003 with a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and a concentration in management. During my time at Elon I was fortunate enough to spend a semester studying in Perth, Australia. This experience was once and a lifetime, one that has impacted my life in many ways. Another experience I had while attending Elon which I am so grateful for was the opportunity to work at Wheels n Bumpers car wash. At the time this was just a job to help pay bills, but I’m grateful everyday of my experience at Wheels n bumper as is led to my dream of opening up a car wash of my own. I currently am co owner of Duck In Car Wash in Milford.
Growing up I was taught the importance of serving your community. I always saw myself getting involved in local organizations such as little league, ducks unlimited, etc., but never really gave the path of local politics much consideration. However, after moving back to Milford in 2005 and having two businesses here I saw the opportunity of serving on city council. I live here and plan on living here the rest of my life. I have an invested interest in this community and serving on city council is a great way for me to help Milford continue to grow and move in the right direction.
I’m the kind of person that tends to get along with almost anyone. That’s why I love being at the car wash so much. I get to see so many people every day, have great conversations about anything and everything. City council can be quite the opposite. You have to make many tough decisions every week and it’s impossible to make everyone happy. The reactions of some have been a big eye opener for me. However, I have learned that I have to consider everyone’s opinions on every issue. At the end of the day I have to do what I believe is the best for the city, stay consistent with those decisions throughout my service, and at the end of the day the voters will decide whether or not I’m right for the job.
I think Milford is doing really well. We are working in really tough times and the city is still in a good financial situation to continue to grow. I am fortunate enough to serve on both the finance committee as well as chairman of economic development committee. As a result I have the opportunity to help make some big decision in relation to the direction the city is headed. We just had a finance committee meeting on Feb 1st and we are right on track with the budget we passed in June. We continue to press hard on the economic development side. John Rhodes just completed an economic development study for the city which was adopted at the last city council meeting. The report does a good job of describing where the city is now, where it has been, and where we need to be 20 years from now. We have an economic development committee meeting on Wednesday the 9th at which time we will look at the report and prioritize the action item. These items will then become the primary focus of our newly hired economic development director Richard Carmean.
I feel the biggest challenge the city faces is continuing to stay aggressive in tough times in an attempt to set ourselves apart from other municipalities. We need to continue to focus on what makes us unique while continuing to offer a business friendly environment with incentives that can lure the next possible employer. Every new business we attract, every infrastructure improvement we make, every quality of life factor we add is just one more thing the City of Milford has to offer to the next investor. Although I feel this is the biggest challenge we face, it is also very exciting.
The biggest success for Milford is our ability to continue to maintain a strong financial position. I have mentioned this before, but during tough times we continue to make strides forward. Jason Adkins was a big part of establishing several ordinances that offered utility impact fee waivers up to a certain level for new construction. Although there is a time limit on this incentive, it has proven to be very effective, and should provide an example of what results incentives like this can bring. As of then end of January the city has waived $139,280 in fees while seeing a $7,817,315 investment in the city (Based on building permit values). Along the same line I feel it is an overall success that Milford continues to look at where we want to be in the future rather than just focusing on the present.
I would like to see Milford work together as a community with input from everyone. With our new staff position in economic development we now have a tool whose primary focus is economic development. He is currently working out of city hall and is available to anyone who wants to share their ideas. I’ve always thought the worst ideas are the one’s that are never brought up. I see Milford continuing to add commercial growth in the future as we continue to follow the model designed through our adopted economic development strategy. I also see Milford making strides in improving our streets, sidewalks, and utility infrastructure as we look toward the future.