The City of Milford election, scheduled for April 27, 2013, has been cancelled, according to Terri Hudson, City Clerk, after only one candidate for each open seat on City Council filed to run by the deadline, which was Tuesday, February 26. Three incumbent councilmen will remain on the board, while the council will welcome one new member for the upcoming term. City elections were last cancelled in 2005 when there were no opponents to those who filed for open seats.
Bryan W. Shupe, cofounder and editor-in-chief of MilfordLIVE.com, will represent Ward 1 along with Garrett L. Grier III. Ward 1 covers the southeastern section of the city. Shupe is excited to be a first-time councilman and sees the significant growth in his ward as one of the most important things he must address.
“The ward that I will represent, Ward 1, which is located in the southeast region of Milford, will see some significant growth in the next few years, including a new overpass and water tower and the possibility of a new technology park and shopping center,” Shupe said. “Decisions about infrastructure needs, agricultural land and open space will need ot be balanced in order to secure a growing, healthy community.
In addition to the growth in Ward 1, Shupe feels that Milford as a whole is at a very critical point in its history where City Council must decide what the next 25 years will look like.
“We need to have a proactive but balanced approach to decisions about our economy, agriculture, infrastructure and quality of life issues,” Shupe explained. “Economic development and growing our economy will be essential to creating a prosperous future for Milford. Through the Economic Development Office, we need to continue actively pursuing businesses that our citizens want and that fit our comprehensive plan.”
Dirk G. Gleysteen will continue to represent Ward 2, which covers the Southeast section of the city. The most significant issue Gleysteen sees facing Ward 2 is the disposition of Milford Middle School.
“From my understanding, the school board has neither the interest nor the finances to rehab this building. It is an historic structure that should be preserved if economically feasible,” Gleysteen explained.
The safety and health of citizens throughout Milford are also a concern of Gleysteen’s especially in relation to the police station that is more than 30 years old and which the city’s police force has outgrown.
“We need to analyze the current requirements of the department with the projected growth of Milford and determine what shortfalls exist and the most efficient and cost effective way to address them,” Gleysteen said. “I look forward to working with Chief Hudson, the police committee and Mayor to ensure that the police department has all the resources needed to continue to provide the high level of service they are known for and provide to the community.”
Infrastructure is another area where Gleysteen thinks the city needs to focus in order to serve the current needs of residents and any economic growth. Gleysteen sees improving roads, especially Airport Road, as a particular issue facing the city, as well as the new pump station, along with upgrades to water and sewer piping.
One area where Gleysteen sees the need for debate is on the effectiveness of term limits for the Mayor and City Council positions. Gleysteen believes that the city is better served with an influx of ideas, which can only happen when new candidates are elected.
“I am generally disappointed that there is usually little interest in running a contested election,” Gleysteen stated. “Term limits, which will require a change to our state charter, would go a long ways towards addressing this.”
Gleysteen thanked Steve Johnson for his service to the city as a councilman, and looks forward to working with Bryan Shupe, the rest of council and the Mayor for the next term.
Douglas E. Morrow, Sr. will continue to represent Ward 3, which covers the northeast section of the city. Morrow sees budgetary items as the most critical aspect facing the city, especially with the recent events at the Federal level.
“We need to take a good look at our tax rate, because that has the biggest impact on our citizens. With the recent passage of sequestration in Washington, we may see some reduced federal funding in our town,” said Morrow. “For example, we receive monies for Municipal Street Aid, and those funds help us keep Milford roads in good shape. If that funding is gone, we have to find alternatives. I think we need to start the city budget hearings earlier than normal due to possible federal cuts.”
Morrow also sees a need for the city to not only focus on bringing new businesses into town, but to find ways to keep existing businesses in operation.
“There is one business in particular that was housed in a downtown building that has recently chosen to relocate out of town. Although this was not really a retail business where people would necessarily window shop, it was still business, so we probably should look at the businesses we already have who may be struggling or need some type of incentive to stay here.”
Morrow enjoys working with Owen Brooks, his fellow Ward 3 councilman.
“We work together to address issues in our ward,” Morrow stated. “I think the citizens in our ward know that we are accessible and that we have their best interests in mind when we make decision on city council.”
James O. Starling, Sr. will continue to represent Ward 4, which covers the northwest section of Milford. Starling sees several things that will need addressing in the city during his upcoming term.
“The biggest issue we face is dealing with the need for a new police station,” Starling said. “In addition, we have to address the homeless problem in the city and the need for youth programs to get our young people involved in the community and keep them out of trouble. We also have to focus on infrastructure, such as electric, water and sewer.”
In his ward, Starling sees that the lack of things for young people to do as a big problem in the city.
“We have got to work on finding more things to keep the youth of our city busy,” Starling said. “Right now, there are few programs that address the needs of the youth. We don’t even have any public playgrounds within city limits, as the only playgrounds available are on the school grounds,” Starling stated. Starling represents Ward 4 with Katrina E. Wilson.
All candidates will be sworn in at the Annual Organizational Meeting on Monday, May 6, 2013, at 7 PM.