Dexter Township Supervisor Candidates Prepare for Election
Incumbent Pat Kelly will face Republican challenger Jim Drolett on the Nov. 6 ballot.
The race for the Dexter Township supervisor position features plenty of experience on both sides of the political aisle.
Kelly, who has lived near the township for 40 years, said she is seeking a fourth term in order to complete projects the board started four years ago — namely the construction of a permanent fire station.
"The fire station is really important to me. We're not done. I want to make sure it's finished," she said.
Kelly said if voters pass a 1-mill tax levy for seven years on the Nov. 6 ballot, the substation at the corner of Dexter Town Hall and North Territorial roads will "not be a Taj Mahal."
"We will build what we need and nothing more," she said.
Kelly said another major issue involves addressing crumbling roads in the township.
"We spend roughly 20 percent of our general fund budget a year on roads, concentrating on the primary roads everyone drives on. Meanwhile roads in subdivisions like Carriage Hills are at the end of their life, and there is no money to fix them," she said.
To facilitate repairs for roads in newer subdivisions, Kelly said she would like to partner with residents to create a road committee.
"The committee can evaluate the condition of all of our roads — public and private — and talk about how we can begin addressing sources of funding," she said. "We need a plan that tells us which roads should we look at first. If the roads are going to get fixed, we are going to have to come up with a way for residents to help with the cost."
Drolett, a township resident for 35 years, said his main goal, if elected, would be to revise the township's zoning ordinance.
"The ordinance was adopted in 2003, and since then there have been 227 amendments to different sections, and it's still not right," he said.
Drolett, a former planning and zoning administrator for the City of Chelsea, said he would work with the township board to hire an outside consultant to review the ordinance.
"It needs to be simpler, user friendly, and easier to administer," he said. "The ordinance is very cumbersome. Some people have told me its too difficult to read and interpret."
Like Kelly, Drolett said he supports the fire millage.
"Public safety is my No. 1 goal," he said. "We could go another 50 years without a tornado, but if we build this fire station, it brings the department closer to residents, which in turn improves safety and lowers insurance ratings. It's a good investment."
The former corrections officer said communication with the township board is another area that needs improvement.
"You can talk all you want about wanting to do something, but at the end of the day it doesn't get done," he said. "I drafted many ordinances for Dexter Township and the City of Chelsea, so I have a strong background in municipal government.
"The black cow hasn't stepped on my foot personally, but if what I'm hearing is true, then I think its time for a change in leadership."
Drolett, who is married to Libby Brushaber, a candidate for township treasurer, acknowledges that his marriage has become a point of contention on the campaign trail.
"It's frustrating," he said. "We're not the first people who are related to serve on the board if we are both elected. I believe you should vote on the issues, and not on the basis of a candidate's personal life."
Drolett confirmed that he and Brushaber own separate houses in the township.
"The fact that we're husband and wife is in all the newspapers," he said. "Our marriage isn't an issue unless someone makes it an issue."
Other candidates running for township office include Harley Rider (clerk, uncontested); Libby Brushaber and Dana Bullen (treasurer); and seven township trustee candidates: Steve Feinman, Michael Howard, John Emerick, Bill Gajewski, Carl Lesser, Jason Maciejewski, and Anne Sullivan Buchholz.