Fruitland Township hosted several candidates for various offices at a forum before a packed audience on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
The forum included candidates for a reconfigured county commissioner District 8 after the 2010-2020 Apportionment plan was approved, reducing the number of commission districts from 11 to 9.
John Snider, who is a current commissioner and vice-chair of the County Board of Commissioners, is seeking re-election in his newly created District 8. Snider, who is running as a Republican, is running against Democrat Terry Sabo.
An important topic facing the County Board of Commissioners is what to do with the wastewater property, which is located in Egelston and Moorland Townships.
Sabo focused on creating more recreational areas for residents to use, and said that since the area is already set up for food processing, the county should look into that option, as well as alternative energy. He is absolutely opposed to fracking for natural gas.
Snider focused on using the space for alternative energy, since the county recently signed a lease agreement with Gamesa Energy USA to investigate the possibility of putting a wind farm on the wastewater property.
Snider also disagreed with Sabo, and said that the property is not currently available for food processing because there is no water there yet. As far as why each candidate thinks they are the best for the position of Muskegon County Commissioner District 8, both relied on their experience as leaders. Sabo has served as a Muskegon County Road Commissioner and said he has endorsements from both Democrats and Republicans.
Snider has 10 years of experience on the County Board of Commissioners, as well as many other committees related to the board and local organizations.
Muskegon County Treasurer candidates Tony Moulatsiotis, Democrat, and Eric Rothoff, Republican, were both focused on the Muskegon County Land Bank Authority, but on different sides of the issue.
Moulatsiotis, the current treasurer, is in charge of the Land Bank, and is happy with where it has been, and is going. He said he is proud of the amount of money back on the tax rolls, approximately $1.4 million, because of the Land Bank.
Rothoff says that while he thinks the land bank does help people and the county, he also believes that the Land Bank is picking and choosing the best properties and taking them out of the county auction. He quoted a lawsuit that Kent County is involved in that states they are taking properties from the land auction and rehabilitating them through their Land Bank Authority. Rothoff also stated that many local cities and schools are receiving large charge backs from those properties.
Moulatsiotis disagreed with Rothoff’s statements, saying that there are laws he must follow regarding the land bank and he follows all of them.
One issue brought up in front of the Muskegon County Sheriff candidates Dean Roesler, incumbent Democrat, and Ronald Lee Grasmeyer, no party affiliation, was the idea of privatizing the jail operations.
Both candidates said they believed that privatizing the jail would not work.
“I’ve talked to sheriffs in other states and it doesn’t work,” Roesler said. The government is not held responsible for the jail if there is a private company running it, Roesler said.
Also present at the forum were the candidates for 14th Circuit Court Judge, Raymond Kostrzewa and Annette Smedley; County Clerk Candidates Democratic incumbent Nancy Waters and Republican Cindy Fairfield; 92nd District Representative Democratic incumbent candidate Marcia Hovey-Wright (Republican candidate Travis Shepherd was not in attendance); and Fruitland Township Trustee candidates Mary Ann Bard, Republican incumbent, Norma Binns, Republican incumbent, Jan Deur, Republican Incumbent, Val Rissi, Republican, Gary Bole, Democratic incumbent, Bud McFarren, Democrat, Lynn Knopf, Democrat, and Brandon Bolde, no party affiliation (Democrat Terrie Hampel attended, but did not participate in the in forum).
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 6.