F2H Votes: Farmington City Council candidate Greg Cowley

Farmington Voice sent questionnaires to five Farmington city council and four Farmington Hills city council candidates. Responses are being published in the order they were received. Read all of our election coverage here: farmingtonvoice.com/tag/elections

Greg Cowley
Greg Cowley
  • Age – 60 (I believe I am the eldest Councilmember)
  • Community involvement – DDA volunteer for 10 years (3 as President) – that leadership yielded Grand River Streetscape, Riley Park, Farmers Market, Harvest Moon, Art on the Grand, Concerts in the Park, Los Tres Amigos recruitment. Elected to City Council in 2011. I have served 6 years delivering – Farmington Vision Plan, Fresh Thyme, Flanders Sub, Grand River Halsted Plaza, OPEB bond to ensure retiree healthcare, hired a new City Manager and DDA Director. I am a resident and downtown business owner for an anchor business attracting guests to Farmington.  I serve on the Parking Committee and the Chamber Board.

What best qualifies you to serve on Farmington city council?

Experience – a track record of success in both the private and public sector to achieve stated goals (above), I KNOW redevelopment – I sold Farmington to bankers in 2001 when it was not as active as it is today, our investment on Grand River is providing benefits to achieve our growth goals.  This City Council has moved the ball down the field to achieve growth goals, I can work with this Council Team to continue our mission. I am a resident and a business owner I have a unique perspective on City Council – vested in the community and proud to serve as a decision maker.

Describe your vision for the future of Farmington looking 10 years ahead.

Farmington needs to expand/diversify its tax base which coincides with The Farmington Vision Plan of 6.7 moderate growth (Not Birmingham but Plymouth) I see commercial growth along the Grand River Corridor and Farmington Road, mixed-use projects will facilitate – restaurant/retail and office space.  Provide additional residential housing in Farmington (Maxfield – Shiawassee Hill) to support a strong school system. We need to attract young families to Farmington and not increase our taxes to achieve this growth. Farmington ranks as one of the highest tax rates in Oakland County, I believe this could hurt investment and housing turnover.

What is Farmington’s most critical challenge today and how should the community address it?

The largest problem is our tax base is overwhelmingly residential, revenues are down 25% but expenses continue to climb at an alarming rate.  The City has maintained its 16 mill budget for many years cutting and creatively managing costs where it can.  PROP A will limit our ability to see revenue increases as valuations increase AND I do not believe that Lansing will increase its revenue sharing to Cities. Therefore I am advocating 3 solutions – 1. Grow and redevelop, add mixed-use density projects mostly in the downtown (as we are build out already).  2. Explore additional Shared Service options with Farmington Hills, this will not be popular, but we must explore all options prior to a tax increase.  I was on Council when we outsourced the 911 service, today it’s a model of efficiency expanding to mobile technology for better service delivery to our citizens.  3. Fix parking – we cannot see commercial growth without additional parking.

What do/will you do on a personal level to engage residents in city government and ensure that you’re hearing from a broad cross-section of the community? 

Two hip replacements are keeping me from walking the neighborhoods this fall but I believe that I am very visible to our citizens, we see over 3000-4000 customers a month in the pub, across many demographics.  I engage them daily asking for feedback on the issues, it gives me perspective that I believe is unique to Council.  I attend all meeting and volunteer for events in the downtown and at Our Lady of Sorrows and I respond to all citizen email/phone requests.