F2H Votes: Farmington City Council candidate Bill Galvin

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

Bill Galvin
Bill Galvin

Bill Galvin, Mayor of Farmington

Age: 50

Community involvement: I am the longest-serving active member of Farmington City Council since
being appointed in September of 2011. I am the current Mayor of Farmington since 2013. My community involvement began 15 years ago on the Commission on Aging. I have also been a member of our DDA Board of Directors, DDA Ice Rink Committee, FH Beaumont (Botsford) Community Advisory Board, GFA Chamber of Commerce Board, FPS Building Site Utilization Committee, and coached various youth sports teams.

What best qualifies you to serve on Farmington city council?

High achieving work ethic. Experience in business and government. Long-term commitment.
Proven leadership. Recognized results. I have hands-on experience with budgeting, governmental
finance, zoning, land use and civic engagement.

Since 2011 I have earned the confidence of our community. I have led with level-headed diplomacy
and an ability to compromise. I routinely work with partners at Farmington Public Schools,
Farmington Hills and other governmental agencies and have numerous endorsements.
During my six years on City Council, Farmington has maintained its high level of services; Public
Safety, 24-hour snow removal, and curbside leaf pick-up. We have avoided long-term debt for
operational purposes. I continue to support investment in infrastructure and have managed land use
policies as assets, not liabilities.

I have stewarded adaptive reuses of public land and private properties with willing partners.
Examples include the redesign of Groves Street, a new grocery store, growth of events, new
restaurants, road diets, improvement of crosswalks, new bike paths, and parking management. I was
part of the redevelopment of Freedom Plaza. I supported the development of new homes and
attracted new neighbors to the Flanders area.

During my four years as mayor we have profited from an increase in private investment, social
activity, and overall vibrancy. We have what other communities want – a downtown surrounded by a
community with safe neighborhoods and friendly neighbors.

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

My campaign slogan is “Moving Farmington Forward Together.” As a City Council member, we
represent our citizens and our actions affect our future. My platform is straightforward and
overarching.

1) Grow our tax base.

2) Invest in Infrastructure.

3) Maintain our high level of services; Farmington Public Safety Department, 24-hour snow
removal and curbside leaf pick-up.

By growing our tax base, investing in infrastructure, and maintaining our high level of services, we
will support our community’s plans and be financially sustainable beyond 10 years. Please read
more about my platform at my website, ReElectGalvin2017.com/my-platform.

Everyone enjoys talking about new ideas. A couple terrific ideas that have percolated from citizen
engagement plans include art in Downtown Farmington and empowering more fitness programs in
our parks.

Art in Downtown Farmington

This is becoming a larger part of Downtown Farmington’s brand. We have Art on the Grand in June
and periodically the Detroit Institute of Arts Inside Out Program visits Farmington. This has been a
welcome success and our citizens want more. I support our DDA Board of Directors as they continue
to explore art programs.

Fitness

Nature trails and fitness are identified in our citizen’s Parks and Recreational Master Plan. We can
integrate those and consider public and private financing options for fitness courts for our parks.
This would be a terrific connection throughout the community and provide destinations for our local
bike and running clubs or those people who count their steps.

Growth

Overall, I want to see Farmington continue to grow. In 2010 our census was about 10,500 citizens.
With the recent housing boom in Farmington, we could surpass 12,000 by the 2020 census. More
diverse housing options can be accommodated by remodeling existing housing through the city’s
revised building codes. We also need to take advantage of efficient land use for new housing by
redeveloping the courthouse and supporting Farmington Public Schools to move the bus depot off a
prime residential area. To this end, we will assuredly keep the sled hill!

Multi-Modal Transportation and Public Parking

Multi-modal transportation and public parking both bring visitors and patrons to our beloved
downtown.

I am frequently asked to define the parking problem. Public parking is a comprehensive problem
that requires a comprehensive solution. Public parking is also one part of a multi-modal
transportation plan.

Downtowns across SE Michigan are embracing current and future public parking needs by building
parking decks, managing surface lots, and converting private parking spaces into public access
through pay-for- parking revenue sharing strategies with landlords. Pay-for- parking revenue sharing
is a very cost-efficient share strategy in the new share economy for private landlords, while we
retain free parking in other places through the downtown.

Growth will require embracement of a comprehensive approach and willingness to change habits.
Way-finding signage, continually improving safety, pedestrian crosswalks, better lighting, and more
streetscapes are all part of this. We need to engage our landlords with the value of tenant
agreements that put patrons closest to destinations.

Autonomous vehicles are coming….in the future. Technology based taxi-cab services are here and
serving our downtown at no cost to the tax payer.

Consumers will always come to Downtown Farmington by many different transportation methods.
We need to prepare for the individual motorist, the tech-savvy taxi cab user, the autonomous
vehicle subscriber, pedestrians, and bicyclists.

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

A bleak question, but it needs to be asked.

We need to continue growing the tax base and replenish annual operating revenues lost from the
2008 recession. This is a challenge for every small community. In Farmington, we value our
autonomy and high level of services, especially our Public Safety Department.

Fact 1: In 2007 one mill of property tax generated $423,000. In 2017 one mill generates $327,000.
Based on 15.00 mills, that equates to a reduction of about -$1.5M annual operating revenue in 2017
compared to 2007. (Source: Pg. 5, 2017-18 City of Farmington Budget.)

Accomplishment for Farmington: We are doing more with less! Our city adapted to forced
financial efficiency without a reduction in services to citizens.

Fact 2: Proposal A caps revenue at inflation or 5%. The Headlee Amendment requires annual
reductions in property tax rates. From 2008-12 Farmington’s taxable revenue fell 31.7%. From 2013-
17 it recovered 7.8%. (Source: Pg. 25, 2017-18 City of Farmington Budget.) Fortunately, economic
development such as new construction, redevelopment expansion, and sales of property are not
subject to Proposal A caps.

Accomplishment for Farmington: Economic development works! This chart shows a spike of
4.51% in the 2017 revenue. The most growth in taxable value in the past ten years. This is directly
attributable to economic development efforts since 2013.

Percentage Growth in Taxable Value

The recent revitalization and economic development in Farmington is not coincidental. It is targeted
support of our citizen’s plans. Economic development and growth of our tax base is working! I will
continue to support our citizen’s plans.

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?

The blunt answer to this question is to engage our citizens through social media. I successfully do that
now @MayorBillGalvin and will continue. But civic engagement goes beyond social media, text
messaging and email.

Local engagement needs to be digital and analog. If you are reading this on your smart phone, you may
not appreciate that statement. Many of our senior citizens do not use technology for communications or
information. They will never see these words on The Farmington Voice but they will watch their local
government on Channel 15 every month. Local cable access needs to stay intact.

One of my proudest engagement achievements on City Council has been the Public Comment portion of
the agenda. In the past, Public Comments were invited at the end of council meetings, after items had
been deliberated and voted upon. That method disengaged many citizens. On May 21, 2012 I requested
a change. One month later June 25, 2012 Farmington City Council began a new practice of allowing
citizens to speak in Public Comment at the beginning of meetings. We can now listen and appreciate the
value of citizens having the right to speak first and contribute to our community dialogue.

We also need to continue civic engagement planning projects. Since 2013 we have conducted a new
Vision Plan, Parks & Recreational Master Plan Revision, Grand River Corridor Improvement Authority Plan, Downtown Farmington Area Plan Updates. These types of civic engagement plans are important because it is your community that we represent.

Lastly, your community has long standing tradition of sending its newsletter in water bills. To expand
communications, it is now available on the City Website and you can sign up to receive it in your email
automatically.

Moving forward, I will continue to support these efforts while doing things the traditional Farmington way. A friendly smile, a firm hand shake, and face-to- face conversation around town. We are a friendly,
interconnected community and I want to make sure it stays that way.