Farmington council interviews final four for open seat

With interviews complete, Farmington city council members now have to decide which of nine applicants will fill an open council seat.

Bill Galvin officially resigned in January; his term expires in 2021. The city charter requires officials to appoint a replacement within 60 days. If they fail to agree on a candidate, the city must hold a special election.

The first five interviews happened on Monday. Both rounds were held in the council chamber at City Hall. Due to a technical glitch, Tuesday’s interviews were not live-streamed, but video will be posted on the city’s website.

All applicants answered five questions provided to them in advance, then council members each had three minutes to ask their own questions. Candidates also had an opportunity to query council members.

Here’s a look at how the final four candidates responded when asked what one thing they’d like to accomplish on council:

Dorothy House, a 65-year Farmington resident and retiree, expressed concern about safety for pedestrians, particularly children walking to school. Also, she said, “I am concerned about a lot of the empty buildings and strip malls in Farmington.”

Greg Cowley, who previously served on city council and the Downtown Development Authority (DDA) board, said he’s disappointed that Farmington has not captured as much income from downtown growth and redevelopment as other cities with TIF (Tax Increment Financing) districts. “I think TIF growth is an important element in any regeneration of the downtown.” Capturing the dollars from increased property values, he said, “brings a lot more resources into the whole environment.”

Geof Perrot currently serves on the Planning Commission and is a former Zoning Board of Appeals member. He’d like to see a long-range budgeting plan to ensure a secure future for the Public Safety Department. Farmington’s reputation as a safe city was “the number one thing that drew us to Farmington. It’s an absolute cornerstone of this city,” he said.

Joy Montgomery, who serves on the Farmington Community Library Board, said connecting Shiawassee Park to the downtown “is a thing that will dramatically change how people interact with our town… I would like to say I had a part in that.” An insurance agent, she also has concerns about safety at the Riley Park Ice Rink.

Council members are expected to choose their new colleague during their Tuesday, February 18, meeting.

The February 10 interviews can be viewed, and February 11 interviews will be posted, at farmgov.com/City-Services/Government/Agendas-and-Minutes/City-Council/2020.aspx.

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