NEW BUFFALO — Voters in the city of New Buffalo will fill three seats on the City Council in the Nov. 3 election.
Information submitted by candidates in response to questions from the News follow:
As a New Buffalo City Council member, I will:
Provide a fresh new voice and perspective on the Council.
Advocate for issues that I believe need more attention such as communication with residents and easier to understand financial information to fact check misinformation.
Work to control the explosive growth of short-term rentals through stronger policies, regulations, and enforcement to limit problems and reduce growth. I will listen to the opinions and concerns of residents, part-timers, property owners, businesses and study solutions that have worked, or failed, in other towns.
Continue the progress of the last six years on infrastructure improvements (including the bond proposal to repave all City streets in the next two years), strengthening the City’s financial condition and expanding cooperation between local government entities.
My experience clearly qualifies me for City Council. I have an MBA from Northwestern University, Chicago and began my career evaluating the financial strength of municipalities and issuing bonds to fund public needs. I have served on many municipal and non-profit boards and committees and understand that getting stuff done requires listening and respectful discussion among members, not pronouncements by individuals and personal grudges.
Our world is changing rapidly and throwing us new challenges. I don’t claim to have answers to all the issues we face today or in the future. However, I am experienced in the ethics and responsibilities of working for the public good, the need to listen to and understand opinions different from mine and will represent the interests of ALL New Buffalo citizens to the best of my ability.
A joint statement from John Humphrey, Roger Lijewski and Brian Flanagan.
1. What changes/goals do you hope to achieve in office?
The better management of our tourism space, from our beaches to boating to our local amenities.
Short term rental regulation and enforcement.
Enforce the Town Charters Laws and Ordinances.
Fix our roads to modern standards.
Repair and restore our parks and beach.
Develop a functional response to Shoreline and Marina damage from rising lake waters.
Support our local businesses.
Support and enact the New Buffalo Master Plan voted on in 2018.
Help Secure the Marquette Greenway Funding.
Support and maintain a Police Department that’s capable of meeting the needs of the summer tourism season.
Create and protect City Jobs and not outsource them.
Work to create public interest in the volunteer position on our boards and commissions and limit the liabilities of conflicts of interest.
Transparency with the City Finances.
Personal accountability for all public serving members of our Council and Boards.
Respectfully communicate with residents and develop improvements in communication between city hall and the city residents.
Proactively work to develop a 12 month a year economy.
Develop new streams of revenue from the tourism base and not just keep asking to raise local taxes.
Develop the entire empty city block in the center of town.
Update the City Website to a modern, user friendly standard.
Work with New Buffalo Township for the benefit of the greater area.
2. Any other comments you wish to make regarding the election, your candidacy and related issues.
We are hoping for a large voter turnout and fair election. The ability of out of state second homeowners to vote here regardless of their homestead tax status because of orders brought about by the Covid-19 Pandemic could bring unfortunate results to the well-being of the long term residents of this community and the State of Michigan. For the first time in the history of New Buffalo politics we have to bring in poll challengers due to the threat of election fraud.
We are running because we feel the current City Council is not working in the best interests of our local residents. Compromise through the debate of opposing views on our City Council is the only real way to bring solutions to issues that are fair to all residents. This is how we move the town forward together. We want to bridge the divide between residents and second homeowners, not continue to widen it.
We will be proactive, engaged, accountable and available as your new City Council members. All three of us are full time members of this community, You can find each of us out working somewhere on the streets of our town every day. We are the regular residents of this town with a deep investment in our homes, families and this community. We hope New Buffalo Voters will turn out and support us for that.
3. A brief description of your background, current endeavors and qualifications.
John Humphrey has 25 years of professional experience in technical business management, construction and commercial property management. A long time community volunteer, a public advocate on local housing issues, a school bus driver, softball coach and music teacher. He has been a regular at City Council meetings for the last two years and is well versed on the City infrastructure and its challenges. He is a 6 year resident of New Buffalo with family living in town since 1995.
Roger Lijewski is a lifelong New Buffalo resident with 30 years experience running his own business that serves the needs of our community. A 15 year member of our School Board, He has invested years of service to our youth as a football,baseball and basketball coach and drunk driving prevention advocate. The Lijewski family has a long history of public service to the City of New Buffalo and New Buffalo Area Schools.
Brian Flanagan is a 19 year resident of the City of New Buffalo, and a former member of the Harbor Commission. He’s worked at our Marina for over 20 years. He is a local authority on our Marina, its condition, its problems and its needed solutions. Our Marina is the cornerstone of our Tourism industry and his expertise in this area is invaluable.
1. What changes/goals do you hope to achieve in office?
My goals include:
Reduce short-term rental issues by making polices and regulations stronger, defining and implementing enforcement procedures, and possibly limiting the number of short-term rentals.
Develop a plan for implementation of the Marquette Greenway Trail which has already been approved for over $3M in funding.
Implement aspects of the Waterfront Master Plan, along with continued improvements to all of the parks, with grants to reduce costs.
Complete the re-paving of streets throughout the city.
During my past five years on the City Council, I have helped achieved balanced budgets, restoration of the reserve fund, reduced city expenses, improved city services, re-paved many streets, and completed bridge, harbor and park improvements. All without raising taxes. This is the first City Council to get millions of dollars in grants for the downtown infrastructure, beach dune walk, and development of a Waterfront Master Plan. The city government is functioning effectively and for the better of all.
The City of New Buffalo is a community that has developed greatly over the past 30 plus years. Its location on Lake Michigan has always made New Buffalo special. The beautiful beach, large marina complex for boating, multiple parks, highly rated schools, a pedestrian friendly downtown with many shops, full service grocery store, pharmacy, multiple banks, restaurants, and annual events such as July 4th Fireworks, Harvest Fest, attract residents and visitors alike. The inter-connected needs of full-time residents, second homeowners, renters and visitors, creates a complex situation but a balance can be achieved through participation, collaboration, respect, and open communication. Looking at all aspects of the city as a single community is how we can build for a better tomorrow.
A brief description of your background, current endeavors and qualifications — Current City Council member from 2015 to present. Local business owner of Whole Nine Yards from 2008 to present. Member of the New Buffalo Business Association and Harbor Country Chamber of Commerce. Permanent resident since 2003.
Also on the ballot is incumbent Robert Spirito (his response will be added if received).
The language of ballot proposals to be decided by New Buffalo voters appeared in last week's News and can be viewed in the News section of this website.