Election brings little change to city

Sunday Times Newspapers

SOUTHGATE — A relatively low-profile general election Tuesday resulted in few changes at city hall, and a continuation of a street-repair millage.

Mayor Joseph Kuspa, first elected to the city’s top spot in 2009 after a career that included more than a dozen years with the Southgate Community Schools Board of Education, ran unopposed and pulled in 2,888 votes.

According to the city clerk’s office, 16 percent of registered voters participated in Tuesday’s election.
The only questions facing voters was to decide on seven City Council seats from 10 candidates, and whether to approve the renewal of a 2-mill levy for the construction, reconstruction, repair and improvement of city streets. The five-year millage, to be levied at 1.93 the first year generating $1.5 million, was overwhelmingly approved with 2,644 “yes” votes against 817 “no” ballots. The millage levies one dollar for every thousand dollars of taxable property value. The owner of a home with a $100,000 taxable value will pay approximately $85 annually.

The City Council welcomes a new panelist. Each of the current council except for Carol Batko won re-election, and attorney Bill Colovos lead the newcomers seeking a seat on the seven-member board.

Karen George lead the voting with 2,121, followed by incumbents Patricia Ganzberger (2,086), Council President Phillip Rauch (2,037), Jan Ferencz (1,981), Christopher Rollett (1,898) and Dale Zemecki (1,863). Colovos’ 1,898 votes edged out fellow challengers Ernest Abercrombie (1,372) and Marcine Lemerend (1,195).

Both the City Clerk, Thomas Alexander, and Treasurer James E. Dallos also ran without competition, pulling in respectively 2,798 and 2,657 votes.

Funds from the millage were used by the Department of Public Services to install storm lines, pave roads and improve underground storage capabilities. Kuspa said that the millage has also generated more than $1 million worth of improvements when paired with matching grants.

Kuspa said that grants and teamwork allowed the city to maintain financial stability and, unlike some of their downriver neighbors, have not had to lay off city workers. A recent Federal Emergency Management Agency grant funded the addition of five firefighters to the department roster, and matching grants madepossible road improvement projects.

(James Mitchell can be reached at jmitchell@bewickpublications.com.)