Election preview for Dearborn and Dearborn Heights

By BOB OLIVER
Times-Herald Newspapers

DEARBORN — The Nov. 5 general election is quickly approaching and there are several local government positions up for grabs as well as ballot proposals to be decided in Dearborn and Dearborn Heights.

In Dearborn, there are 18 candidates running or nine positions as elected officials. Two are running for mayor, two for city clerk and 14 for the seven available seats on the city council. All of the positions are for four-year terms.

Mayor John O’Reilly Jr. is challenged by handyman Edward Binkley. O’Reilly has been mayor since 2006 and is seeking his second full term as mayor.

In the race for city clerk, incumbent Kathleen Buda is challenged by student services liaison Khalil Dakhlallah. Buda is seeking her fifth term as city clerk.

Fourteen candidates are vying for the seven seats on the city council. Incumbents Thomas Tafelski, Robert Abraham, Mark Shooshanian, David Bazzy and Brian O’Donnell are running for re-election, and are joined on the ballot by Jane Ahern, Tarek Baydoun, Susan Dabaja, Stephen Dobkowski Jr., Sharon Dulmage, Patrick Melton, Colette Richards, Mike Sareini and Kristyn Taylor.

There are also three proposals on the ballot for Dearborn Public Schools, one for K-12 and two for Henry Ford Community College.

The DPS bond proposal is for a $76 million SMART bond, which is to address district needs in the areas of security, modifications, additions, renovations technology and transportation. It would be for 20 years and would renew a retiring bond. If passed, the existing mill rate of 5.35 mills would not be raised by the proposal.

The two HFCC millages are for a renewal and an addition. The renewal would continue millages that are set to expire next year. It would combine the current ongoing millages, one at 2.5 mills and another at 0.5 mills, to one 3.0 mill and renew it for the next 10 years. These mills generate roughly $10 million annually that is used as operational money for the college.

The second HFCC proposal is for an additional 1 mill, also to be used for general operational purposes, for the next five years. It is estimated that an approval of this proposal would raise over $3 million for the college.

In Dearborn Heights, there are nine candidates running for seven positions as elected officials. Two are running for mayor, five for city council, one for city clerk and one for city treasurer. All of the positions are for four-year terms.

In the mayoral race, incumbent Daniel Paletko is opposed by Councilwoman Janet Badalow. Paletko has been mayor since 2004 and is seeking his third full term in office. Badalow has been on the city council since 2001.

Five candidates are running to fill four open spots on the council. Incumbents Thomas Berry, Margaret Horvath and Joseph Kosinski are running, as are business development manager Lisa Farrens and Bob Constan. Constan previously served on the Dearborn Heights City Council before leaving in 2006 after being elected as a state representative for the city.

City Clerk Walter J. Prusiewicz and City Treasurer John J. Riley are running unopposed for their positions. Prusiewicz is seeking a second term as clerk after being appointed to the position in April 2011. He was then elected to the position in November 2011.

Riley has been city treasurer since 2004 and is seeking his sixth term in that position.

There is one proposal on the ballot except for residents living within the DPS district, in which case there are four.

For all residents, there is a proposal for a .95 mill for the city libraries. The .95 mills represents 95 cents per $1,000 of taxable valuation on all taxable property in the city. It is estimated that if passed, the millage would generate over $1 million for the city’s two libraries in its first year.

Dearborn Heights residents living in the DPS district also will vote on the three bond proposals for Dearborn schools.

(Bob Oliver can be reached at boliver@bewickpublications.com.)

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