To kick off election coverage, White Lake-Highland Patch has sent out a survey to candidates running for office in White Lake and Highland. The following is the Q&A response from current White Lake Supervisor Greg Baroni. Baroni, a republican, will be facing off against fellow republican Matt Sprader and democrat Mike Smith in the Aug. 7 primary election.
Patch: How long have you lived in White Lake?
Baroni: I've lived in White Lake for 10 years.
Patch: What community and civic organizations are you currently involved in?
- White Lake Historical Society – Past President, 5 yrs.
- White Lake Historical Society – Township Liaison, Present
- Huron Valley Optimist Club - Board of Directors, Present
- President Elect - Huron Valley Optimist Club, Present
- White Lake Friends of the Library, Present
- Board of Directors - Commerce United Methodist Church, Present
- Co-Creator White Lake Township Community Garden, Present
- Automotive Industry Professionals Worldwide, Present
- Facilities Management Professionals International, Present
- General Motors Alumni, Present
Patch: What drew you to run for Supervisor?
Baroni: I am currently the Supervisor of White Lake Township. As a long time resident, I have a strong passion to remain serving my community and the residents. I was raised in a home where my father was a public servant. The idea of public service and being an active participant in my community has always been a part of who I am.
Patch: What personal and professional experiences make you qualified to hold that position?
Baroni: I have 34 years management experience with General Motors. I have managed large budgets and supervised hundreds of employees efficiently and effectively. I have the proper skill set and ability to make the right decisions that balance the services that we must provide to our residents. I have experience serving as both Trustee and Supervisor, working together with surrounding townships.
Patch: What is the most important issues facing the township and what do you intend to do about it during your term in office?
Baroni: Having a balanced budget is one of the most important priority issues we are currently facing, due to the unbalanced economy we have here in Michigan.As the Township Supervisor, I am also the Budget Director; White Lake Township has a solid balanced budget for 2012.
Second is providing a safe environment for our residents. We must be able to provide all the services our residents expect from our local government.
Third would be maintaining a strong business sector and a balance of growth between business and residential areas. I am committed to maintaining our White Lake identity while implementing new technology for a more efficient government.
Patch: In recent years there has been discussion about contracting either police service or dispatch services with the county. Do you think the police department should be turned over to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Department? Why or why not?
Baroni: As I said above, having a balanced budget is one of the most important priority issues we are currently facing. It is also one of the Township Boards responsibilities to look at cost savings to maintain a strong budget.
Years ago the residents of White Lake Township voted to maintain our police department and police dispatch. The White Lake Police Department has been serving this township for over 50 years. I agree with the residents, we must maintain our Police and Fire Departments.
If dispatch was contracted out to the county the residents would lose a multitude of valuable services such as: monitoring of the jail area, data entry, surveillance of township buildings, ad-hoc reporting, updating website, monitoring court ordered custody exchanges at station, assists in the property room, confirm warrants and several other responsibilities.
It is my opinion our Police and Fire Departments are the finest in Oakland County and the State of Michigan.
Patch: What is your vision for White Lake Township, where do you see the township in 10 or even 20 years, and what does the township need to do now to realize that vision?
Baroni: My vision for White Lake Township in the future is holding on to the small town atmosphere with that “UP North” feeling. The north end of the township is known for its farms and equestrians and the south end is known for great subdivisions with quality affordable housing. To keep this fabulous quality of life we must maintain a strong balance of growth between business and residential areas.
Our residents and visitors enjoy several recreational opportunities with 21 lakes, two State Parks a Metro Park, golf courses, two new baseball fields and in the near future a nature preserve park. The townships main artery is M-59 which adorns a fabulous array of shopping and dining.
We are striving to get all empty store fronts occupied by working with our developers and real estate companies. Our latest accomplishment is the new Bed Bath & Beyond store and Joanne Fabrics which occupies an old Farmer Jack Store that sat empty for years. Flowers of the Lakes is now operational in a new location that was an empty building. The new St. Joes Urgent Care Facility is a state of the art medical facility which occupies another store front that was empty. We also have new building going on in the township, 30 plus new homes being built and the new Trinity Rehabilitation Center that just recently opened its doors to patients.
I am committed to maintaining our White Lake identity while implementing new technology for a more efficient government.