Home Sherry A Wells Bio My Campaign More on the Issues

Yes, we have a "parking problem."

Several parking problems, in fact.

If a business wants permission to establish itself in Ferndale, it must show there is enough parking for its employees and customers EXCEPT in the Central Business District (downtown). Originally it was assumed that all the lots around it would provide enough parking. Plus folks often walked to their downtown to get everyday items and rarely stayed for hours in one place. There was a balance of daytime shops and evening dining and drinking.

However, the city permitted / encouraged large entertainment establishments, and many of them, in a downtown surrounded by residences. These brought in a large number of nonresidents in addition to locals. The balance was lost. There are rarely used lots and meters, even on pleasant summer nights, but it is so much more convenient to park on a residential street, and free, too! Noise into the wee hours, litter, urination, vomit are all side effects suffered by these residents.

A parking structure has long been agreed to be a necessity. Most of the parking overflow seems to me to now be south of 9 Mile. But in this economy, money and the private-public partnership that appeared to be a solution also went away. The new parking system might eventually be able to generate the necessary down payment.

Parking meters is a non-issue. The old ones were breaking down, parts were no longer available, they took only quarters, they were regularly robbed. The DDA studied the meter issue, too, for years, but DDA input was ignored. I was on its parking committee for 1 ½ years and made calls to cities, asking what system each used, positives, negatives and quality of service from the supplier.

The city now has a Parking Management Team, made up of the city manager, DPW and DDA. It went ahead, after reviewing the DDA research, and chose the system now criticized. Being light years advanced from the old system--like a rocket launched from the 1950s into the 21st Century, it has taken practice to become accustomed to it. Initial glitches were smoothed out.

Based on figures from the old system, the Parking Mgt. Team initially ordered only half the pay stations that were needed. BUT/AND this system takes nickels, dimes, quarters, dollar bills, credit cards and ParkMoble. Credit cards account for at least a third of the take--no coin-counting. AND this system is paying for itself faster than expected and outdoing by far the old meters. There are far fewer pay stations, compared to meter heads, to be repaired and alerts when a fix is needed or one needs to be emptied.

Water Bills

Two parts to this--the cause of our water bills being higher than some other Oakland County cities has been explained as due to a minimum required water usage--similar to a minimum charge for a service call to your home, regardless of whether a repair must be made or the serviceperson simply plugs in the "broken" appliance to get it humming again. Ferndale is less than 4 square miles so we don't use as much as larger municipalities yet there is a basic "cost" of getting it to us, no matter how much or little we use.

Secondly, the high bills for some/many houses was explained to me by a resident. She made an appointment with the city to look over her water bill. They studied her last 4 years of usage and found it to be quite stable. However, there were 15 consecutive months of estimated bills--there should never be more than two in a row, if that. More importantly, it was discovered that the computer billed her at higher than the standard rate for a residence. Once her bills were adjusted to the correct rate, and penalties and interest removed, they were back to what she would have expected.

SO, call city hall for an appointment to get yours reviewed, if you're one of those whose bill hit the sky. (Mine didn't, so someone with the same household size and also who doesn't water the lawn should not have had a bill 3 to 5 times what mine is.)

TAXES

I printed out tax information for municipalities in S.E. Oakland County. Our millage rate is in the middle. If West Bloomfield has a lower rate, think about this: 10% of a $500,000 house yields more money than 20% of a $100,000 house. Their infrastructure is much newer. So are their schools and theirs are filled with students who once lived down here--school funding moved out with them.

Headley Override--Yes, I voted for it. I'm not affluent, but I saw that the huge financial institutions' foolishness hurt us all--residents, businesses, government. The ones taking the hardest hit, I believe, are those who lost their jobs when the city began immediately downsizing and slashing away. I've attended virtually all city council meetings in the last 4 years, but budget meetings, too.

MARIJUANA

As a lawyer for 37 years, I've seen the huge expenditure for law enforcement, prosecution, incarceration caused by this substance, which in my view is hardly different from alcohol. This does not count the serious detriment to the many, many lives of those prosecuted. I attended a full-day seminar at Wayne State University Law School about this about a year ago. The message was that this is not a "drug," that one can overdose and die from it (as one can with alcohol), that police don't get called for a domestic assault when only "pot" is involved--it does not make a user aggressive. It also has medicinal value (alcohol has some, too, I suppose). A couple of citizens expressed concerns about the effect of second-hand smoke on asthma and on random drug tests for those who pilot airliners or drive big rigs--I am researching these.

My opinion is that decriminalization would be appropriate. Being "high in public" can be fined, but a criminal conviction and jail would not result. Legalization has pros and cons--regulation vs. permitting yet another mind-altering substance, like alcohol is, to be out there.


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Sherry A. Wells; © Copyright 2013 Sherry A Wells  Your Mayor for Our Town

Contact Sherry at:
Sherry A. Wells
sherwells@tm.net
(248) 543-5297
cell 248-219-8477