BY BRIAN McGILLIVARY
— TRAVERSE CITY — Commission candidate Patrick McGuire finds the condition of the city’s roads and infrastructure crucial to quality of life in Traverse City.
McGuire will contend with six other candidates on Nov. 5 for three, four-year city commission seats. He supports past commission efforts to trim staff and put more money into city roads, going from $100,000 to more than $1.25 million in six years.
“I would like to see us spend more, but it would depend if we could gain other efficiencies,” McGuire said. “In a couple of years if we could spend $1.75 million I think that would be good.
“Our roads weren’t designed for the volume of traffic we’re handling,” he said.
McGuire hasn’t decided if he will support a county road millage request but if adopted would initially use the $750,000 it would return to the city for infrastructure improvements. He doesn’t rule out a future cut in the city’s millage rate to help offset the road millage.
“Overall the tax burden of people in the city is pretty high,” McGuire said.
Tourism is a big chunk of the area’s economy. McGuire said he is not personally bothered by the number of festivals in the Open Space. He supports measures to reduce noise, charge more for use of the Open Space, and better spacing of events to address residents’ concerns.
The National Cherry Festival is too long, too big, and too spread out, McGuire said, but he would work with Cherry Festival officials and get a better feel for public sentiment before taking action to curtail the festival.
McGuire will wait for a study on consolidating city fire service with the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department. If the study is strongly favorable and “saves us a chunk of change while maintaining public safety,” he would support the city joining Metro Fire.
He would look at either cross training police for medical response or relying on North Flight EMS to replace the advanced life support paramedic service now provided by the city’s fire department.
Elected commissioners will decide in 2016 if they will return about $400,000 in city property taxes captured by the Downtown Development Authority to the city general fund, along with $450,000 collected from other taxing entities such as Grand Traverse County
McGuire favors letting the tax increment financing district expire because it could return up to $500,000 annually to the city by 2016 and that was the promise made to taxpayers when the district was set up.