TRAVERSE CITY — Commission candidate John Reid wants to shift money from building roads to beef up the number of people who patrol them.
Reid is competing against six other candidates to capture one of three, four-year terms on the city commission. He does not believe the city needs to continue spending $1.25 million a year on roads and would rather see the money used to boost the police and fire department staffs.
“We’ll still drive on bad roads, but if I have people breaking into my house or people getting shot up next to me, that’s more important than bumpy roads,” Reid said.
He supports Grand Traverse County’s road millage request, but would not support adding the $750,000 it would generate for the city on top of the $1.25 million the city already spends on roads.
“We got a lot done on $1.25 million; I don’t think the $2 million is needed,” Reid said. “We could have $750,000 to spend on other things.”
Reid is “100 percent opposed” to a proposal to consolidate Traverse City into the Grand Traverse Metro Fire Department that serves surrounding townships. Reid said Metro works for the townships but is not appropriate for the city. It would reduce service and the price would likely be the same, he believes.
Some residents expressed concern about the number of festivals at the Open Space but Reid said complaints have been overblown.
“My opinion on it is a couple of people complaining and making a huge stink about it,” Reid said. “We don’t have too many festivals at all.”
Reid said the rent to use the Open Space is too cheap and the city doesn’t follow through when promoters don’t follow rules. He said the city should encourage the use of other areas besides the Open Space but embrace festivals because they bring business and money to the city.
“To say no to festivals and make a huge deal about it is kind of asinine to me,” he said.
Reid also disagrees with those who claim the National Cherry Festival has grown too large. He believes it’s smaller today than it was 10 years ago.
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.
Reid said he is “up in the air” on allowing the tax increment financing district to expire.