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Scott Sieffert

Traverse City -- Scott Sieffert had to do something other than sit back and allow his frustration to build over how the city commission spends his tax money.

"You know what they say, 'If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem,'" he said. "So I thought maybe I could throw my hat into the ring. I can't do any worse."

He is one of five candidates, including two incumbents, up for three four-year commission terms on the Nov. 6 ballot.

Sieffert, 37, is a state corrections officer. He lives on Eighth Street and has never served on a community board, but said his years working for government will help.

"I know where the fat is spent, and I know where to cut it," he said.

He wants improved streets and infrastructure and hopes to see changes in what he contends has been poor, indecisive commission leadership.

Voters also are asked in a ballot proposal to approve spending Brown Bridge Trust Fund money to work on city streets, sidewalks and sewers. Sieffert wants the work done but advised against using the fund to do it. The city hasn't seen the worst of the economy or housing situation, so it'd be irresponsible to start dipping into the fund, he said.

He pointed to commissioners' 2006 handling of a public parking project on West Front Street as an example of their indecisiveness.

Voters by a 71-29 percent margin opposed using city bonds to fund the 145 W. Front St. deck after all but one commissioner supported it. He predicted the developers won't end up building the deck.

"(Commissioners') behavior ultimately made the project what it is today," he said. "I don't think they listened to anybody except for a couple people."

He said he's in favor of public parking if it benefits the community and the city doesn't foot the bill. He wanted to see more plans before forming an opinion on other public parking projects in the works and said he'd look at them with a critical eye.

The commission recently formed a citizens committee of nearly 50 people to study the city's finances and operations and tell commissioners what they think.

Sieffert isn't a fan of the committee, which he sees as a way for commissioners to sidestep responsibility. He's also concerned with how the project, budgeted for up to $100,000, will be funded.

He's not sure about a proposed ordinance to allow accessory dwelling units in certain residential zones. The city could use more affordable housing, but he was skeptical of how that could work if adding the rentals increases individual property taxes, he said.

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