Today is primary election day

August 7, 2012

Mason County voters will, for all practical purposes, be selecting their next sheriff, county treasurer, county surveyor and several commissioners today. Though the election is a primary election, meaning it is the chance to nominate the candidate for the party of your choice, the majority of the races are exclusively Republican. The only contested Democrat race in Mason County is for representative to the 101st state legislative district.

Though it is likely the winners of the county races in Tuesday primary will win that respective seat, they still will need to be officially elected in the November presidential election. A candidate may still choose to hold a write-in campaign.

County-wide voters will also be asked to renew millage proposals, one for Senior Citizens and one for Oakview Medical Care Facility.

Mason County Press will be providing live election results tonight, beginning 8:15 p.m. You may follow us on Facebook, www.facebook.com/masoncountypress or on Twitter, @MasonCoPress

Sheriff’s race: Sheriff Jeff Fiers of Custer is seeking re-election. His opponent is Kim Cole of Pere Marquette Township, a sergeant with the sheriff’s office. Fiers was elected in 2008 when he ran as a Democrat and defeated Republican Laude Hatrum.

Both Fiers and Cole bring several years experience to the office. Fiers’ primary campaign focus has been his ability to operate the department within and under the budget. Cole’s primary focus has been his leadership abilities.

One of the major topics to come up during the campaign has been the low morale in the department. Cole has said Fiers is out of touch with the deputies, only communicating with the administrative staff and sergeants. Fiers has said the sergeants are responsible for morale, not him.

Fiers has talked extensively about the three neighborhood watch programs he has started during his term. Fiers contributes the Sherman Township watch as one of the reasons crime in the Tallman Lake area has gone down 50 percent in the last 3 years. Cole said the watch programs are good but need to include the deputies, not just the sheriff.

During a recent candidates’ forum, Fiers said he believes he has been one of the most visible sheriffs in decades, mainly because he attends every township board meeting in the county. However, the sheriff also admitted he rarely has direct contact with the media and sees the media as only selling controversy. Fiers said Undersheriff Tom Trenner is the main contact with the media.

Cole said he believes the media should be considered an outlet to communicate with the taxpayers and residents of the county. He said if he is elected sheriff the department will be more transparent with information and much more media friendly.

Treasurer’s race: Shirley Smith of Fountain and Sherry Wyman of Scottville are both running as Republican candidates for county treasurer, replacing retiring Treasurer Tim Hansen.

Smith is currently the chief deputy treasurer and has worked in that office for 12 years. Wyman is co-owner of Wyman Funeral and Cremation Services, owners of Stephens Funeral Home.

Both candidates have many years experience in business and bookkeeping.

Surveyor race: Noah Penn of Ludington and John Schulke of Custer Township are running for the surveyor position. Like the treasurer’s race, both candidates bring several years experience with them in surveying.

Ballot proposals. Below is the wording that will appear on the ballots for the county ballot proposals.

 

OAKVIEW MEDICAL CARE FACILITY MILLAGE PROPOSAL

This proposal is for the reauthorization of a millage, which expired with the 2011 tax levy.

Shall the limitation of the amount of property taxes which may be assessed each year against all taxable

real and personal property in Mason County be increased by not more than 0.9715 of a mill ($0.9715 on each $1000 of taxable value) for a period of six (6) years, December 1, 2012, to November 30, 2018, inclusive, to provide funds for the operation, maintenance and capital costs of the Oakview Medical Care Facility and shall Mason County levy the millage for this purpose thereby raising an estimated $1,493,900 in the first year of the levy?

 

SENIOR CITIZEN MILLAGE PROPOSAL RENEWAL

Shall the limitation on taxes which may be assessed against all property in the County of Mason, State of Michigan, be increased by and the Mason County Board of Commissioners be authorized to levy an amount not to exceed .2979 of a mill ($0.2979 on each$1,000.00 of taxable valuation) for a period of 6 years, 2012 to 2017, inclusively, for the purpose of providing funds for the operation, maintenance or

renovation/expansion of Senior Centers and Senior Citizen programs in Mason County?

This levy will generate approximately $454,978.00 in the 2012 calendar year

Other ballot proposals include:

  • Pere Marquette Township public transportation service millage, up to .4 mill.
  • Sherman Township road improvement millage, 1 mill from 2013 to 1018.

See more election information at http://www.masoncounty.net/content.aspx?Page=Elections&departmentID=5 .

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

 

Story and photos by Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

 

 

Legally Speaking: Consent to search

Betten Baker Ford

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