Ludington mayoral candidate Miller hoping for more housing, jobs.

October 31, 2018

Steve Miller

Ludington mayoral candidate Miller hoping for more housing, jobs.


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Bill Dustman and Steve Miller are the two candidates running for mayor of Ludington, replacing Kaye Holman, who will be retiring at the end of this year. The mayoral election will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 6 during the General Election. The position is elected on a four-year term with the responsibility of leading the city council meetings, appointing committees, and establishing a vision and goals for the city. The mayor is not allowed to vote, except in the case of a tie, and the mayor has no authority to hire or fire personnel, or to make any other day-to-day operating decisions on how the city is operated; that is the responsibility of the appointed city manager and the elected clerk and treasurer. This story features candidate Miller.

LUDINGTON — Steve Miller grew up in Ludington. His family moved to town when he was a child in the early 1960s, when his dad got a job at Dow Chemical. After high school, Miller moved away to attend college at University of Michigan. He said he spent most of his career working in the restaurant and lodging industry in southeastern Michigan. A few years ago he moved back to Ludington to retire. However, to keep occupied, he took on a job working in sales and sports broadcasting for a local radio station until this past summer.

Miller said he has spent time being involved in city government and the local business community. His vision for the city includes create affordable housing, grow the job market, improve communications between citizens and city hall, and continue to make improvements to the city’s standard of living.

“I’ve been active in community events most of my adult life, anything from school activities, helping the community when I lived in Ann Arbor and Chelsea and then when I came back up here I got involved with the Downtown Development Authority. I continued to make contacts through my position with the radio station and got to know more of the business leaders, the political leaders, school administrator, etc. As time presented I put my name in for Fifth Ward Councilor when Nick Tykoski resigned. I was later approached by some people who asked if I would be interested in running for mayor. After some discussions with them, I said I would take that on.

“Rather than pointing fingers at the city council and the city manager, I would prefer to figure out the best way to keep information flowing. We need to take a serious look at housing and jobs in this community. It’s difficult to decide which of those two areas should have priority, though. If we were bring in a plant that employed 300 people, as an example, the City of Ludington, nor the surrounding area, would be able to house those people at this time. So, we need to establish affordable housing. I want people to understand that while I have a concern for our entire county, as mayor, my focus is really on what happens within the city limits of Ludington.”

Earlier this year City Manager John Shay resigned to take on a new position in Ottawa County. The council has delayed hiring a permanent replacement for the manager until after the election.

“Personally, I would like to see someone with experience, someone with a good communication skill set and someone who has management skills. The city manager is the CEO. He makes the decisions.”

Miller said two of the top priorities for the city is creating more jobs and also providing affordable housing for its residents.

“The two biggest comments or complaints I have heard from people is that there aren’t enough jobs and there isn’t enough housing,” he said. “The question is, which do you work on first? If we were to create 300 new jobs we currently would have no place to put them, so it really makes sense to focus on establishing more housing here in the city. We need to look at what property is available.”

Miller said Ludington could add another 500 to 700 residents without causing a hardship on its current municipal infrastructure. He added that the Ludington Area School District’s discussions on building new facilities is relevant to the topic of housing.

“I am a strong proponent of passing a school millage to build new schools. I believe that the present elementary schools could be used for housing. We have to look forward in this town. While it’s nice to have fond memories of buildings, those are not the memories of our children and grandchildren. We have to provide the best opportunities that we can for our future citizens.”

Miller said the West Ludington Avenue project is another example of positive change. He said many people have been passionately opposed to the project because of a perceived nostalgic memory.

“This is a great example of how it is necessary for our city to continually evolve and adapt. Let’s face reality, our town’s primary industry is the tourist industry. If we don’t make improvements we will lose out to competing towns like Grand Haven and Traverse City.”

Miller said if he is elected, he plans to establish an office at city hall. He said he would be available for citizens to talk to at the office, on the phone or via email.

“As mayor, you have to have the ability to communicate in a reasonable and effective manner,” he said.

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