BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
Steven C. Percival is running unopposed for mayor of the City of the Village of Clarkston in Tuesday’s election.
“Running for a city political office was never my intent in the past until the current mayor asked me to consider it,” Percival said. “My leadership, supervisory, MBA, military and construction background along with my servant leadership style will assist me to tackle the job.”
His top three issues are increasing revenue, parking, and facilities.
“We will do it with complete transparency,” Percival said. “I am currently involved in all three of these areas and we are making some great headway.”
Increasing revenue doesn’t mean raising taxes, he said.
“I mean utilizing our current assets to leverage our base. Really, it means I want to turn our two city parking lots into paid parking lots,” he said. “We have nearly 100 parking spaces within the two parking lots that the city owns. I propose these two lots, during the peak evening hours 4-10 p.m., become paid parking lots.”
Acquiring two, used pay-parking stations and installing them in these lots has the potential to bring in around $100,000 to $150,000+ per year, at $1 per hour, he said.
“That is huge to a city that does not have many avenues to increasing significant revenue without raising taxes,” he said. “This does not impact the residents of the city as much as it affects the folks coming to town to enjoy one of our world class restaurants, and they can afford a few bucks for parking. This is not going to cause folks to make a decision not to come to Clarkston because we have world class restaurants.”
The additional revenue stream can be used to increase downtown street seating, enhance the park, purchase more park space, give residents a tax break, build a debt free DPW building or addition, bike paths, better sidewalks, and better wages for city staff.
“Without new revenue streams we will have to raise taxes,” he said. “This city cannot continue to take from reserves without new taxes or new revenue streams. I want to create the new revenue stream and give the tax payers a break.”
The city’s parking issue will be compounded when the second of two new restaurants open soon, Percival said.
“We have already continued and started the process of working with businesses who have off street parking that could be shared during the evening hours,” he said. “We found there are some 230 parking spaces underutilized after normal business hours that could be used for restaurant patrons. This is only half the problem since our businesses during the day are experiencing some issues that need immediate attention.”
Currently, city officials are meeting with key community stakeholders to explore shared parking during the evening and are looking at the possibility of creating some on street and off street, inexpensive temporary parking, to move business employees to, thus opening current parking in city lots for business patrons, he said.
“We will not be entertaining parking garages or vast open parking areas that exceed our needs. Strategic relationships and placement of new smaller lots, help us to assist everyone during this parking issue,” he said.
He is a member of the Facilities Committee, which is moving forward, he said.
“This has been by far one of the hardest working committees we have in the city as they meet on a weekly basis to handle the current facility’s needs,” he said. “We have secured storage space for all our department needs, giving us some needed time to research and develop a plan to present to the City Council for future needs.”
Nothing is off the table, he said.
“We need adequate space and we need it within two years as our lease will end. This is not only for the DPW needs however. It includes the needs for city offices as well and the possibility of added pavilions in Depot Park,” he said.
He has been elected to the Oakland County Personnel Appeals board for the past 10 election cycles. He also sits on the Solid Waste Management Board for Oakland County.
“It was an honor to sit on Independence Township’s Financial Advisory Committee and the Construction Code Board of Appeals. These public services along with the work on the City’s Facilities Committee will assist me as well,” he said.
In Clarkston, he will fight to keep the city a city, he said.
“We will endeavor to enhance the charm we all know as our hometown, and we will strengthen our position financially in order to offer our citizens the best, although limited, services we can,” he said. “I look forward to working with each and every council member currently on the city council and those who may be elected on Nov. 8. All will do a great job and all should be commended for past, present, and future volunteer work. We are Clarkston because of our roots; mine go back to 1969 and I am proud to have called this little hamlet my home for 47 years, regardless how far away I may have been.
Currently, he is director of campus safety for Baker College of Auburn Hills, and is a past supervisor for Oakland County Children’s Village. Before that, he served as a counterintelligence special agent and a military police officer with the United States Army in Germany.
Running for three open, two-year seats on Clarkston City Council in the Nov. 8 election are incumbent Council members Sharron Catallo and Michael G. Sabol, and challengers Rick Detkowski, Jr. and Sue Wylie.
In Independence Township, Patrick J. Kittle is running unopposed for supervisor; Barbara A. Pallotta, unopposed for clerk; and Paul A. Brown, unopposed for treasurer. Running unopposed for township trustee are Jose Aliaga, Rachel Loughrin, Ronald A. Ritchie, and Andrea K. Schroeder.
In Springfield Township, Collin Walls is running for supervisor; Laura Moreau, clerk; Jamie L. Dubre, treasurer; and Marc Cooper, Judy Hensler, Dave Hopper, and Denny Vallad for trustee, all unopposed.
Incumbents Cheryl McGinnis and Greg Need are running for two, six-year terms on the Clarkston Board of Education. Andrea Catalina and Larry Osentoski are running for one partial term on the school board, ending Dec. 31, 2018.