Democrats sweep Meridian Township

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By Julianne Pitcher
and Lauren Evasic
Meridian Times staff writers

As Election Day came to a close, Meridian gained a new township board after residents casted their votes at 19 polling locations.

Residents voted for a range of township positions, including supervisor, clerk, treasurer and four trustees. It was announced at around 10:30 p.m. that the Democratic candidates would fill all of these seats.

Milton Scales, appointed as a township trustee, said, “The results of this election changed the makeup of the board from a political stance. It was a complete democratic sweep of all the positions this year.”

LeGoff takes on township supervisor position
Elizabeth LeGoff has become the township’s supervisor. With this opportunity, LeGoff said she will work closely with the business community and encourage new businesses to locate to Meridian Township.

“Many businesses have closed, and few are opening,” said LeGoff. “The new theater and restaurant headquarters should provide stimulation to the township economy.”

LeGoff said she will not push for the Urban Service Boundary, which she calls “an artificially drawn line, drawn by the Planning Commission and tweaked by members of the board.”

Dreyfus elected township clerk
Brett Dreyfus was announced the new township clerk. Dreyfus credited his victory to nine years of experience.

Dreyfus said, “My public service background covers all aspects of Meridian Township government and a huge range of issues and concerns. Voters saw that I am dedicated, energized and passionate about representing all citizens in the Township, not just the special interests and those with deep pockets.”

As the first Democratic clerk in over 40 years, Dreyfus plans on increasing communication between the office and the public by using technology and social media, Dreyfus said.

“One of my highest priorities is to establish an Urban Services Management Plan, which will protect the eastern third of our township from excessive development and allow us to maintain the rural character we all desire,” Dreyfus said.

Dreyfus plans to stay true to his campaign slogan during his term: “I am building a 21st century environmentally and economically sustainable community!”

Brixie becomes township treasurer
Julie Brixie was appointed township treasurer. Brixie said she believes it was her hard work over the years as a Meridian Township board member that resonated with voters to make this happen.

“My experience as treasurer, collecting and investing township funds, along with my eight years of experience as a trustee and experience as a planning commissioner and zoning board of appeals member, will help me make good decisions for the township,” said Brixie.

Brixie plans to continue the sound collection and investment policies she put into place over the past four years. She also said she is looking forward to guiding the township to an economic recovery.

Four township trustee positions filled

Nine candidates ran for the four Meridian Township trustee positions. The results declared that all four Democrats received a seat on the board. Ronald Styka, Angela Wilson, John Veenstra and Milton Scales were appointed the positions.

When asked what set her apart as a Democrat, Wilson said, “I think the democratic candidates really worked together this year as far as promoting the same message of being positive and working toward moving Meridian in the right direction in a positive manner.”

When asked what set him apart as an individual candidate, Scales said, “It was my 30-year work record, where I served almost half of these years as a state administrator.

Styka said, “I believe that my experience in state government and as a school board
trustee was appreciated by the voters.”

The elected candidates were asked what they plan on accomplishing during their first few weeks as a township trustee.

Wilson said, “I hope to connect with our residents on a consistent basis and have an open-door policy. I’d like to hold regular coffee hours maybe once a month and reach out to home owner association groups, so that when issues come up, they feel comfortable enough to bring their concerns to the board.”

Scales said, “One of the first things I want to do is find someone younger than me to replace me on the planning commission. It is extremely important that we focus on bringing younger people to the table.”

Styka said, “I can’t say what issue will come up first, but planning and development are on the agenda. Going out for bidding on the new fire station, which was approved, will be coming up soon too.”

Veenstra said one of the most important issues within the township is that it is a nice place to live. Veenstra believes Meridian Township needs more pathways, bicycle lanes and bicycle racks.

Veenstra also said he is focused on recycling, the conservation of energy and global warming.

“We need to step up our efforts at encouraging energy conservation,” said Veenstra.

Many decisions are made at the local level that affect residents’ everyday lives. The new Democratic board hopes to make the best choices on behalf of the community, said Styka.

Board positions begin Tuesday, Nov. 20 at noon. They will serve 4-year terms.

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