Dear Sterling Heights Neighbor,

Over the past four months, I have been walking door to door meeting with many residents. I am honored to have met you and fully understand your desire for elected officials who are truly focused on serving the public competently and with integrity.

I fully intend to abide by these standards, including a focus on greater government transparency and accountability. City government needs to eliminate wasteful expenditures of our tax dollars, introduce sensible spending and concentrate on highest priority needs: essential safety services, public works and repair of MORE local roads.

Open the door to a sensible voice for City Council! Please vote for Sanaa Elias Tuesday, November 7th!


THESE ARE SOME OF MY CONCERNS:

HONEST GOVERNMENT: The Council needs to be more transparent and accountable to residents.

  • I was concerned how the waste collection bidding process was handled by the City Council. Councilman Nate Shannon proposed to put the garbage contract to bid based upon a saving of $500,000.  I was curious how such savings could be claimed prior to any bids. After Rizzo Environmental Services received the Sterling Heights contract, in addition to other municipalities, Rizzo sold the company to GFL, a Canadian Company.   In addition, many local officials and individuals at Rizzo Environmental Services were later charged with bribery. 
  • The City Council voted to remove the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Transport from Universal Ambulance, a private company and placed it within the City’s Fire Department.   I am concerned whether this is a fiscally sound and responsible decision.  When Universal Ambulance handled the service, it was the patient who was responsible for the cost of transport for a medical emergency. With the removal of such service to the Fire Department, we, the taxpayers, will now incur all the costs associated with having an in-house medical transport; hiring 15 firefighters (salaries, health, retirement costs), purchasing 5 new ambulances, and spending for maintenance, equipment and supplies to maintain the EMS Transport service.  Now ALL taxpayers will be funding this additional service.  Could this be the beginning step to consolidation of Fire Dept. services with other communities? Here is a limited breakdown for the EMS Transport Services:


Now the residents will be paying for: Previously what residents paid for:
Ambulance Transport Service Ambulance Transport Service Only
15 Firefighters salaries N/A
15 Firefighters Healthcare & Retirement N/A
5 Ambulances N/A
Medical Equipment & Supplies N/A
Repairs & Maintenance N/A
Liability and Insurance costs N/A
  • Code enforcement— Well maintained homes increase surrounding home market values and benefit all in the community. Our City needs to better communicate to existing and new homeowners our shared community goal to maintain their homes as required by City ordinance. If there are violations, our City needs to be reasonable in allowing sufficient time to correct the issues. If the property owners need assistance, we can suggest service organizations that can help them. There must be a balance of property ownership responsibilities while respecting our residents who committed to purchase, pay taxes and maintain their homes.


SENSIBLE SPENDING:

Our taxpayers work hard to pay their taxes and many are struggling. Our city government should not saddle them with additional unnecessary and wasteful spending.   (Beware: There are candidates currently running that don’t feel we are spending enough of your tax dollars.) I believe in being practical and sensible when it comes to our city’s spending habits.

Here are some examples of wasteful expenditures by our current City Council:

  • Four – 40’ Mile Markers on the median on Van Dyke; on 15, 16, 17 & 18 Mile.  These four large screen towers cost over $300,000 . Why are these decorative art pieces needed since we have new street signs on the arms of the new traffic lights?  Wouldn't it be better to redirect these monies to repair MORE local roads or other essential services?
  • Two Golden Rings are to be installed on the median on Hall Road.  Again, why are we decorating our median when monies could be directed to more essential services?
  • An $80,000 art piece to be placed on the roundabout on Utica & Dodge Road.  Is this art piece a necessary and wise use of your tax dollars? Might it create a distraction for the drivers navigating the roundabout?    
  • Irrigation on both Van Dyke and Hall Road medians -such irrigation could become an unnecessary watering expense to the taxpayers.   If the City placed hardy grass, flowers and trees, there would likely not be additional watering needs during the summer months.  Yet interestingly, our City recommends homeowners water their lawn on alternate days.
  • The City sued the Macomb Interceptor Drainage District (MIDD) board members, Macomb County Public Works Commissioner Marrocco and others as a result of the Interceptor/Drain Repair Costs. Would proper inspections have prevented the interceptor collapse and the excessive cost to all? The county and/or the city failed to properly inspect the interceptor after taking it over from the City of Detroit.



I would encourage practical spending; not an “all or nothing” approach:

  • I believe it would have been far more sensible for the City Council to have proposed "Phasing In” the “Recreating Recreation” park projects over time, rather than introducing all projects at once. It could have been paid out of general funds in stages, rather than placing a 20-year millage costing the taxpayers well over $45 million dollars. In attending the City sponsored park project studies, I question why the council ignored the feedback they received from the residential studies by pushing for an “all-or-nothing” approach.
  • Although our economy is currently in the upswing, economic challenges occur and the City needs to be prepared for the downturns. Practical and sensible approaches to our government spending needs to be introduced now.


RESPECTING VOICE OF THE PEOPLE:

  • The current City Council needs to respectfully listen to the concerns of its residents. They voted to reduce the public’s individual speaking time from 7 minutes to 4 minutes.
  • The City Council needs to address important questions brought forth by residents.  If a question was asked, then all residents deserve a meaningful response from our Council. If not able to respond immediately, the Council certainly should research the issue and better inform the public.





© 2017 SANAA ELIAS FOR CITY COUNCIL. Paid for by Sanaa Elias for City Council, 3841 Eclipse Court, Sterling Heights, MI 48310 Contact Me