Saline’s next leader will soon be decided by voters.
Mayoral candidates Brian Marl and Glenn Law faced off in a debate Monday addressing a host of local issues, including infrastructure, finances and creating a more diverse community.
The debate was sponsored by Saline’s Coalition for a Quality Community and moderated by Scott Lemm.
During the debate, Marl and Law talked about how best to tackle some of the town's needs.
“The biggest issue facing Saline at this point is our financial situation,” Law said. “We need to keep our financial house in order.”
He added that it’s important for the city to watch how taxpayer money is spent and urged officials to proceed carefully with future projects.
Marl said he feels the biggest issue facing Saline is the downturn of the economy.
“Even though things are improving, the city has lost revenue and families and businesses are still struggling," he said. “As mayor I would be committed to going through every possibility for city government to be more efficient and to save precious taxpayer dollars.”
Marl said developing more efficient services could include developing partnerships with community agencies and surrounding communities, as well as eliminating unneeded services.
Reduced personal tax, lower property values and loss of industrial base also was discussed.
Law said he would encourage state representatives and legislators to replace the personal property tax.
“The next mayor has to be ready to act,” Law said, adding that businesses need personal property tax to grow and succeed.
Marl said he would work with state lawmakers and federal officials to protect Saline’s interests.
“I have experience and understanding to advocate for Saline,” he said.
Marl said the city must advocate to expand local tax base, and that government plays a key role in business development.
“I would seek out new opportunities and nurture existing relationships,” he said.
The city's relationship with schools also was discussed.
Law said he thinks it’s important for the city and schools to collaborate.
“We need to join forces and team up,” he said. “I would like to see more interaction with the city and schools.”
He said the city and schools should streamline services to cut costs.
Marl said he supports identifying and eliminating redundancies with the city and schools.
“I want to partner with schools every opportunity I have,” he said.
Both candidates agreed that schools are important in creating diversity in the community.
Marl and Law offered suggestions making Saline a more diverse community.
Law said working with the school district to diversify the community is another example of how the city and schools can collaborate and also welcome minorities to the city at the same time.
“Saline is a welcoming city and we have a lot of opportunities to have a diverse community," he said.
Marl also said Saline is a welcoming city, and creating a more diverse community will rely on strong public safety, world class infrastructure, economic opportunities and world class schools.
The winning candidate in the Nov. 6 general election will replace Gretchen Driskell, who is running in the 52nd District state House race against incumbent Mark Ouimet.