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One man for mayor

Luginski runs unopposed

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October 20, 2010 - History is repeating it self as the race for city mayor is an unopposed one man show for the Nov. 2 election.

When Joe Luginski heard City Mayor Steve Arkwright was not running for reelection and no one else was stepping forward, he decided to throw his hat in the ring.

Luginski had originally considered just running for council, but said he was approached by a lot of people who suggested he should go for mayor.

"I do think the city is at a crossroads right now," he said. There are some big decisions and emotional issues that have been out and are still out. I think someone's got to try and bring it all together, someone who has the leadership qualities and management skills to do that. My wife and I are here for the long run, so I decided I should probably do it and would be a good idea."

Luginski and his wife Melissa have lived in the City of the Village of Clarkston for about a year, after buying the "Clark House," on Main Street and have been active in the community since. Joe is chairman of the Clarkston Mill Pond Lake Improvement Board, served on the Planning Commission Streets Committee, Knights of Columbus and volunteered with the Clarkston Community Historical Society. Melissa serves on the Historic District Commission.

Luginski who's been to nearly every meeting since last Nov. said the current issues at hand are being a city or not a city, zoning, and concerns of what will happen to certain buildings within the city, along with the continuation of the budget.

"Money is going to continue to be a challenge, so we're going to have to get creative in how we handle that," he said. "I think we're going to really, really look at any discretionary spending and see what is necessary and what isn't."

Luginski said according to the current budget, the city is OK for the next three years, but it will be tight, but beyond that he said it's merely speculation.

"Even two or three years out is speculation," he said. "We have to be proactive where the budget needs to be and how are we going balance it to make sure we don't run into the same situation that we did this past year where we were facing a huge deficit."

He would love to see more people come to meetings, so they understand where the City is currently at with issues and budgets. However, with the new website he said everything should be posted including budgets, meeting minutes, agendas, everything.

"Transparency to me it's being as open and honest, letting people know all the information you have," Luginski said. "It should not be done in a vacuum, there shouldn't be things going on that the people don't know. It should all be very open information."

He also would like to have the meeting's audio recorded and posted on the website.

"I understand, not everybody can make every meeting on Monday night, but it gives them more of an opportunity to listen to what's going on," he said. "That's part of transparency."

Luginski said he is committed to "Preserve, Protect, and Progress."

"We need to preserve the historic character of this town. 150 is the number of structures in this town that are designated historic," he said. "The people who have worked hard to maintain that historic aspect, we need to appreciate what they've done and support them going forward."

He believes the city still has control over its own destiny and there is a "sense of community" he doesn't want to lose.

"There are only 30 Main Street communities in Oakland County. We're one of them, and we don't want that to go away. We really need to do our due diligence in protecting that."

Ways to progress he says is for the city to advance its involvement in the Oakland County Main Streets program and actively support the chamber of commerce and local retailers group.

"We want to make the downtown area a place where people want to shop, dine, live and work and enjoy family activities," he said. "Like taste of Clarkston and Octoberfest, Concerts in the Park, things like that"

After working 30 years in telecommunication management as a regional sales director and being responsible for $10 million to $50 million budgets, Joe is up for the challenges he will face if voted mayor.

"The key is to have a council the people can trust and they understand is doing best for them as residents," he said. "I think we can do that."

Check out next week's edition for Clarkston City Council candidate profiles.

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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