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Local election races: County Commission

October 27, 2010 - John Bingham Jr., an Orion Township resident and the democratic candidate for County Commission District 3, did not return a call from the Review.

Michael J. Gingell (R), first elected Oakland County Commissioner, District 3, in November 2006, says he's ready to come back and continue his work with the commission, where he's currently serving as Vice Chairman of the Board.

Gingell, 39, is vice president at R. L. Polk, an automotive information company headquartered in Southfield, and believes his business education and experience make him best qualified to win the District 3 seat.

Fiscal responsibility, economic development and a continued focus on the county's housing issue, he said, are priorities.

While the county is constantly working to revise and adjust a budget that looks three years into the future, Gingell said, forecasting and planning only go so far as revenues dwindle.

"Taxable values are down significantly," he said. "That's how we fund our programs -current projections say it will be at least ten years before we're back where we were. We have gaping holes in the budget."

Gaping holes, he said, that leave him and other members of the commission with tough choices; of the easy cuts have already been made.

"We're to the point where we're addressing people and programs," Gingell said. "We're have to start looking at cuts to services we're not required to provide verses things like the Sheriff's patrol, public safety - which are mandated services and critical to keep."

But while it sounds like doom and gloom, Gingell says he's working on the other side of the issues, too.

"We need to continue to invest in our economic development," he said, noting it's one area the county budget ax hasn't fallen on. "The focus has to be on continuing to bring companies here, because that will address some of the issues related to our housing supply; if we can stimulate demand, over time we're going to address the supply issue and hopefully, over time, drive prices back up.

Things like the county's continued investment in emerging sectors, a recently-launched small business loan program and support of businesses once the set up shop helps bring small businesses in, he added. Those businesses will also help increase economic viability over time.

During his time with the Oakland County Commission, Gingell served as vice chairman of the Finance Committee and chairman of the Finance Audit Committee, and was also a member of the Human Resources Committee and an alternate member on the Sanitary Appeal Board.

Prior to his election to the county commission, Gingell served six years on the Orion Township Board of Trustees, four on the township ZBA and six on the Safety Path Committee. He's also involved with a number of community organizations.

Gingell, who earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration from Oakland University and a a Master of Business Administration Degree from Wayne State lives in Orion Township with his wife Karen and their three children.

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