Village election results in
September 21, 2011 - By Gabriel Ouzounian
Review Staff Writer
Final results for the recent Lake Orion Village Council election are in and, while the changes aren't many, one long-time member lost by just one vote.
Douglas Dendel, who joined the council in 1982, is out – replaced by newcomer and write-in candidate Shauna Brown. She received 76 votes from the 168 registered voters who participated, while Dendel garnered 75.
Other candidates who secured seats on the council included frontrunners write-in candidate Ken Van Portfliet (112 votes), Michael Toth (93 votes) and David Churchill (80 votes). A third write-in candidate and second non-incumbent was Jim Zsenyuk, who received 70 votes.
Toth, who joined the council in 2005, said he was both relieved and excited at the results.
"I'm very pleased, since I feel I've done a good job and the people voted accordingly," Toth said. "I'm excited with the new make-up of the village council. We have the opportunity to make amends with the business owners, DDA and residents to do what is in the best interests of the village.
"Time changes things and we need to make changes in the village to keep it relevant and encourage people to be here, or we'll lose them."
Van Portfliet said he too was looking forward to working on the new council and believes there is momentum building in the downtown area. He was also happy with the outcome and said the results served to let him know he was doing a good job.
"The fact that I was a write-candidate - you get the affirmation that you're either doing things right or not doing them right from the voters," he said. "I mean how do you know how you're doing until they vote?"
Van Portliet said during the election he obtained a lot of input from people in the village, and knows there are some improvements that need to be made, including how the council gathers information and makes decisions.
Another objective that needs to be addressed, he said, is improving the communication process between the council and the DDA, so the relationship is more constructive.
He added that having the soon-to-be-opened Broadway Grille, the remodeled Leo's Coney Island, and the new 51 North Brewery coming into downtown, as well as plans to update several village buildings in the near future, makes being on the council exciting at this time.
Lake Orion Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Suzanne Perreault also shared her thoughts on the recent council change.
"I'm very optimistic about the future," she said. "The returning council members were wonderful to work with in the past and we look forward to success moving forward.
"I think we share the same goals in recruiting and supporting businesses in the downtown."
The 168 voters who voted represent just over seven percent of the village's registered voters, which includes more than 2,000 people. There were just 11 absentee ballots cast.