Source: Sherman Publications

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Young and Thurber compare the dollars for treasurer

by Trevor Keiser

July 18, 2012

Mark Thurber and Alice Young debate during the Orion Neighborhood Television (ONTV) candidate forum. Photo by T. Keiser
Incumbent Alice Young and Mark Thurber throw in their chips for Orion Township Treasurer.

Continuing to make improvements serve the citizens of Orion Township is why Alice Young, 80 is running for reelection

During her past eight years, Young said she has "instituted many improvements, revamped monthly financial statements to provide relevant and accurate information to our Board and to the public, as well as modernized systems to make it easier to do business with our citizens."

"One example is we now have the ability to pay certain bills by credit card," added Young. "I want to continue to ensure that our funds and investments are safeguarded, and that we continue to operate with a balanced budget."

As for her top priority list facing the township, Young said the economy.

"We are experiencing decreased revenue," she said. "We must continue to encourage development to increase our tax base and continue to reduce our costs to maintain a balanced budget."

With the both the police and the fire seeking millage renewals and the police also seeking additional millage, ensuring public safety remains high on her list.

"Both these services are mandated, and if funds are insufficient, the township must supplement their income from the general fund," noted Young.

Communication should also be a priority, she said.

"We must promote public hearings for sensitive subjects," added Young. "I will call for a public hearing any time I think it is necessary or appropriate."

Why should she be elected? Young said "the most significant attribute" she brings to the table is her desire to serve.

"In addition to serving as Orion Township Treasurer, I serve on many committees. Representing our Board, I serve on the Paint Creek Trailway, the Polly Ann Trailway , and the Orion Senior Advisory Council," she said. "In addition, I serve as Treasurer on Friends of the Orion Senior Center, Friends of the Paint Creek Trail, Orion Historical Society, and Church Street Singers. I am a member of the Friends of Orion Public Library, Orion Area Chamber of Commerce and others."

Young received her Bachelor's and Master's degree from Wayne State University. As a CPA, she was an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers) where she gained experience with a variety of entities including municipalities.

"I then entered the private sector where I was Vice President of Administration," she said. "I supervised all internal departments including accounting, pension administration, support staff, and I negotiated contracts."

She also was an adjunct instructor at Wayne State University and taught at Oakland Community College and Baker College.

"I am the proud mother of five sons and nine grandchildren, who are the 'lights of my life,'" added young.

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Prior to moving to Orion Township Mark Thurber, 48 said he had no political aspirations or had even been involved in politics at all, but since coming to Orion he has come to love the community and "wants to preserve what the community holds dear."

"I want my kids to be proud of and appreciate where they grew up and hope they will also raise their families here. We all put so much of our lives into our career," he said. "I am running for Orion Township Treasurer so that my dedication and skills can be applied to our Township, which directly affects those most important to me: my family and neighbors."

Thurber said the Township's first priority issue is the projected declining fund balance in both the general, police and fire Funds.

"Business must be brought to the township to increase the tax base," he said. "However, I still recognize that my position also involves careful planning and policy making for the development of our township."

The second issue he sees is a "lack of transparency" in the current administration.

"We must produce a citizen's guide to the township's finances and a performance "dashboard" to be posted on the Township website," he added.

"Finally, Thurber believes their needs to be "sensible strategic planning."

"Short and long term strategies for growth and planned development that will preserve our unique culture, charm, and quality of life must be developed," said Thurber.

His most recent professional experience is in purchasing and finance for a United States automaker, prior to that he was in upper management and operation of private sector companies, with focus on research and development and international growth.

"For my entire professional career, I have had complete budget responsibility, and I have managed budgets that far exceed those of the Township," added Thurber. "My highly diversified industrial experience and business acumen have prepared me for this position with distinction. I am not content with standing still and being complacent. Improvement and accomplishment are part of my nature."

Thurber is married and a father of three children. His formal education is in the chemical and engineering fields, which he received a bachelor's degree from Oakland University. He also holds several patents and has authored a number of published articles. His hobbies include volleyball, auto racing, skiing and scuba diving.

"Being a successful leader in the community should not just mean holding office, but include being involved in and supporting many of our local groups, organizations and activities," he said. "Community involvement is a hallmark of Orion; something I will support and much as possible. This is part of the job I greatly look forward to."