The following information was provided directly from the individual candidates running for Durand City Council. Information was edited for clarity. All candidates running were contacted.
Dr. Brian Boggs
Dr. Brian Boggs is running for Durand City Council (Precinct 1) because of “my strong leadership skills in public finance and governance. I have 17 years of experience on the Durand City Council in leadership roles. Also, as a professor, I teach people how to be city managers, county administrators, and school superintendent across the state. It is a combination of my experience in Durand, but also my professional expertise that allows me to advance Durand. Further, as the County Administrator, I am able to work closely at multiple levels of government to serve our community.”
Boggs shared he has worked to “build and improve Durand while maintaining our small-town-feel. The City has received over $8.5 million in grant funding that has been used for reconstructing the downtown, local streets, and economic development (including redeveloping the old junior high into Sycamore House and bringing SageLink headquarters to Durand). We have reconstructed 43 local streets and have a detailed plan for repaving the remaining streets. With the $10 million rural development infrastructure project, we have eliminated a great deal of flooding, installed miles of new sanitary sewer, water, and storm sewer pipes, and reconstructed several local streets.”
Durand is faced with three challenges, according to Boggs… “First, continuing to manage the multi-million-dollar finances and debt of the city while continuing to provide key services to the community. Second, continuing to have a robust street reconstruction plan. Third, continuing economic development in the City to create jobs in the area while developing a strong tax base to lower residential taxes and water/sewer rates.”
Jeff Brands is running for re-election to the Durand City Council (Precinct 2). He is 59 years old and a 33-year resident of Durand. He has been married for 33 years with two, grown children: Morgan and Cameron.
“I’ve been a councilman for the past 11 years,” Brand shared. “I’ve been a planning commissioner for 18 years and also on the parks board for the last six years. Some volunteers and I light up the downtown with Christmas lights every year. I have also designed, installed and maintained the landscaping in the downtown area. I’m proud to say that since I have been on council, the city has invested nearly $23 million in infrastructure and street improvements.”
“I don’t do the things I do for any type of recognition; I do it for the love of our city and making Durand the best it can be. I like helping people when they have questions regarding what’s going on in the city or why something was or wasn’t done,” he offered.
“My goals for Durand are to improve our parks facilities, including accessibility for all. Also, continue our infrastructure and street improvements, and make our city more walkable and bike friendly,” said Brands. “I will continue to pour my heard and soul into making Durand a place where people want to be.”
Deb Doyle currently serves as the mayor of the city of Durand where she has been an elected official for over 32 years, nearly half of that time as mayor. Doyle also serves on the Durand Planning Commission and the DDA. She has been the resident artist for Durand’s State Champion Marching Railroaders, Durand Rotary Club President and served on the Shiawassee County 911/Central Dispatch Board for 20 years. She is the former Michigan Municipal League President and Elected Officials Academy board member and has been an active member of multiple league committees, on the Michigan Association of Mayors Board, the MML Foundation Board and was the first graduate of the fourth level of the Elected Officials Academy program.
Doyle currently serves on the Worker’s Compensation Board. She was awarded an MML Honorary Life Membership in 2012 and the prestigious Jim Sinclair Exceptional Service Award this year.
Her work history was predominantly in drafting, at the drawing board and later on, the computer. She was certified in CADAM, Computer Aided Design and Manufacturing at Lansing Community College. More recently, she concentrates on her art and design work.
Doyle said, “I am proud of the accomplishments of the city council and staff. We have been lowering our millage, keeping a healthy financial condition, while still maintaining services and adding new events. The street program has resulted in new surface on over 60 percent of our streets. Several projects were impacted this year by the Covid crisis, but currently we expect them to commence again soon.”
Rich Folaron is running for re-election as the Durand City Council Member at Large. “I am honored to have served you for the last four years in this position,” he shared, via an email.
Folaron has called Durand home for 30 years. Along with his wife, Nancy, they have raised their children, Megan, Brian and PJ in Durand. “I love our community and hope to continue to make it a better place to live,” Folaron explained.
“I have worked 47 years in law enforcement, retiring from the Durand Police Department after 27 years as a patrolman, Chief of Police, and D.A.R.E. officer. I also served as the Lennon Police Chief and currently work as a Shiawassee County Sheriff’s Deputy in the courts,” he stated.
Folaron continued with, “Many exciting things have been happening throughout Durand. During my tenure, we have replaced seventy-five percent of the roads and updated a substantial amount of infrastructure. New businesses include Taco Bell, O’Reilly’s Auto Parts and 2nd Chance Wood. A new Valero building is under construction and Monroe Point Shell is expanding.
Folaron believes that, “Durand is growing steadily and we need to continue our improvements to welcome new businesses and housing development. I pledge to continue my efforts to ensure that Durand prospers for years to come. I respectfully ask the residents of Durand to vote for me as the City Council Member-at-Large on November 3rd.”
David Hildebrandt is running for Durand City Council At Large (Precinct 1 and 2). He is a longtime resident of Durand and has been a city employee for 25 plus years, working as a DPW mechanic and advancing to foreman. “All my experience is hands on at times the school of hard knocks,” Hildebrandt offered.
“The city needs positive change as it has not changed in years, which shows in our empty store fronts in our downtown district, very little new homes being built and (our) lower student counts, which has (led) to closing two schools,” he said.
Hildebrandt believes in common sense decision-making, stating “The good ol’ boys way of doing things is not working.”
“The city of Durand has great assets such as being on the I-69 corridor,” he explained. “Daily, thousands of cars drive by the city, yet we have nothing to draw them into our down town except for a few small businesses. Our rail system is another asset for industrial development. We have too many hurdles for new businesses, large and small. Other communities such as Morrice and Perry are continuing to grow, yet we haven’t? Why does our industrial park only have weeds, beans and corn growing in them?”
Hildebrandt would prefer to “start a new path in the right direction that brings Durand back to life.”
John Matejewski is running for re-election for Durand City Council (Precinct 2). In 2015, when he first became a member of the city council, he shared in a recent email he “could see the changes they had made and the direction they were headed, and I wanted to be a part of those changes and that direction. Now, five years later, I see more changes and a new direction in which we are headed.”
“We have started making some great street and infrastructure improvements and these improvements will continue until all the streets in the city are ungraded and/or are repaired, and sewer, storm and waterlines are repaired and/or replaced,” he stated. “These are a few of the things we are working on at this time and I want to continue working towards achieving these goals.”
Matejewski explained, “I would like to work together on getting a developer to come into Durand and build new homes on the available city owned lots. We need more housing. I would also like to continue working with the RR to eventually get all the tracks in town repaired. I will continue working on the growth of Durand, eg: housing and new businesses. In the last five years our businesses have grown by approximately 12 new businesses. I would like to continue working toward seeing this growth continue. I want to make Durand a place that people like to visit and a great place where they want to live.”
Patrick O’Connor is running for Durand City Council (Precinct 2). O’Connor has lived in Durand for 17 years and “would like to have the people in town have more say than just a city council themselves making decisions for people.” In an email, O’Connor said his “biggest concern is I want more accountability for what the counselor has done.” He would also like to see more interest in other parts of town “versus just downtown itself to make everything more appealing to everybody in town.” His thinking is that residents “could then take pride in where they live.”
O’Connor’s is a discharged Navy veteran and married with two children. Both of his children went to Durand High School. He lives in Durand and feels connected to Durand and thinks officers and employees should also live in Durand.
Matt Schaefer is running for Durand City Council “because I have a passion for public service and I want to improve the way our town runs and make it a better place to live. I have realized the problems facing our city: declining city services, local businesses leaving or closing down, and inefficient use of our tax dollars. I believe I have the knowledge and skills to fix these issues and fight for you to make positive changes in our city government, and the fact is, we need a change.”
“Most of our City Council has served for decades and very little positive has been done in those years. Just in my time on the parks and recreation committee, I have pushed for positive resources for our residents such as a community garden, improvements to the parks and a dog park. Additionally, I have been involved with the city for years through the fire department, serving the local EMS agency and working for DPW,” Schaefer stated.
“If I am elected to City Council, I will focus my priorities on improving city services, providing resources for local businesses so that we can revive the downtown area, and most importantly, improving our local infrastructure. Currently, the city consistently takes the lowest bid on every project and piece of equipment and this leads to predictably low quality result. This is something that we need to change. We need to do projects correctly, the first time. I want to change that and make Durand a better place for all of us to live,” he said.