Reese Village Council could see some fresh new faces if seasoned trustees don’t prevail in November’s election.
Brian Weihl and Jamie Comer, both employees for Janson Equipment Co. in Reese, have decided to run for Reese Village Council Trustees for four-year terms.
Both seek one of the three open trustee seats on the council, and are running against each other, as well as against three council members with several years of experience.
In all, five candidates will be on the Nov. 8 ballot for three, four-year trustee spots.
Denise Fielbrandt, Pete Bouvy and John Weber are also running for trustee. Bouvy and Weber both were appointed to the council in 2012 filling vacancies held by Vickie Rummel and Bob Godi. Fielbrandt has served on the council since 2003.
Reese Village Manager David Tatrow said this year marks the first time since he has been manager there will be an actual race, as opposed to appointing trustees to fill the vacancies.
“I think it’s great that you can get people in a small town to step up and run for office,” said Tatrow. “I think it’s wonderful.”
Tatrow has been in office since August, 2011.
The newcomers, Weihl and Comer, are both first-time candidates, married with families and both work at Janson Equipment Co. in Reese as agriculture equipment salesmen.
Weihl, 45, considers himself the “hometown guy with hometown values” being raised in Reese and making his permanent residence there in 1995. Weihl lives with his wife, Liz, his three children – Alaina, Sean and Alexis – and believes his roots in Reese will help him win the residents’ votes.
“The reason I’m running is because I really like politics,” said Weihl who attends Trinity Lutheran Church and attended Reese Public Schools.
In the past, Weihl said he was pleased with the work the council was doing from what he saw at the meetings he attended and wants to keep everything running smoothly and honestly.
“I really want to see our village become the best (village) in the area. I’m an upfront person, and I’m going to do everything the honest way,” said Weihl.
Weihl feels the major issues facing the village are residents’ safety, communicating with the local law enforcement and keeping the village clean.
Comer, 39, lives in Reese and has resided there most of his life, he said. He is a homeowner, married to his wife, Leah, and they have one child, Gavin.
Comer said making a difference in the community was his main reason for running for office.
“I’ve lived here all my life pretty much and I just feel now’s the time to give back,” he said. “I know they had some trouble in the past with the (assistant fire chief Gerald Ellison). I know they were looking for people so I donated my time.”
On Sept. 17, The Advertiser reported former Reese Village Council President Ellison was sentenced to 11 months in Midland County Jail for stealing about $48,000 from his former employer. Ellison served Reese as assistant fire chief and treasurer of the Reese Volunteer Fire Department.
Though co-workers with Weihl, Comer said he isn’t fazed or influenced by his fellow agriculture salesman hindering his campaign. “Anything personal I don’t take to work with me,” added Comer. “I leave my personal life outside of work. The fact that I want the best for my community. I don’t have any personal gain for this. I’m not doing this for personal gain – I believe doing this is being part of the community and being a part of it.”
Weihl said he feels the same way.
“We truthfully don’t talk too much about it, but I don’t see it being a problem at all,” Weihl added.
One of the recurring issues Reese has faced is the Meadows Mobile Home Trailer Park controversy.
For several years, Reese Village Council has combated to have the residential trailer park pay back delinquent sewer monies and bankruptcy payments. The park, owned by Park Lane Management Inc. in Bay City, owes the village about $30,000 in funds, but this month village attorney David Fisher will send off a 45-day notice to the park owners concerning the delinquent bankruptcy payments while waiting for another village attorney — David Meyer — to draft a notice giving the village 30 days to pay the sewer bills off.
Weihl said the mobile park issue has the village in a difficult situation.
“It’s kind of (like) our hands are tied,” said Weihl. “But it would have to be something to look into the owners with it. Just sit face-to-face with the owners and get (the park) to where it was 20 years ago. It could be a very nice park for people to live in, but unless we get in some meetings with them, we will probably be in the same situation 20 years from now.”
For Comer, the Meadows situation is being dealt with the best way it can. Handling other residents’ livelihoods is difficult, he said, and the worst thing is evicting anyone from their homes.
Reese Village Council President Paul Keast, 63, has lived in Reese 34 years and is running for the two-year term as president. Keast is running unopposed and had been trustee until being appointed president earlier this year.
The final spot to fill is the two-year partial term that council trustee Doug Squanda said he hopes to keep. Squanda came to fill the position when Keast was appointed president.
Debanina Seaton is a reporter for The Advertiser and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org