Candidates for Fenton Mayor and City Council gathered to answer questions from the public and the Political Action Team, Tuesday night. Around 100 people attended the Meet the Candidates event held at the Fenton Community & Cultural Center.

Incumbent Mayor Sue Osborn has held the office for the past 19 years and is seeking re-election. She said she wants to continue servicing the people of Fenton and that she loves the city and the people in it. Osborn said she wants to see the progress they’ve made so far continue. She said they need to focus on neighborhood restoration over the next 2 years and connect with the community to find out what they want and how to fund it. Osborn said they held a community forum 5 years ago and were able to complete all of the ideas that came from it. If re-elected she said she believes it time to hold another one with emphasis on sidewalks, sewer, water, and work on the streets. One of her challengers is city Councilwoman Cherie Smith. Smith said if elected, she wants to keep the momentum the city has going, but also wants to make improving the infrastructure a priority. She said that as a widow, she would also bring an under-represented point-of-view to the office. She said she because of it, she has a different perspective, and that it is a different segment of society that has ever been represented in Fenton, either on city council or in the mayor’s office. Smith said she represents the average citizen in the community and everyone will be on an equal playing field.

Both candidates recognized the need to open discussion about the city millage rate which hasn’t changed since 1976. The third candidate for mayor is Kurt Wilkinson, who was not present at the forum. None of the mayoral or city council candidates running when asked had ever met Wilkinson, with a couple saying they had only recently seen him on Facebook.

The 5 candidates are running for 3 city council spots were also part of the forum. Councilman Brad Jacobs is not seeking re-election. Incumbent Scott Grossmeyer believes in the recent growth the community has seen and wants to keep it on the right path. He’s lived in the area for nearly 4 decades and has spent 20 years involved in the community by way of the Planning Commission, Zoning Board, and the last 4 years on City Council. Fellow incumbent Dave McDermott is seeking re-election as well. McDermott said for City Council to be effective, it has to be reflective of the community. He said he is the only candidate with proven success in three important community aspects, those being business, community service, and public service. Donald “Skip” Bancroft has spent the past 10 years serving on the Assessor’s Board of Review, the Planning Commission, and the Zoning Board of Appeals. A lifelong Fenton resident, he pledged to always be himself, to always try to do the right thing, and be an open servant to the people. Tracy Bottecelli spoke of a heart for preserving the history of the city and longtime connections her family has had with Fenton. She said that as funny as it sounds, a lot of people in the community have relied on the Bottecelli name, that they know where she comes from, and that they know what she believes. Sean Sage called himself the “eclectic candidate” as he’s coached sports and theater, while also serving on the Zoning Board of Appeals and is Chair of the Parks and Rec board. He believes he can bring valuable expertise on the construction side of things to City Council if elected.

These races will all be decided on Election Day, November 7th.(MK)