The Forum - which involved Brighton City Council Candidates in next week's election - was organized and hosted by the Greater Brighton Area Chamber of Commerce.

The questions ranged from the parking problem in downtown Brighton and what the solution is — without burdening the taxpayer — to a solution for the funding shortage in Michigan communities such as Brighton. Incumbents were also asked what they have done for the city, and the challengers, what their top two goals would be if elected.

The candidates include four incumbents: Shawn Pipoly, Kristoffer Tobbe, Renee Pettengill and Jon Emaus. Pettengill and Emaus were appointed last year to fill unexpired terms. There are also two challengers: Susan Bakhaus and write-in candidate Joyce Powers. Bakhaus had run unsuccessfully several times previously for city council under her former name - Susan Walters-Steinacker.

Former Brighton Mayor Kate Lawrence, who currently chairs the Livingston County Board of Commissioners, told WHMI that she thought the forum was a success and the questions were good ones. Some representative comments from the candidates: Bakhaus said the city council needs to update the city charter, should adopt a pay-as-you-go policy to pay for projects and should eliminate charges to residents for trash pickup. 8-year council member and Mayor Pro Tem Shawn Pipoly was critical of the state legislature in its funding to local communities, saying Michigan is “dead last” in that category among the 50 states.

Joyce Powers, a former Brighton school board member, praised the school administration for getting the district out of debt, and said the city should collaborate with the school district about ways to save money and generate revenue. Tobbe said the city is landlocked and can’t grow in area, it should concentrate on the redevelopment of existing properties. Pettengill emphasized the many cutbacks the city has made to balance the budget, and stressed the need for streets on the northwest side of the city to get curb and gutter. And Emaus said the city has trimmed all the fat it can and needs to find new ways to generate revenue.

Four of the six hopefuls will be elected to terms on the city council in the Nov. 7th election . (TT)