GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Voters in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward will go to the polls Tuesday, Nov. 5th to decide who one of their representatives on the city commission will be for the next four years.
Incumbent Rosalynn Bliss is being challenged by newcomer Tom Kent.
Bliss has served as a Second Ward commissioner since 2006. She is seeking her third term.
Bliss, who is the Director of Residential Services at D.A. Blodgett's St. John's home, said the budget continues to be the biggest challenge facing the city.
"Primarily, because there's a lot of moving parts still,” Bliss said. “So you have a state government that is still looking at making changes to revenues, including the PPT, the Personal Property Tax, which has an impact on our budget, but then there's also a lot of instability at the federal government. And we've seen that impact us directly with federal dollars we've gotten over the years. And so that I think will continue to be a challenge to figure out a way to respond, but then also to plan ahead."
Tom Kent is Bliss’ opponent. He’s the deputy director of Public Works for the City of Wyoming.
Kent said making sure the city's transformation program is successful is his top priority.
"How we can do things better… I'm a big proponent of benchmarking,” Kent said. “And that's just looking at how we do things in service delivery. Comparing ourselves to others that do that service delivery and then seeing how we are in terms of efficiency and cost effectiveness -- I think that's a step that needs to happen.”
There are 46,528 registered voters who call Grand Rapids’ Second Ward home.
It's bordered on at the city limits to the east and north, Wealthy Street to the south and the Grand River to the west.
Click on the video player above to watch unedited interviews with both Bliss and Kent.
Vehicles occupied by a sheriff's deputy and a Michigan State Police motor carrier officer were hit.
A fire damaged three garages and some homes in a Grand Haven neighborhood early Thursday morning.
The suspects stole cash and fled the scene.