Do you remember the last time someone from Holly served on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners? No? Well, as far as I can tell, no one else remembers either. Holly Township sits in District 2, which also includes Highland, Rose, and Springfield Townships. And when it comes to representation on the Board of Commissioners, it’s almost always someone from Highland. Bill Bullard, who is vacating the District 2 seat to accept an appointment as Oakland County Clerk / Register of Deeds, is from Highland and occupied that seat for eight years.
A lot has happened in Holly in the last eight years. I think it’s fair to say that the growing pains we’re experiencing as a small town seeking controlled, appropriate growth warrants some attention at the county level. The population has grown, services have been extended, and construction boomed and then ground to a halt. Through all the changes, our downtown has been growing, bit by bit, through the sheer force of our local efforts.
Bob Hoffman, who is renovating his second of two downtown Holly historic commercial buildings, has been an important part of that growth. Not only has he rescued downtown buildings from dilapidation, not only has he improved retail spaces and secured retail tenants, he has also built luxury apartments in those buildings, a hallmark of successful multi-use downtowns. And those apartments are occupied.
Far from the typical real estate developer who buys up properties and then ignores them, Bob has immersed himself in the Holly community. Aside from doing some of the work on his buildings himself, he attends our community events and patronizes our local businesses. He sits on the board of our Downtown Development Authority and is a member of the Holly Area Economic Development Task Force. Although a Highland Township resident himself, he has made a genuine commitment to Holly.
So, when the Republican caucus of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners recently chose Bob Hoffman from among three Highland Township residents as their choice to fill the vacated District 2 seat, they chose the only possible voice for Holly. With tax revenues dwindling, there will continue to be fewer resources to go around, and it is important that a shrunken Oakland County budget does not tend primarily to the needs of suburban areas at the expense of rural areas like ours.
Bob Hoffman’s appointment to the Board of Commissioners is expected to be approved by the full board at their first regular meeting of the year, January 5, 2011. However, the appointment is only until August. There will be a special election to determine who will have the seat for the remainder of the two year term. So in order to keep the seat, Bob must win the Republican primary in May, and the special election in August.
I hope all District 2 residents, and especially all of us in Holly who have been impacted by Bob’s investment in our community, will not miss the opportunity to vote for him on May 3 and August 2. If Holly is to thrive, we cannot be an island, ignored by the county or by the state. An important step towards economic growth is the expansion of political power, and Holly voters should take advantage of this rare chance to make it happen.