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Village Council interviews 3 for vacancy

Marie Havenga • May 16, 2018 at 10:00 AM

Spring Lake Village Council interviewed three candidates Monday night for the council seat vacated by former President Pro-Tem Megan Doss.

The candidates include former Village Councilman Steve Nauta and newcomers Marianne Martinus and Susan Petrus.

In November 2016, Nauta ran for the village president seat, but he and former Village President Bill Filber were defeated by Joyce Verplank Hatton. Hatton resigned eight months into her two-year term.

Nauta told council on Monday that he would love the chance to serve again. The 20-year village resident said his biggest concern is infrastructure.

“I want my sewers to run,” he said. “I want to make sure we start to figure out a plan to take care of that as quickly as we can.”

Council members have noted that water and sewer infrastructure is in need of upgrades and repairs, and that current revenues likely will not be enough to cover what is needed.

“We have to pay the piper,” Nauta said. “Somehow we have to bite the bullet and figure out how to find those revenues. In the end, residents are going to have to pay their fair share in order to have good services.”

Martinus, a Spring Lake Heritage Festival volunteer, said she'd like to see more businesses come to the village.

“I moved from Ada to come here,” she said. “I think it's a great town, but the storefronts need to be revitalized.”

Martinus, who has lived in the village since 2013, said she realizes infrastructure repairs are also a priority.

“In order to upgrade water and sewage, there has to be compromises,” she said. “And, unfortunately, it will affect everyone's pocketbook. Or, you could leave it the way it is and have a major disaster. If you deal with it now, you rip the Band-Aid off quick and it won't hurt as bad.”

Petrus, who was interviewed via speakerphone because she was out of town on business, said she thinks it will be important to balance heritage with progress as new development comes to the village.

“I love the village, I love the community,” she said. “I think it's an incredible place to live and an incredible place for folks to visit.”

Petrus, a senior vice president in the medical industry, said she thinks her leadership and work experience could be helpful to council. She said council should get out in front of the infrastructure issue.

“When it comes to infrastructure, there's only so much time you can put it off,” she said. “If it's that urgent, we ought to be out there talking about it right now. At the end of the day, we have to provide those services to the community.”

Petrus said she has a passion for parks and recreation, collaboration, and sharing services to eliminate duplication.

Village Manager Chris Burns said she's pleased that so many residents applied for the council seat.

“It's a very strong candidate pool,” she said. “... I can work with any of them. I know them all very well and I like them all. So, for me, it's a win-win-win.”

Doss has served on council for almost three years after being appointed in August 2015 to the seat vacated by Dave Bennett.

Whomever is appointed to the seat May 21 will serve through the October council meeting, then will have to run on the November ballot in order to continue serving, according to the Village Charter.

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