Editor’s note: The Tribune has distributed questionnaires to each of the five people running for spots on Grand Haven’s City Council. Over the next two weeks, we will run their responses, as they were submitted, to help you decide who to vote for in the Aug. 3 primary.
Name: Dennis Scott
Occupation: Retired from Grand Haven Department of Public Works.
Community involvement: While working with the public works department, was involved with a lot of different community projects, one every year was working with the Coast Guard (Festival) Committee, also worked on an infrastructure priority list. A member of the (city’s) environmental committee and now on City Council.
What do you feel is the best course of action regarding the future of the Board of Light & Power and the use of Harbor Island?
I believe we need to be able to generate some power on Harbor Island. When purchasing renewable power, it needs to be backed up so if we are not getting enough sun or wind, or if the windmills freeze up like they did in Texas and Oklahoma, we need to have backup and the only way we can back it up is to have a gas-fired generator or purchase it from the grid. Also, if the grid were to go down for some reason, we would be able to generate from the island.
At peak times, it could be cheaper to run our own generator than to purchase it all from the grid. We need it for our snowmelt, without a three-way partnership (Board of Light & Power, downtown merchants and the city of Grand Haven) it would be unaffordable.
What are 2-3 other key issues facing the city, and how would you address them?
Infrastructure: We need to be replacing our old water, sanitary sewer and storm sewer lines. Over the years, we have seen some of these lines fail, and as they get older we will be seeing an increase in these failures. Some of these repairs are like Band-Aids because replacing the whole line would be too expensive. With the help of federal and state grants, we have been able to replace some of our bad lines, but we must continue replacing most critical lines, especially the ones that affect the most people. We cannot cave into political pressure or pet projects. We need to stay on the right course.
Density: We have a very unique town and I would like to keep it that way as much as possible. I have lived here all my life and also have a daughter who lives on Pennoyer, a granddaughter who lives on Oakes and also one who lives on Marion. So, as I have heard from a lot of people, including them, that they don’t want Grand Haven becoming so dense we lose our small-town feel, and they are very afraid we are losing that and so am I. We need to keep our lot lines wide enough so we are not cramming a bunch of houses into a city block. We must be careful when we change our zoning ordinances to respect those areas we may be affecting when we do so.
Public safety: We need to keep our citizens safe, making sure they stay fully staffed and making sure they have all the equipment and resources they need to do their job. We also must make sure we are recruiting the best of the best people available. We as citizens of Grand Haven need to respect them and also have their backs; after all, they are the ones who we rely on to keep us and our family safe 24/7.
What do you see for the future of Grand Haven? And how can you make it happen?
Grand Haven needs to maintain its small-town feel; we need to stop reducing the size of our buildable lots; and keep Grand Haven a place where neighbor respects neighbor, regardless of religion, political views, color or sexual preference. A place where we can keep having our neighborhood block parties. We need to keep Grand Haven a place where children can play outside together without having any fear of something happening to them. Like the neighborhoods I and my children grew up in. All of us on council have a responsibility to set an example to promote decency, respect and acceptance of one’s opinions. To make sure we have an adequate police force.
What are your hobbies/interests outside of work and city government?
Camping, kayaking, shooting sporting clays, model trains, spending time with my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.