Milford City Council’s four candidates got a chance to speak at forum ahead of election

From left to right of candidate for Milford City Council: Vice Mayor Amy Brewer, who has been on council since 2005; Kim Chamberland a longtime active resident; Lisa Evans, who has been on council since 2011; and Miles Miller, a member of the Milford Fire Department. All four participated in an Oct. 18 candidate forum ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

From left to right of candidate for Milford City Council: Vice Mayor Amy Brewer, who has been on council since 2005; Kim Chamberland a longtime active resident; Lisa Evans, who has been on council since 2011; and Miles Miller, a member of the Milford Fire Department. All four participated in an Oct. 18 candidate forum ahead of the Nov. 7 election.

By Brett Milam
Editor

On Oct. 18th, the Women League of Voters partnered with the Miami Milford Chamber of Commerce in hosting the prospective Milford City Council candidates.

Three positions are available in the Nov. 7 election and all four candidates were in attendance: Amy Brewer, Kim Chamberland, Lisa Evans, and Miles Miller.

Brewer and Evans are up for re-election, with Chamberland and Miller new candidates. Chamberland was one of the final two in April after Justin Bonnell resigned on Feb. 7.

Fred Albrecht would go on to take Bonnell’s spot.

A lifelong resident of Milford, who graduated from the high school, Brewer said she has always had a “love for community and politics.”

She’s been on the council since 2005 and has previously said she would not run again.

“Several people, friends, staff, colleagues, strongly encouraged me to stay on for one more term,” she said. “I gave it some thought. After all, I am an empty-nester. For once in my life, I probably have more time on my hands than I ever had. My desire to serve had not wavered. It really wasn’t a hard decision, I did want to run again.”

Brewer said there is “no doubt” that the most talked about issue in Milford right now is Milford Main.

“It is very clear that the majority of residents are very opposed to any form of development, but would support some type of greenspace or park,” she said. “I firmly believe that we only have one chance to get it right with that property.”

Chamberland moved with her husband to Milford 21 years ago.

“We were looking for a neighborhood with sidewalks and a community,” she said. “Since 1996, I have been actively involved in our city.”

She said she’s held leadership roles in the school district, local church community and a variety of non-profits.

“I believe in teamwork where everyone is encouraged to use his or her talents,” Chamberland said. “I believe in this city and its residents and its businesses and I want to see it strive and grow without losing its hometown feel.”

Three important issues to Chamberland are economic development, citizen involvement and beautiful, accessible spaces.

“I would like to give residents, businesses, property owners and all city employers a platform for their voices to be heard,” she said. “I believe this is how we build community together.”

Evans has been in the city for 28 years and she said she feels it’s important to give back with a variety of volunteering endeavors. She’s been on council for six years.

“I’ve enjoyed my work and hope to continue to serve the Milford community,” she said. “I take the position very seriously and try to always make the best choice for Milford and all of its residents.”

Evans said if re-elected, she’d like to see Riverside Park finished and new ideas with Milford Main, as well as staying financially responsible while also attracting new businesses.

“A final goal over the next four years is to improve transparency and communication,” she added. “It’s important to be open and honest in all city meetings.”

Miller was born and raised in Milford and graduated from the high school. He said his biggest drive is his two daughters, who have also gravitated toward that “hometown feel” Milford has.

“I want them to grow up here; I want them to have that same passion that I have for this city,” he said. “My biggest dream would be to have them grow their families here as well.”

Another passion of his is public safety, which parallels with his position with the Milford Fire Department. He started his fire career at the age of 14.

“I also have a desire for better communication,” he said. “A lot of comments I heard from residents is that they feel they were maybe unheard, maybe uninformed or misinformed. And I’d like to narrow that gap.”

On Oct. 18th, the Women League of Voters partnered with the Miami Milford Chamber of Commerce in hosting the prospective Milford City Council candidates.

Three positions are available in the Nov. 7 election and all four candidates were in attendance: Amy Brewer, Kim Chamberland, Lisa Evans, and Miles Miller.

Brewer and Evans are up for re-election, with Chamberland and Miller new candidates. Chamberland was one of the final two in April after Justin Bonnell resigned on Feb. 7.

Fred Albrecht would go on to take Bonnell’s spot.

A lifelong resident of Milford, who graduated from the high school, Brewer said she has always had a “love for community and politics.”

She’s been on the council since 2005 and has previously said she would not run again.

“Several people, friends, staff, colleagues, strongly encouraged me to stay on for one more term,” she said. “I gave it some thought. After all, I am an empty-nester. For once in my life, I probably have more time on my hands than I ever had. My desire to serve had not waivered. It really wasn’t a hard decision, I did want to run again.”

Brewer said there is “no doubt” that the most talked about issue in Milford right now is Milford Main.

“It is very clear that the majority of residents are very opposed to any form of development, but would support some type of greenspace or park,” she said. “I firmly believe that we only have one chance to get it right with that property.”

Chamberland moved with her husband to Milford 21 years ago.

“We were looking for a neighborhood with sidewalks and a community,” she said. “Since 1996, I have been actively involved in our city.”

She said she’s held leadership roles in the school district, local church community and a variety of non-profits.

“I believe in teamwork where everyone is encouraged to use his or her talents,” Chamberland said. “I believe in this city and its residents and its businesses and I want to see it strive and grow without losing its hometown feel.”

Three important issues to Chamberland are economic development, citizen involvement and beautiful, accessible spaces.

“I would like to give residents, businesses, property owners and all city employers a platform for their voices to be heard,” she said. “I believe this is how we build community together.”

Evans has been in the city for 28 years and she said she feels it’s important to give back with a variety of volunteering endeavors. She’s been on council for six years.

“I’ve enjoyed my work and hope to continue to serve the Milford community,” she said. “I take the position very seriously and try to always make the best choice for Milford and all of its residents.”

Evans said if re-elected, she’d like to see Riverside Park finished and new ideas with Milford Main, as well as staying financially responsible while also attracting new businesses.

“A final goal over the next four years is to improve transparency and communication,” she added. “It’s important to be open and honest in all city meetings.”

Miller was born and raised in Milford and graduated from the high school. He said his biggest drive is his two daughters, who have also gravitated toward that “hometown feel” Milford has.

“I want them to grow up here; I want them to have that same passion that I have for this city,” he said. “My biggest dream would be to have them grow their families here as well.”

Another passion of his is public safety, which parrells with his position with the Milford Fire Department. He started his fire career at the age of 14.

“I also have a desire for better communication,” he said. “A lot of comments I heard from residents is that they feel they were maybe unheard, maybe uninformed or misinformed. And I’d like to narrow that gap.”

In the questioning round, the first question asked was for the candidates to name the top three issues facing the city and how to solve them. All four candidates broadly agreed on the need for better communication and getting the word out about Milford; the need for more economic development and business growth and work on the parks.

“Communication, improving our communication with our residents,” she said. “I would like to see us utilize not just our Facebook page but other ways to meet our residents’ needs.”

Economic development, meaning empty storefronts, is another concern, Chamberland said. Milord Main is another issue.

Evans said one of her issues is walkability so people have more access to places in the community.

“I also want to see some economic growth,” Miller said. “What’s great about Milford is the mom and pop shops and I’d like to see more of them and for them to be successful.”

On communication, Brewer said she wanted to stick up for staff, saying that it’s “very difficult” to get information out to all residents, but the staff does their best.

There was also a process question about selecting the mayor and vice mayor. Currently, residents vote on who will be on council and then council selects those two positions.

“I can see why residents people want to have a say in who their mayor is,” Brewer, who is the current vice mayor, said. “And why it should be a public vote, I get that. On the other hand, as a member of seven members who work together, we have a feel with who the leaders are within the seven members of us. And we have a better handle on who is more capable to represent the public.”

And it’s not just ability, but it’s also availability, Brewer said.

“My fear with a public vote is a popularity vote,” she said. “With a council vote, I think more credence is given to where the leadership is emerging.”

Miller, Chamberland and Evans all agreed that the current process is acceptable and that Milford isn’t a “mayor form of government,” although Evans offered the hestiation of calling the positions “mayor and vice mayor.”

“I mean, our mayor is basically a chairperson, they lead the meetings and run the meetings,” she said. “The problem with having a mayor is people sometimes think the mayor runs the city, which is not true.”

Many of the other questions to the candidates flowed from the communication issue, whether it was about how residents receive city surveys in the mail or the time committee meetings are scheduled and how residents are able to give input into meetings.

Brewer said if residents want to get the meeting minutes from a committee meeting, they can call city hall.

“The minute those minutes are generated and approved, they’re available,” she said. “You don’t have to wait for the council meeting. So you could have it before the council meeting.”

Chamberland said that’s great information, but she had no idea about that process.

“I think really educating our citizens about how to send correspondence to city council, what kind of information is available, that’s how we engage our residents,” she said.

The forum was recorded and can be viewed online at http://www.icrctv.com/video/milford-city-candidates-forum.