What does “Changing Taylor Together” really mean?
That’s the campaign slogan of Rick Sollars – city councilman, successful businessman and community activist – who is seeking the position of Mayor of Taylor this year.
First off, it means that Rick Sollars is running as an independent. He has no team. While he will seek endorsements this year, the real voices important to him are those of the taxpayers of Taylor. Those taxpayers know that the only meaningful “team” is the one that the voters will elect in November. Those honorable people will be new Mayor Rick Sollars’ “team.” And, under Sollars’ leadership, they will join hands with the taxpayers in an effort to improve the city. As Ford Motor Co. states, “Quality will be job one” – and that means improving the quality of life in Taylor.
But “Changing Taylor Together” also has many other meanings to the Rick Sollars Campaign. It means that Sollars doesn’t have all the answers – and freely admits it. Others won’t. Taxpayers should fear officials to claim to have all the answers. Officials who make all their decisions behind closed doors and hide behind “call centers” and voice messages. When Rick Sollars becomes Mayor, he wants the taxpayers’ input. He and his staff will seek out people in the community for that input. He firmly believes that the strength of the city is in its sense of community, and he wants to tap into that.
There is no doubt that Taylor – like most other municipal governments in the state of Michigan – has its difficulties. But it is trying times like these that can result in meaningful progress. Even with less financial resources than we’ve had in the past, Taylor has the ability to provide top-flight police protection. Instead, we’ve seen a meat-axe approach to police staffing without a forward-thinking plan. The same goes with fire protection – it was the current administration that has fought against the SAFER grant that could have protected TFD staffing levels and given the community time to come up with a better financial plan in the future. Instead, Taylor’s current “leadership” looked at millions of dollars in grant money and said, “no thanks,” and proceeded to cut back on fire protection.
And the list goes on. As the administration fumbles its way through budget matters, Taylor – like many other cities in the state – risks the implementation of a state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager. Is that what we want? To become another Detroit, where the vote of the residents doesn’t count? But what would you expect from someone who never had to balance a budget in his professional life – and now employs a “city project manager” whose previous experience in neighboring Allen Park included directly participating in one of the biggest financial debacles in Downriver history (the Unity Studio project) which put that city into $30 million dollars of debt and brought on – you guessed it – a state-appointed Emergency Financial Manager.
As Mayor, Rick Sollars vows not to fall into the same traps. When the Sollars Administration makes key decisions, they will be done with the input of key personnel in the areas involved, and everyone in the room will be listening to what the taxpayers’ want.
What’s that you say? We can’t have a city vote on every issue? Well, you’re right about that, but community input comes in many forms. It comes from a Mayor and City Council who actually listens to residents and doesn’t think in a vacuum or cut off or berate people who take the time out of their day to address their elected officials in meetings.
It comes from residential advisory panels on specific subjects, who have a voice in the administrative processes. It comes from establishing residential advisors who actually sit in and contribute to departmental meetings. It comes from expanding Taylor’s volunteerism into any area from central administration through DPW, recreation, law enforcement, fire safety, etc.
Rick Sollars knows that there are more ways than one to accomplish success. He has been a charter member of the Taylor Reading Corps, one of the most successful organizations of its kind in the State of Michigan. It is a volunteer organization that focuses on improving the reading level of needy Taylor School District students in the preschool and lower-elementary levels. It has been widely hailed as one of the most successful programs in the community.
Caring people live all over Taylor. And they are willing to give their time to aid a good cause. As Mayor, Rick Sollars and his staff will find ways to create volunteer and grant application opportunities to help plug the holes in municipal government – and directly improve the quality of life in Taylor.
Naturally, this effort will not just be aimed at the residential population, but the business community as well. A new Taylor administration will work around the clock to give Taylor more striving businesses and a better business climate. And those businesses will drive more revenue into the city’s coffers, which will improve the financial picture in the city and make it a better place to live and work.
By now, residents of Taylor know that all of this won’t be easy. Rick Sollars readily admits he can’t do it all on his own. Which is exactly why he is seeking more than just your vote. He’s seeking your hand. Accept it, and together all of us can take on the task of “Changing Taylor Together.”
We don’t seek just your support. We seek your partnership. Let’s make Taylor a better place to live!