Experience Matters

Reaching across the aisle with a common sense approach

Thank you for the opportunity to serve as your Wayne County Commissioner over the past 3 1/2 years.  In this hyper-political world, it is important to have leadership that has the ability to reach across the aisle and solve real problems with a common sense approach.    Extremist on any end of the political spectrum are not good at getting results.  Wayne County government is no exception and it sure is no place for a political novice to cut his or her teeth, so to speak.  Paying $100 to put your name on the ballot is the easy way.  True commitment to our community takes more than that.

I have developed great relationships with my colleagues on the Commission and Wayne County Executive Warren Evans and his staff, both of which are essential to delivering results for the residents of Plymouth-Canton.

Soon after I took office, Wayne County was in a state of “financial emergency”.  To pull from this, we made some tough decisions.  Through strong leadership from County Executive Warren Evans and common sense cooperation from myself and my colleagues on the Commission, we have emerged stronger and are more unified than ever.  I am happy to report that the financial emergency in Wayne County is over. We eliminated an $82-million accumulated deficit, a $52-million structural deficit and have reduced unfunded liabilities by $1-billion.  We have produced budget surpluses for 3 consecutive years. Before I took office, Wayne County had 8 long years of budget deficits.  We can’t go back to practices of old.

Despite significant progress, much work remains.  Road funding has been a significant statewide problem as evidenced by the abysmal condition of our roads in our entire state.  Pushing for a real solution remains my number one priority for our community. This past year, I successfully brought 6 of the 32 major county road construction projects to Plymouth-Canton, the most of all districts in Wayne County.

I wrote and sponsored a nearly unanimous Wayne County Resolution addressing our crumbling roads.  I also fought hard for the paving of Ridge Road and the reinstatement of the Township Road Initiative; a one time program that provided funding for the repair of our neighborhood roads.  With your help, I will continue to push our federal and state representatives for a common sense solution to fix our roads.

Additionally, we have solved the “fail jail” saga that was costing our taxpayers $1.2 million per month.  We reached an agreement with Dan Gilbert’s Rock Ventures to build a $553-million dollar state of the art criminal justice center in Detroit in return for the county paying $380-million and other resources.  This was an entirely complex transaction with many moving parts.  It required experienced leadership to fully vet this transaction.  Ultimately, this was a win-win for all involved, the perfect example of good government working with the private sector for the benefit of our citizens.  Sadly, my opponent would’ve voted no on the deal, despite the fact CEO Warren Evans and nearly every Commissioner voted yes.  Experienced leadership with a common sense approach achieves results.

Other projects include bringing local parks funding back to Plymouth-Canton and finding a permanent solution to fund our therapeutic recreation program for disabled children, which had been eliminated from the recommended county budget.

As your Wayne County Commissioner, I’ll always put our community first and advocate for Plymouth-Canton. It has been a true privilege serving on your behalf and in the community I’m blessed to be able to call home. I hope to have the opportunity to continue the progress we’ve made together and would be honored to have your continued partnership and support in this year’s election on November 6th.

Humbly yours,

Joe Barone