Meet the Candidate Becky Steele
On Tuesday, November 3 Georgetown Township residents will be asked to vote for Township Board positions. Voters will vote on Four Trustee Positions.
1) State your name, position running for and why you are running.
2) What expertise and strengths are you bringing to the board?
3) What specifically have you been involved in that has helped make the Township a better place?
4) Is there something you would like to preserve about the community? Anything you would change?
5) Why should residents vote for you?
My name is Becky Steele. I am currently serving as a Trustee on the Georgetown Township Board, and am seeking re-election.
I am passionate about public service, communication, leadership and investing in Georgetown Township. I believe that community leaders must strike a balance between keeping tax rates low for residents and investing in community improvements that make Georgetown Township a place that our businesses and families are excited to call home. I am proud of many things the township board accomplished over the last four years, and I look forward to serving the residents of GT for another term.
I have been an elementary teacher with Jenison Public Schools, serving children and families in our area, for fourteen years. This position (that I love) has helped me build relationships, find my voice for advocacy and leadership, and affirmed for me the importance of communication and making decisions with integrity. It also makes me keenly aware of what resources are needed to help educate and entertain children, while keeping them safe and healthy, and the benefits shared by all when strong schools, successful businesses and supportive local government work together. While I strive to represent all members of the community while on the Georgetown Township Board, I believe that the views of young families are the ones I hear most and know best, so speaking up for this demographic, and trusting my colleagues when they speak on behalf of others that they know well, is a role I am proud to take. I consider myself to be open- and fair-minded. I am willing to speak out against negativity and injustice, and speak up for the needs of this community and issues on which I feel passionate. I know the power of words, and think carefully before I write or speak. I love and am invested in the Georgetown Township community, and have always considered it “home”.
During my first term on the township board, I spoke and voted in support of our new public library project. I believe this beautiful space, helpful staff, programming and diverse collection are a tremendous asset to this community. As a member of the Utilities Committee, I have learned a great deal about sidewalks and sewers, including the importance of these (very different) pathways to our community and the financial obstacles that must be considered when initiating improvements. I am proud of projects that have promoted public health and safety, especially when the GT Board has been able to assist property owners in keeping out-of-pocket costs manageable.
When I was elected, Georgetown Township owned a number of properties that were in need of financial investment, a burden which would have been passed to taxpayers, to keep them from falling into further disrepair. During my first term, many of these were sold to private investors, freeing taxpayers of additional investment, including the Ice Arena, the “old Kmart property” and the land behind the Veteran’s Plaza. I believe that these sales, and improvement of our gateway properties, have kept Georgetown Township moving forward.
As a homeowner and taxpayer, I appreciate that the property taxes in Georgetown Township are low. Neighboring cities levy a rate more than four times higher than our taxes, and we are considerably lower than our township neighbors (Jamestown and Blendon) as well. Preserving this already low rate strikes a balance between saving our homeowners money on their winter tax bills and giving the township a budget to invest in public health and safety, parks and splash pads, sidewalks and paths, repaving of neighborhood roads, beautification of public property, and to save for major projects (as was the case with construction of our new library). It is true that a decrease in our millage rate, which has been suggested by some other candidates, would save the average Georgetown Township homeowner about $50 a year. However, this would decrease our township budget by more than $900,000 annually. I would like to preserve these funds in our township budget, and see to it that they are invested back in community improvements in a way that is both fiscally responsible and positively impactful for local businesses, property values and the health, safety and welfare of our residents. Something I would like to change is the extent to which community members are informed on, have a voice in, and understand decisions made by their elected officials. Finding inclusive ways to do this is challenging. Not all community members are engaged in fact-based community forums on social media, nor are all community members avid technology users, so we can’t depend exclusively on technology as a free tool to keep everyone informed. Coordinating and sending out mailed communications is expensive, in terms of printing and postage, and often brings the side effect of information being outdated before it reaches all members of the community. I look forward to researching this further during my next term, and taking steps to increase the connections between the community and the Georgetown Township Board.
I hope that the residents of Georgetown Township have (or will) come to know me as a kind and fair representative, with a heart for public service, who is always learning and strives to lead with integrity. I make every effort to use my voice and position of leadership to work cooperatively with my colleagues and enact positive change for the residents of Georgetown Township. Should you have any questions about my beliefs, candidacy or qualifications, please reach out via email ([email protected]) or review the materials and contact information available on my campaign’s Facebook page (Elect Becky Steele, Georgetown Township Trustee).
The publication of these candidate questionnaires by the Grandville Jenison Chamber of Commerce is not a commitment to either endorse or support a particular candidate, but is a reflection of our desire to acquaint our membership / residents with those individuals seeking leadership positions in the community.
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