Meet the candidates on the ballot for Mayor of Milan in the November 2nd elections

MILAN, MI – Two candidates will compete for mayor in the city of Milan on election day this fall.

Neither of them are political newcomers. Current Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Kolar will meet longtime councilor Doug Gilson as voters decide who will run the town of approximately 6,000 people on the Washtenaw-Monroe border.

Residents will vote at the polls on Tuesday November 2nd.

Each candidate completed a questionnaire designed by MLive / The Ann Arbor News, introduced themselves to voters and stated their priorities if elected.

Her answers, edited slightly for style reasons, are below:

Doug Gilson, who is currently serving his fourth term on the Milan City Council, is running for mayor in the November 2, 2021 elections.Courtesy of Doug Gilson

Name: Douglas A. Gilson

Requested office: Mayor, City of Milan

Family: three adult children and two grandchildren

Education: Milan High School class from 1981, also attended Washtenaw Community College.

Military service: none

Occupation / current employer: Quality Control Manager, DMS Diverse Manufacturing Solutions

Have you ever been elected to an office? Yes, currently on the Milan City Council, fourth term (16 years)

Other relevant community service:

Current: Milan Area Fire Board (5+ years); Backstreet CruiZers Car Club (founding member, 25 years old); Milan Carfest (car show, age 24); Lakeside Cruise (weekly car cruise, age 22); Memorial Day Parade (ages 10+); Veterans Day Event and Veterans Wall Event (10+ years); Member of the Milan Sons of the American Legion Post 268

Past: Milan Parks and Recreation Commission (20+ years); Milan Community Fair Board and Fireworks (20 years); Advancing the Spirit of Milan / Milan

Why should voters choose you?

The community connection and 16 years of experience make me a great resource for the community and the newly elected councilors. In short, the knowledge base from many years of community service. If you have lived in Milan for over 57 years, you will learn a lot about your city and the people who live here. I spend a lot of time in the community. I drive every road every month (27 miles total) just to check for areas of concern or improvement.

If you are elected, what will your top three priorities be?

1. Continue to maintain a balanced budget. The budget is the most important thing that the Community legislature oversees. What your tax dollars are being spent on and why. It is also used to forecast future spending and plan infrastructure and capital improvements for the city and our assets.

2. Proceed with road and infrastructure improvements. We have poured millions of dollars into our community infrastructure during my tenure, and there is much more to be done. Milan maintains 27 miles of paved streets as well as plenty of parking. We will continue to apply for state and / or federal funding in the form of soft loans or grants that are needed across the city for replacement or reconstruction. This also includes the quality of life of all residents.

3. Transparency and communication with the residents of the community and our neighboring communities. We need to explore ways to communicate with our residents and businesses to inform and inquire about their needs and / or to share information with everyone, not just those on social media. This should also include the townships that border our community. Progress can only be made through communication and sharing of information and / or resources. After all, we all live in or around the city and everyday events can affect us all.

Ed Kolar, Milan candidate for mayor in 2021

Ed Kolar, who has been a member of the Milan City Council since 2018 and is currently Mayor Pro-tem, is running for mayor in the elections on November 2, 2021.Provided by Ed Kolar

Name: Edward J. Kolar III

Requested office: Mayor, City of Milan

Family: Wife Denise of 22 years, sons Evan (19) and Edward IV (15)

Education: Graduated from Milan High School in 1987. Graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1991 with a Bachelor of Finance.

Military service: No, the only thing I still regret today. Had serious thoughts on becoming a helicopter pilot.

Occupation / Current employer: Owner and operator of Workhorse Realty in Milan

Have you ever been elected to an office? Currently on the Milan City Council since 2018. Mayor Pro-Tem of Milan since 2020.

Other Relevant Community Service: I started a non-profit division of Moving Milan Forward called Milan Cares. We organize city-wide cleanup days for the city at least twice a year and organize groups to help senior community members who need help with lawn maintenance for their homes. When help is needed, I generally organize groups that contribute to the good of the Milanese community.

Community members in Milan clean the streets of rubbish

In this file photo, volunteers are working on Junction US-23 near Carpenter Road and Arkona Road in Milan on Sunday, December 9, 2018. Ed Kolar, founder of Workhorse Realty in Milan, created the organization Milan Cares, which aims to take care of the environmental health of the Milanese community by collecting rubbish and cleaning streets. (Ben Allan Smith | Allan Smith

Why should voters choose you?

I am a sober leader. I don’t expect people to do things that I wouldn’t do first. Milan needs investors for new businesses and projects. I have been investing heavily in Milan since 2005. It is necessary to diversify our tax base and I lead groups to bring the necessary strategic development here. Milan competes with other cities in the region for residents, businesses, students, and government and national funding. We have to do a better job! A mayor can make all the difference in a small town, and I’m up for the challenge. Milan has a lot to offer and is not competing for that strategic growth as it should be. I expect more from our city government and our city contractors. There is waste in this city and it is being fixed. My time on the local council and as a mayor protém showed me what a new mayor needs to focus his attention on. Working closely with my elected city council is a must. We are a team and we need to work together as a team to provide residents with the service they deserve and expect. Better communication with the city council and the heads of the city departments will go a long way towards developing the right structure that the city needs to run smoothly for decades to come. I feel like the residents want more from their government and I will try to give them what they deserve.

If you are elected, what will your top three priorities be?

1. Change the city law. City law currently bundles all important decision-making powers at the mayor’s office. I think that can lead to abuse of power. I would like to take this concentration of power out of the desired position and share this responsibility more closely with the city council, to which the residents were elected to represent them. This seems like a win-win for everyone.

2. Diversify our tax base. Strategic investments in new residential and commercial properties will improve all aspects of the city. It will improve our finances, our competitiveness with the region, our residents’ view of their hometown, and our general attractiveness to outsiders. The right addition to our city can make us a “more complete” place to call home.

3. Improvement of the service quality of the city administration. Everyone wants to believe that their tax dollars are being allocated correctly. Unfortunately, most people feel that there is waste in every government. Milan is no exception. My time on the city council has allowed me to see where improvements need to be made, and that will happen when residents elect me for this two-year term. I take finances very seriously and we have to do better for the people of Milan. All areas of the city administration need to be reviewed and improved. I believe the majority of city councils agree with that statement and as a team we will improve the services we provide to the people of Milan.

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