Last Tuesday, August 7, was an important day in the life of the City of Rockford. Any resident wishing to run for one of the two open City Council seats had to have a petition, with qualifying resident signatures, in City Clerk Chris Bedford’s hands by the close of Tuesday’s business day. By the end of the day, Chris had five qualified petitions in her possession. Ed Ross, Jeff Lipe, Jeff Lewis, Ken Phillips and Tammy Bergstrom had thrown their names in the hat. Notice that the names of Steve Jazwiec and Jerry Coon were not on that list. Both Steve and I have elected to not run for another four-year term. Steve has served on City Council for eighteen years and it’s been my good fortune to have been elected and served for eight years. Steve has served three, two-year terms as Mayor. I had the honor to serve one term as Mayor. Through eight year’s worth of Michigan Municipal League’s meetings, I have made a number of acquaintances around the state that serve in various capacities for their city or village. I also have had the good fortune to inter-act with our two current elected representatives in Lansing, Senator Pete MacGregor and Rep. Rob VerHeulen. My personal observation is that at our level of governance, throughout the State of Michigan, we have a great group of dedicated elected officials who take their jobs very seriously. Finance and infrastructure issues are the two issues, among many, that every municipality has to deal with. Of course, if there are finance issues, there will be a lack of funds to deal with keeping the infrastructure up to date. Over Steve’s 18 years and my 8 years, the City Council has been very cognizant of both finances and the infrastructure. I’m confident that the City Councils of the future, including the two new members to be elected in November, will be just as cognizant.
The other group that Rockford is fortunate to have is a tremendous staff. During my eight-year stay on City Council, I have served the residents with three City Managers. The first five years, Michael Young was in charge. After Michael’s untimely death, Chief Dave Jones took over for 18 months until present City Manager Thad Beard was hired last September. We all know Michael’s legacy as one of best City Managers in the State of Michigan. Rockford would not be what it is today had not the City Council hired Michael back in 1996. To celebrate and commemorate his twenty years, on the Saturday of this year’s Harvest Festival, we will be unveiling a memorial plaque and water feature at the entrance of Garden Park behind Arnie’s. With Michael’s passing, Chief Jones, assisted by Clerk Bedford, confidently jumped into the fray and admirably served all of us in a very difficult time. My best way of thanking them is to put it in writing through this article. We took care of necessary business; let some healing time pass; and then searched for a permanent replacement. That search, as coordinated by Kathy Grinzinger of the Michigan Municipal League, ended a year ago with the hiring of Thad Beard. I think Thad will agree that it’s been a very eventful year, starting with The Corner Bar fire on almost his first day, but it’s been a pleasure to see Thad acclimate himself to Rockford. He shares the same values as we all do and I’m positive will do his best to not just maintain but improve the City of Rockford as a place to visit, shop and live in. This is Jerry Coon signing off.
Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent.
He owns Action Tax Service on Northland Drive in Rockford.
Contact Jerry at www.actiontaxservice.com