Center Line Voters Choose Delikta, Reid for Council

post thumbnail image

Image credit: Jake Neher/WDET

23-year-old newcomer joins veteran incumbent.

Tweet This

A 23-year-old technician is the newest member of Center Line’s city council. Aaron Delikta topped a slate of four candidates on the Nov. 5 ballot, winning 526 votes. Incumbent James Reid finished second with 441 votes. They will each serve four-year terms.

Attorney Lee Ann Rutila received 399 votes, 70 more than Councilman Ron Lapham, who finished fourth. 

 As part of 101.9 WDET’s upcoming “Crossing the Lines” series, we’re profiling Center Line over a series of weeks. 

101.9 WDET sent a list of questions to each candidate and also asked them to provide some biographical information.

  • Aaron Delikta, 23, is a technician and a lifelong Center Line resident. 
  • Ron Lapham, 77, is a retired Center Line police officer. He has been on the council for 12 years, and has lived in the city for 67 years. He and his wife Jane have an adult son, Jesse.
  • James Reid, 70, is also retired. He has served on the council for four years and has lived in the city for 26 years.
  • Lee Ann Rutila, 52, is an attorney. She has lived in Center Line for almost four years and has an adult son.

Click each candidate’s name to see their responses, or scroll down.

  


Aaron Delikta

Aaron DeliktaAaron Delikta
Aaron Delikta

Aaron Delikta

Why are you running?

I am running because I want to help the people of Center Line, I love this city and I want to be a voice for everyone.

What is the most important issue(s) facing Center Line residents right now?

The biggest issue currently is the lack of businesses.

How would you address that issue?

By helping to make the city more appealing to business owners. One idea that we could look into are tax credits for small businesses for the first few years of opening up shop.

What is the best way to attract businesses/residents to Center Line?

They both go hand in hand. But keeping a well-maintained city, doing our best to help small businesses, and throwing more events to get the community involved are good ways to attract more people to our city.

How would you rate city services and how would you improve them?

City services are pretty good. One of the biggest problems that I have noticed is the inconsistency of garbage pickup, but they still get the job done every Thursday.

Is public safety adequate in Center Line?

Public safety is good. We need to bring in a few more officers, but we have a good public safety department.

Are there enough recreation opportunities for kids?

I would say that recently the city has done a lot more events for kids, which is great.

How would you describe the quality of life in Center Line and how would you improve it?

I would say it’s good. I would love to try and bring the city more together so that we all knew each other more. We are a small city and we should know each other.

  


Ron Lapham

Ron LaphamCity of Center Line
City of Center Line

Ron Lapham

Why are you running?

The city of Center Line is my home. I have lived here the majority of my life, and was also on the police department. I am running for Council to ensure that the city maintains it’s “small town” feeling, yet be able to compete with the larger cities. This is a strong middle-class community, which is the backbone of this great nation. We must keep this community safe and clean, and I want to be part of that. 

What is the most important issue(s) facing Center Line residents right now and how would you address it?

Financial stability is what everyone wants. We do not want to be taxed at a higher rate, nor do we want to have our homes surrounded by blight. I want to keep taxes low, yet ensure that no services are cut. We have come a long way since the housing crisis in 2008. The city has maintained its financial security by making good financial decisions. We are always fighting blight, and each year it gets better. I have been a big part of that, and I want to make sure that by making good budget decisions, we remain in good standing financially. I have 12 years of experience in budgeting and dealing with blight issues. 

How would you rate city services and how would you improve them?

City services are A+.  We recently reinstated plowing the sidewalks in the winter and our solid waste, compost and recycling programs are the best. There will always be some issues that may need attention at times, but the city is always there to ensure that the residents get the attention that they deserve.  

Is public safety adequate in Center Line?

Law enforcement is near and dear to my heart. I want to make sure that the department and the officers have the most up-to-date training and equipment. Our officers are professional and maintain the highest quality of service. The Center Line Public Safety Department is the best in Macomb County and the state. 

Are there enough recreation opportunities for kids?

Our recreation department has many programs that are geared towards children and adults. There are many programs for senior citizens. I want to have these programs continue and maybe add more like a farmer’s market in the summer and fall, flea markets, etc. I have been trying to get these new programs started and, hopefully, it will begin next summer. Also, our library is the best around, and they are always keeping up with the pace of new literature.

How would you describe the qualify of life in Center Line and how would you improve it?

In today’s world, everything is fast-paced. You have instant 24-hour news, and instant communication. Sometimes we just need to slow down a bit and look around and talk with one another. Center Line is a place where you can do just that. I wouldn’t trade this city for anything in the world. It’s the best place to live and raise your children. We have great schools.

What’s the best way to attract residents/businesses to Center Line?

I’d like to revamp the whole Van Dyke corridor in our city. The problem is that the parking isn’t the best. I would like to have parking along Van Dyke. However, since Van Dyke is a state highway, that would be just about impossible to do. We would need state approval, and so far, the state is not willing to go along with that. Adequate parking, plus updating these buildings along Van Dyke and also on Ten Mile Road is a goal I want to achieve. 

  


James Reid

James ReidJames Reid
James Reid

James Reid

Why are you running?

To improve the quality of life in Center Line.

What is the most important issue(s) facing Center Line residents right now and how would you address it?

Lack of business coming in and planting roots in our community. More promotions as to why a business would want to be in the city and how it would benefit them.

What’s the best way to attract businesses/residents to Center Line?

Our schools, fire department and police department are number one.

How would you rate city services and how would you improve them?

Very good but always need improvement.

Is public safety adequate in Center Line?

Public safety is always the number one objective, but adequate is not good enough.

Are there enough recreation opportunities for kids?

There is always room for more recreational activities for kids and family.

How would you describe the quality of life in Center Line and how would you improve it?

Small, quaint community, but close to all the amenities of a big city.

  


Lee Ann Rutila

Lee Ann RutilaLee Ann Rutila
Lee Ann Rutila

Lee Ann Rutila

Why are you running?

I am running because I feel that I can add a new and different perspective to what has become the status quo. From my research and speaking with the community, there is a view that little has been done to move and develop the city in the right direction and I would like to be a part of that change.

What is the most important issue(s) facing Center Line residents right now and how would you address it?

Economic growth and development, high property taxes and lack of transparency. There needs to be a concerted effort to bring in new businesses and improve the “feel” of what is already here. As it stands right now, when you drive down Van Dyke, the appearance of the rundown buildings and closed businesses is startling. I will encourage existing businesses to freshen up their appearance so that new development will consider making Center Line their home.

What’s the best way to attract residents/businesses to Center Line?

This is where Center Line has historically struggled. For years, there has been a lot of talk, but minimal action. It is time to introduce Center Line to the outside world. When I am asked where I live, the common response I receive is “where is Center Line?” We need to move the city forward by creating an environment that attracts younger families and gives them a reason to want to raise their children in Center Line. But in order for that to happen, Center Line needs to create a more inviting atmosphere with options for everyone, from the youngest to the oldest. Center Line cannot simply remain a cut-through, but more of a destination.

How would you rate city services and how would you improve them?

I believe that the city services are great, but there is always room for improvements. I would like to explore initiating environmentally-friendly options such as curbside leaf removal, wherein they could then be turned into compost/mulch and offered to the citizens for their own gardens/landscaping, as well as for the area parks.

Is public safety adequate in Center Line?

Yes. I believe that Center Line Public Safety does a wonderful job. Their response time is exceptionally low and their presence is a great deterrent to potential crimes.

Are there enough recreation opportunities for kids?

I believe there are, but I do not have young children, so I am out of that loop. Which is another issue that we in Center Line need to address: The lack of and/or quality of communication. If elected, I will encourage the city officials to engage in more open and thoughtful conversations with the residents. From what I have experienced, there is a lack of information being put forth, as well as a lack of opportunity to be heard. I will change that by providing detailed and accurate information through social media, the city’s website and during council meetings. Then I will sit down with the residents and listen to what they have to say. The way I see it is, the current process is not giving the people an opportunity to be fully heard and thoughtfully listened to, which only creates a negative perception of the city leaders. And that does not need to be the case.

How would you describe the quality of life in Center Line and how would you improve it?

Center Line is a wonderful small town where generations have raised their families, but it has lost that small town charm. Currently, residents have to leave Center Line to fulfill their everyday needs, such as groceries, shopping, medical care, and entertainment, all while the property taxes are ridiculously high. I will focus my attention on bringing new businesses into the city which will resolve two issues, the first being that the residents can meet their everyday needs without having to leave Center Line and spending locally; and secondly, by increasing the tax base from new businesses. This will in turn reduce property taxes, making it more appealing and affordable for new (and current) residents.

 


Pat Batcheller, Senior News Editor

Pat Batcheller is a host and Senior News Editor for 101.9 WDET, presenting local news, traffic and weather updates during Morning Edition. He is an amateur musician.

pbatcheller@wdet.org Follow @patbwdet

Crossing the Lines

This post is a part of Crossing the Lines.

Crossing the Lines is an exploration of what unites us and divides us as people and as a region.

View archived stories

Stay connected to Detroit