Name: Michael Isenhart
Immediate Family members: Daughters Jennifer Isenhart and Nicole Isenhart, and son, Timothy Isenhart
Town: St. Clair Township
Office seeking: Trustee
Occupation: Tax accountant and CEO of Isenhart Tax & Financial in Belleville
Previous and current elected offices and terms served: None
Why are you running? As a near-lifelong resident of St. Clair Township, I have a deep love our community. I raised my children here, and now my grandchildren come to visit me here. I want to be able to take them to friendly, clean, and safe parks, and make memories like my children did. But, in the past decade, things have changed. Rather than working together and wanting to better our community, the current Board of Trustees and its supervisor have done nothing to give back. No community events or activities are offered, and they have wanted to decrease services as much as possible, including cutting personnel positions and selling off sewer accounts, which is revenue for St. Clair Township. We need open-minded leaders who want to work for our futures. Elected officials are hired to serve the people, not take their services and sense of community away.
What is your view on township government and its role? Township government is like any other government; a home or business owner is attracted to that area and buys a piece of it. This is true of St. Clair Township. While all townships provide different services, St. Clair Township provides sewer, road, park, and public assistance to its people. We want people to want to move into our township, not out of it.
To continue to attract residents, hold our property values, and better our community, Trustees should be wanting to better service their people, not cut their services.
If you were writing a job description for the position you’re seeking, what would it say? St. Clair Township is seeking an energized person and community advocate to better its neighborhoods, and bring morale and services back to its residents. Knowledge of budgets and day-to-day operations of township departments and government is necessary. The most-qualified candidate must be available 24 hours a day when constituents need them.
What is the most important issue facing St. Clair Township? How would you approach it? I have sat through township meetings and it is evident that the current board members have little knowledge of financial laws, tax codes, audits and how to effectively run an entity, which is unacceptable. The citizens of St. Clair Township deserve to know that not only services they expect are being taken care of, but that the planning and implementation of these services is being done utilizing a common sense approach in the oversight of strategy and spending. I will ensure that this happens. Residents also deserve to be heard, and if you attend a meeting now it’s very clear they do not want to listen to or respond to residents’ suggestions or requests. This must change.
St. Clair Township has had its share of controversy lately including sewer rates and the number of employees in the highway department. What are your views on these issues? As a longtime resident of St. Clair Township, I know there was a five-man highway crew for more than 50 years. People who own homes here are still paying the same amount of taxes, if not more than they were in past years, so it’s only right that residents’ services remain the same, not decrease. When you buy a home, a buyer usually looks for an area with a governing body that services them the way they desire. The current trustees want to give us less, and they are finding every way to do just that. We deserve better than that. And, if we continue to allow the current Board and Supervisor to sell sewer accounts off in secrecy, and refuse to plan for our aging sewer plant’s future, we will lose our township. It’s time to restore our township, and make it better than ever.
Why should people vote for you? As a tax accountant and chief executive officer of Isenhart Tax & Financial in Belleville, and owner of Remodeling and Rentals for Acumen Properties, I understand financial laws, tax codes, and audits, and how to effectively run an entity. I am honest, and have much experience with budgets and managing finances. I also taught tax law for two decades, which will assist me in communicating complex material to residents and other government officials. I am an active volunteer, and teach disabled U.S. veterans how to play the guitar.