COLOMA — Four candidates are seeking three four-year Coloma City Commission seats.
Incumbents Nate Clements, Linda Freitag and Marsha Hammond will face challenger Fred Reeves.
Reeves has been a resident of Coloma for over 60 years and has put his name in for a City Commission seat in the past.
“I have never held any political office, but I have always been civic minded by keeping in contact with current office holders about community issues,” he said. “I’m running because I have positive ideas that I feel will benefit Coloma and its citizens.”
Reeves, 77, is retired from the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department with 25 years of service where he was a detective lieutenant and a lieutenant shift commander. He said most of his entire work history he held supervisory and managerial positions, which he believes gives him important skills to accomplish projects beneficial to the city.
“One of the most important problems I’m aware of is the difficulty the city of Coloma is having in filling the ordinance officer position,” he said. “In order to keep our community attractive for future business, we must keep a positive appearance for future residents. I would make it a priority to fill this position as soon as possible.”
Reeves said his law enforcement background gives a good network of perspective candidates.
He said residents should not be fined for not conforming to ordinance violations.
“I feel we have other avenues to pursue without issuing fines on each occasion,” Reeves said. “If residents are unable to rectify the violation, then the commission can better serve the community by finding volunteers with skills necessary to remedy the problem. In addition, grants are available to assist financially.”
Reeves is a Coloma High School graduate. He has three children and two stepchildren.
Freitag, who has served on the commission for over 20 years, said she’s running for re-election because she just feels like a part of the community and wants to continue.
She said the most important thing to her is using her position to make sure that she is doing what the community wants.
Freitag, 65, is a medical assistant for Berrien Regional Associates in Neurology in St. Joseph. She has a three children and four grandchildren. She and her husband, Siegfried, live on West Maple Street.
Hammond, 67, has served on the commission for 17 years. She said she is running for re-election because of her love for the city of Coloma and her work with the Public Works Department.
She said as with most small communities Coloma struggles with shrinking revenue and rising costs.
“We have started working with Williams and Works (engineering firm) to develop a master plan,” Hammond said. “This will move us forward with an updated Capital Improvement Plan and certify us as a Redevelopment Ready Community, through which we can seek grant opportunities. This will hopefully help us with infrastructure and roads and make us a proactive community.”
She said the city needs to continue to acknowledge and honor the importance of the city’s combined services with neighboring communities.
Hammond is a retired Coloma restaurant owner and is a former assistant manager of Gordon Food Service. She lives on North Church Street.
Clements, 33, has been a commissioner for three years. He did not respond for requests for comment about why he’s running for re-election.
He is a trade customer support worker for Whirlpool Corp. and is the co-owner/operator of Clements Property Solutions. He lives on North West Street with his wife Kelly and daughter.
Running unopposed for two-year terms are Clerk Martha Darling and Treasurer Kelly Clements.
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