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


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

Ni is a political newcomer. Current Mayor Pro-Tem Ed Kolar will face long-time city council member Doug Gilson as voters decide who will lead the town of about 6,000 people straddling the border of Washtenaw and Monroe counties.

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

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

Their answers, slightly edited for style, are below:

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

Name: Douglas A. Gilson

Desired office: Mayor, City of Milan

Family: Three adult children and two grandchildren

Education: Milan High School Class of 1981, also attended Washtenaw Community College.

Military service: Nothing

Current occupation / employer: Head of Quality Control, DMS Diverse Manufacturing Solutions

Have you already been elected? Yes, currently on the Milan City Council, fourth term (16 years)

Other relevant community service:

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

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

Why should voters elect you?

The connection to the community and 16 years of experience make me an excellent resource for the community and the newly elected members of the board. In short, the knowledge base of many years of community service. Living in Milan for over 57 years, you learn a lot about your city and the people who live there. I spend a lot of time in the community. I walk every street (27 miles in total) every month, just to look for areas of concern or improvement.

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

1. Continue to maintain a balanced budget. The budget is the most important thing the community’s legislative team oversees. Where is your tax money spent and why. It also translates into a way to project future spending and plan for improvements to the city’s infrastructure and capital assets and our assets.

2. Continue to improve roads and infrastructure. We invested millions of dollars in our community’s infrastructure during my tenure and there is still a lot to do. Milan maintains 27 miles of cobblestone streets as well as plenty of parking areas. We will continue to seek state and / or federal funding as well as low interest loans or grants to be used throughout the city to replace or rebuild what is needed. It would also include quality of life opportunities for all of our residents.

3. Transparency and communications to community residents as well as to our neighboring townships. We need to explore ways to communicate with our residents and businesses to inform and learn about their needs and / or relay the information to everyone, not just those on social media. This should include the townships that border our community. Moving forward can only be done with communication and the 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, candidate for mayor of Milan 2021

Ed Kolar, who has served on Milan’s city council since 2018 and is currently deputy mayor, is running for election on November 2, 2021.Provided by Ed Kolar

Name: Edward J. Kolar III

Desired office: Mayor, City of Milan

Family: Wife 22-year-old Denise, son 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’s degree in finance.

Military service: None, the only thing I regret so far. I had seriously considered becoming a helicopter pilot.

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

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

Other relevant community service: I founded a non-profit division of Moving Milan Forward called Milan Cares. We hold citywide clean-up days at least twice a year, and we organize groups to help older people in the community who need help with maintaining the lawns in their homes. Basically, if help is needed, I organize groups to participate in the greater good of the Milanese community.

Members of the Milan community clean up litter from the streets

In this file photo, volunteers work at exit US-23 near Carpenter Road and Arkona Road on Sunday, December 9, 2018 in Milan. Ed Kolar, founder of Workhorse Realty in Milan, started the Milan Cares organization which aims to protect the environmental health of the Milanese community by collecting garbage and cleaning the streets. (Ben Allan Smith | MLive.com)Ben allan smith

Why should voters elect you?

I’m kind of a no-nonsense leader. I don’t expect people to do things I wouldn’t do first. Milan needs investors for new businesses and new projects. I invest heavily in Milan and have been doing so since 2005. The diversification of our tax base is necessary, and I lead groups to bring the necessary strategic development here. Milan competes with other cities in the region for residents, businesses, students, and state and national funding. We have to do a better job! A mayor can make all the difference in a small town, and I am up to the challenge. Milan have a lot to offer and they are not competing for this strategic growth as they should. I expect more from our municipal government and our municipal contractors. There is waste in this city, and it will be fixed. My time on council and as acting mayor has shown me where a new mayor needs to focus their attention. Working in cohesion with my elected municipal council is a must. We are a team and we must work as a team to provide residents with the service they deserve and expect. Better communication with the city council and heads of city departments will go a long way in developing the appropriate structure the city needs to function smoothly for decades to come. I feel the residents want more from their government, and I will try to give them what they deserve.

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

1. Modify the city charter. The city charter currently concentrates all the important decision-making power with the post of mayor. I think it can lead to abuse of power. I would like to remove this concentration of power from the position I am seeking and share more of these responsibilities with the city council for which the residents voted to represent them. It seems like a win-win for everyone.

2. Diversify our tax base. Strategic investments in new developments, both residential and commercial, will improve every aspect of the city. This will improve our finances, our competitiveness with the region, our residents’ views on their hometowns and our general appeal to foreigners looking. Good additions to our city can make us a more “complete” place to live.

3. Improve the quality of the municipality’s service. Everyone wants to believe that their taxpayers’ money is well distributed. Most people unfortunately feel that there is waste in any government. Milan is no exception. My time on City Council has allowed me to see where improvements need to be made, and that will happen if residents elect me for this 2 year term. I take finances very seriously and we need to do better for the people of Milan. All areas of municipal administration need to be reviewed and improved. I think the majority of city council members agree with this statement and, as a team, we will improve the services we provide to the people of Milan.

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